[Tweeters] "Townsend's Warbler nectar feeding from mahonia?"

Tweeters Administration birdcheck at outlook.com
Tue Feb 2 12:31:26 PST 2021

TOWA feeding on whatever ... (Mahonia and Camelias)

For some who are devoted fans of Larry Hubbell and his "Union Bay Watch," we have enjoyed his recent (Jan 17, 2021) exploration of this behaviour in detail and quite gorgeously. The challenge is that the title doesn't give away the contents!

Thank you, Larry, for the documentation in your photos, your many careful observations and the research you've included!

Elaine C
elc at u w dot edu
From: Tweeters <tweeters-bounces at mailman11.u.washington.edu> on behalf of Dan McDougall-Treacy <danmcdt at gmail.com>
Sent: Tuesday, February 2, 2021 11:41 AM
To: <EdSwan2 at comcast.net> <EdSwan2 at comcast.net>
Cc: Tweeters <tweeters at u.washington.edu>
Subject: Re: [Tweeters] Townsend's Warbler nectar feeding from mahonia?

I've seen Townsend's Warbler feeding at mahonia at Washington Park Arboretum in Seattle, and Yellow-rumped Warbler feeding at our hummingbird feeder.

Dan McDougall-Treacy
Seattle, WA
danmcdt at gmail dot com<mailto:danmcdt+at+gmail+dot+com>

From: Tweeters <tweeters-bounces at mailman11.u.washington.edu> on behalf of Zora Monster <zoramon at mac.com>
Sent: Tuesday, February 2, 2021 7:44 AM
Subject: Re: [Tweeters] Fwd: Townsend's Warbler nectar feeding from mahonia?

I have observed Townsend’s warblers foraging in my mahonia over the years. They always appear to be eating the blossoms as opposed to drinking nectar from them.

Zora Dermer

From: Tweeters <tweeters-bounces at mailman11.u.washington.edu> on behalf of Paul Bannick <paul.bannick at gmail.com>
Sent: Tuesday, February 2, 2021 7:11 AM
To: Robert O'Brien <baro at pdx.edu>
Cc: tweeters <tweeters at u.washington.edu>
Subject: Re: [Tweeters] Fwd: Townsend's Warbler nectar feeding from mahonia?

yes, this is common with the winter blooming Mahonia Arthur Menzies

On Tue, Feb 2, 2021 at 7:09 AM Robert O'Brien <baro at pdx.edu<mailto:baro at pdx.edu>> wrote:

Growing up in California where eucalyptus trees from Australia are widely naturalized It is very Abundantly seen that yellow-rumped warblers love to feed in eucalyptus flowers . As a result they get some sappy material all over their face that then has other dirt and grime stick to it . They look like a mess and it is sometimes fatal to them . I might say it's frequently fatal to them . So in this case I'm not sure whether they were going for some sort of nectar Or For insects attracted to the nectar . I would guess the former because you would think they could pick the insects out Without getting the sappy sugary material all over their face . I didn't try it but I think Googling it would give a lot of information . About the eucalyptus trees that is . Bob O'Brien Portland

On Tuesday, February 2, 2021, Dennis Paulson <dennispaulson at comcast.net<mailto:dennispaulson at comcast.net>> wrote:
Ed, we have Townsend’s every winter coming to suet feeders. Quite a few times I have seen one land on a hummingbird feeder and apparently take some sugar water from along the edge where we had spilled it when filling the feeder. Yellow-rumped are also around all winter, but I haven’t seen one do that.

Dennis Paulson
On Feb 1, 2021, at 10:32 PM, <EdSwan2 at Comcast.net<mailto:EdSwan2 at Comcast.net>> <EdSwan2 at Comcast.net<mailto:EdSwan2 at Comcast.net>> wrote:

Our neighbors have a large old mahonia bush with many yellow blossoms that blooms for much of the winter. Anna’s Hummingbirds fight to protect this territory a lot and I was surprised to see a Townsend’s Warbler able to forage in the bush without being attacked several times recently. This morning, I noticed that the female Townsend’s appeared to be inserting its beak into the flowers like it was accessing nectar as opposed to gleaning for insects.

Is that a known foraging behavior for Townsend’s? I have seen them drink from a hummingbird feeder before but I have not seen them try nectar feeding from plants. Cornell’s Birds of the World doesn’t really have that much information on their diet. It does mention that they drink honeydew from scale insects in Central America, which I thought was interesting.

It was a good warbler day with Townsend’s, Orange-crowned and Yellow-rumped (Audubon’s) Warblers all getting suet from the suet feeder or hopping on the ground to get suet bits dislodged by a flicker.

Ed in West Seattle

Ed Swan
Nature writer and guide
edswan2 at comcast.net<mailto:edswan2 at comcast.net>

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