Bird of the Month March 2020

Bird of the Month March 2020
Pine Warbler
A bird true to its name, the Pine Warbler is common in eastern NC pine forests and is rarely seen away from pines! These yellowish warblers are hard to spot as they move along high branches to prod clumps of needles with their sturdy bills. If you don’t see them, listen for their steady, musical trill. 
The Pine Warbler is the only warbler that  in addition to insects also eats large quantities of seeds, primarily those of pines. This seed-eating ability means Pine Warblers sometimes visit bird feeders, unlike almost all other warblers.  The Pine Warbler will eat millet, cracked corn, sunflower seed, peanuts, and suet from elevated feeders in winter. It may also eat fruits from bushes and vines, like bayberry, flowering dogwood, grape, sumac, persimmon, and Virginia creeper.
Pine Warblers nearly always build their nests in pine trees, usually in pine or mixed pine-deciduous forest. Nests tend to be high in the tree and concealed among needles and cones.  The nest is a cup with an interior space about 1.5 inches across and equally deep. The female gathers most of the nest material, including grass, plant stems and fibers, bark strips, pine needles, twigs, and fine roots, binding them together with spider or caterpillar silk and lining the nest with feathers, hair, and plant down. In good weather she can finish the nest and begin laying eggs in 14 days. The male often escorts the female as she gathers materials, and occasionally helps build.
Pine Warblers typically forage and sing high in pine trees. Males are aggressive in the early breeding season, in fall, and in winter. They chase other birds and indicate aggression by gliding or flying with stiff wingbeats toward and then away from their opponent, in a circle. Birds sometimes fight by flying toward each other and locking bills in the air. In winter Pine Warblers forage in mixed-species flocks, keeping a few feet of space between each other. Males establish breeding territories in late winter or spring, singing persistently and chasing intruders. Both parents will perform broken-wing displays to lure predators away from the nest. After the young fledge the warblers move around in family groups.  
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