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Worm-eating Warbler (Helmitheros vermivorum)

Posted on May 4, 2016

I was thrilled to find and then get great views of this Worm-eating Warbler (Helmitheros vermivorum) singing and feeding earlier today. I first heard its insect-like trill of a song from along a steep, rocky slope in the forest featuring a lot of vegetation in the understory – precisely what they want for the breeding season. We in the Northeast are at the northern edge of their range, and finding the uncommon birds can be difficult. Worm-eating Warbler populations are said to be stable, but they certainly do decline and increase in certain regions depending on local conditions. Despite their name this bird is obviously eating something other than a caterpillar, and it looks like a bee mimic fly species.

Worm-eating Warbler (Helmitheros vermivorum)-1258

RTPI Affiliate Sean Graesser took a look at my shot and thought it might possibly be one of the Archytas sp. Thanks so much to my little friend here for posing with his prey and kindly allowing me sufficient time to bump the ISO, drop the shutter, shoot wide open and get this photo in the dark, cloudy woodlands. I could not have had this moment without him. Spring is a wonderful thing.

Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation & Outreach Coordinator