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Black-throated Gray Warbler
Black-throated Gray Warbler

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Black-throated Gray Warbler (Dendroica nigrescens) User: Brian  (See all photos - 934)
Canada (Ontario) Ottawa- prompted by a call from a friend I hurried to Ottawa today for a possible last view of this long-staying vagrant warbler. With bitter cold this week and a snowstorm tonight its survival is in question. After an hour searching I found it and remained with it for 90 minutes. Most of the time it was feeding beneath trees on ground not covered by snow. Later in the afternoon it was feeding and resting/sleeping beneath a single spruce for 45 minutes. Often I was as close as 7 feet as the bird headed towards me. Too close to shoot. A suet feeder was put up this afternoon. Hopefully it will find it in the morning. Follow the Chickadees.

UPDATE: My friend picked up the bird this afternoon. It was huddled under a spruce, partially covered in snow. It died in his hands shortly after. Nature takes its course but it is still sad. The carcass will be sent to the Royal Ontario Museum to be preserved as a study skin.
Views: 135
Date: December 12, 2017
Details: Male, Juvenile, Outside normal range
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Brian


Senior Member

Registered: June 2013
Posts: 1,943
users gallery
Ottawa- prompted by a call from a friend I hurried to Ottawa today for a possible last view of this long-staying vagrant warbler. With bitter cold this week and a snowstorm tonight its survival is in question. After an hour searching I found it and remained with it for 90 minutes. Most of the time it was feeding beneath trees on ground not covered by snow. Later in the afternoon it was feeding and resting/sleeping beneath a single spruce for 45 minutes. Often I was as close as 7 feet as the bird headed towards me. Too close to shoot. A suet feeder was put up this afternoon. Hopefully it will find it in the morning. Follow the Chickadees.

UPDATE: My friend picked up the bird this afternoon. It was huddled under a spruce, partially covered in snow. It died in his hands shortly after. Nature takes its course but it is still sad. The carcass will be sent to the Royal Ontario Museum to be preserved as a study skin.
· Date: December 12, 2017 · Views: 135
· Dimensions: 800 x 533 ·
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sashah
Member

Registered: May 2011
Location: Montreal
Posts: 488
December 12, 2017 17:20

Amazing Close up. This poor little bird, I was wondering if some bird protecting group can do anything about it( Catch it and keep it for the winter). I hope some thing good happen to it. I don't know.
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Brian
Senior Member

Registered: June 2013
Posts: 1,943
December 12, 2017 17:58

This was easily my most fun working with a warbler/songbird. Your thought may well be acted on in the days ahead depending on what happens this week with the weather and how the bird deals with it.
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Sue
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Registered: December 2006
Posts: 2,372
December 12, 2017 18:50 Rating: 10.00 

Great shot.
Poor little warbler.
Hope it can survive the cold.
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Brian
Senior Member

Registered: June 2013
Posts: 1,943
December 12, 2017 18:53

Yes I hope so.
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Chris

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Registered: November 2005
Location: Montreal
Posts: 3,632
December 13, 2017 05:26

I’m just catching up. I’m so sorry to hear about the final outcome.
It is always interesting to follow the plight of these stragglers...but as you say nature can be very tough. From your description do you believe the bird died of the cold, or more from lack of regular food diet?
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Brian
Senior Member

Registered: June 2013
Posts: 1,943
December 13, 2017 05:34

It is tough being an insectivore in Ontario in winter. In this case my friend, who has handled hundreds of birds, said that it had very little body fat. It had survived a number of very cold nights and days but was malnourished and losing strength. The snowstorm was the last straw because it covered any remaining food it was finding on the ground. There was nothing for it in the trees. It was already showing signs of fatigue when I saw it and would likely have only lasted a few more days at most. He had gone back specifically to check on it but it was unfortunately too late. It will live on in pictures.
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Chris

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Registered: November 2005
Location: Montreal
Posts: 3,632
December 13, 2017 05:38

Thanks for documenting this event and for the precise details. It raises a question again...what are the opinions on capturing an individual bird that appears to be in harms way?
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Brian
Senior Member

Registered: June 2013
Posts: 1,943
December 13, 2017 06:48

It is a tough call. Rescues are done every day – that is where bird rescue centres get their birds from. If it is possible to safely capture a bird and bring it to a centre for assistance it may prolong its life. On the other hand we can let nature take its course. Both options are available and are chosen depending on circumstances and the people involved. There is no correct answer on this one. It is more a question of practicality. Most injured birds cannot be rescued for a variety of reasons and saving most would be impossible to handle. In this case the special nature of the bird perhaps tips the scale in favour of helping it out. Unfortunately it was too late.
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