The Black and white Warbler
New birders are often puzzled by bird names, how many of you, even experienced birders can say the key id mark of a Ring-necked Duck is it’s ring-neck; or the most prominent mark you would look for on a Red-bellied Woodpecker is its belly; how many have seen the red eye of the Red-eyed Vireo? Now there is one bird that really can be identified by its name- the Black and white Warbler. At all seasons, unlike many warblers, the B & W‘s appearance does not change, it is the most clearly striped of all the warblers. The Black and white Warbler acts and moves more like a nuthatch, John Dunne has penned the name Zebra Creeper, this bird goes up and down and around tree limbs searching for little grubs as it pokes in all the nooks and crannies. The Black and white is among the earliest migrant warblers arriving on the heels of the Yellow-rumped, Palm and Pine warblers.
The Black and white Warbler can be found anywhere at Mount Auburn, although the Consecration Dell area is undoubtedly the best area to see and hear it. The classic song is a series of very high, thin and squeaky two note phrases with some folks describing it like a squeaky wheel “wee see, wee see wee see” which it repeats several times. Many years ago a pair of Black and white Warblers attempted to nest in the Dell; they placed the nest inches just below the edge of Violet Path, probably the most well traveled path in the Cemetery by birders during the migration season. Needless to say, the nesting was unsuccessful.