Prothonotary Warbler Behavior

Yesterday’s kayak outing was another superb experience! Warblers everywhere. A young beaver dragging a recently-cut small sapling down the creek and then diving in front of his lodge, taking the sapling with him.  An adult bald eagle flyover. What else can you ask for?

One of the highlights of this trip was a Prothonotary Warbler (Protonotaria citrea) and his behavior, which I had never seen before.  I had been drifting down the creek, next to the bank, photographing warblers as I came upon them.  As I was floating, this little male flew in and landed on a dead tree branch, only about 10 feet from me.  Immediately, he struck such a pose … one that I had not seen before:


No, he wasn’t preparing to sing. And no, he wasn’t irritated at me being there. No sooner had I taken the above image, the following scenario played out, right in front of me:


He had seen another male Prothonotary Warbler flying into his territory!  This second warbler landed about a foot away from the first one. The first male immediately went on the offensive; he was just defending his territory from this second male Prothonotary Warbler!  I have seen males chase off other males many times, but this is the first time I saw a “standoff”.  But this is the kind of photography that I love, showing actions and behaviors.  If a subject is not willing to cooperate, then yes, I will photograph a static subject.  But when there is behavior/action going on, I’m in heaven!

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