Orange-crowned Warbler Feeding On Utah Serviceberry Berries

/, Little Emigration Canyon, Morgan County, Orange-crowned Warblers, Shrubs, Utah/Orange-crowned Warbler Feeding On Utah Serviceberry Berries

The smoke from the wildfires in the West wasn’t as bad yesterday morning and the sky was almost clear so I went up into the Wasatch Mountains to see what birds I could find. It has been a little slow up in the canyon recently but yesterday I found a bonanza of birds to focus on, most of the birds were at one single Utah Serviceberry shrub.

Ripe Utah Serviceberry berries, Little Emigration Canyon, Morgan County, UtahRipe Utah Serviceberry berries – Nikon D500, f13, 1/500, ISO 640, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

The berries on the Utah Serviceberry shrubs have ripened and they are attracting birds and other wildlife to them. Those berries look delicious and yes they are edible! This one branch hung away from the main shrub and because of that it made an excellent subject.

Orange-crowned Warbler in the Wasatch Mountains, Little Emigration Canyon, Morgan County, UtahOrange-crowned Warbler in the Wasatch Mountains – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/250, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

I caught some movement on the backside of the shrub and tried to focus on the bird I could see moving around but since it was in the shaded part of the serviceberry I had a hard time, once I was able to lock on to the bird in the shadows I decided it was an Orange-crowned Warbler. I hoped that it would move into better light and that is what happened.

Orange-crowned Warbler perched on a Utah Serviceberry, Little Emigration Canyon, Morgan County, UtahOrange-crowned Warbler perched on a Utah Serviceberry – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/250, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

I would have preferred more shutter speed than I had and I could have bumped my ISO up to achieve that but I decided I didn’t want to waste even a second to change my settings while I had this lovely warbler in my viewfinder so all of my images were taken at a very low shutter speed.

Orange-crowned Warbler feeding on a berry, Little Emigration Canyon, Morgan County, UtahOrange-crowned Warbler feeding on a berry – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/250, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

The Orange-crowned Warbler was feeding on the juicy serviceberry berries by sticking her bill into them, the berries are too large for a bird this small to swallow whole.

Perky hatch year Orange-crowned Warbler female, Little Emigration Canyon, Morgan County, UtahPerky hatch year Orange-crowned Warbler female – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/250, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

Her bill was covered with sticky juice but that didn’t seem to bother her much. Every photo I took of her shows the juice on her bill.

I was delighted that the Orange-crowned Warbler stuck around as long as she did, it must have been the draw of those juicy berries! Normally when I see Orange-crowned Warblers they move too quickly to get decent photos of them.

Orange-crowned Warbler in a mountain canyon, Little Emigration Canyon, Morgan County, UtahOrange-crowned Warbler in a mountain canyon – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/250, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

I was a little confused by the plumage of this warbler so I contacted my friend Mark Stackhouse who is a birder, fellow bird photographer and bird guide in Mexico for help and he believes this is a hatch year female of the Eastern subspecies and I agree. She was just a bit grayer than I am used to seeing in Orange-crowned Warblers.

Serviceberry berries and an Orange-crowned Warbler, Little Emigration Canyon, Morgan County, UtahServiceberry berries and an Orange-crowned Warbler – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/200, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

The Orange-crowned Warbler gave me quite a few different poses and I was happy to take photos of her and the Utah Serviceberry shrub while she moved around. Most of the photos were all taken while she perched on the same branch, at least those where I had sufficient light.

Orange-crowned Warbler in mid-morning light, Little Emigration Canyon, Morgan County, UtahOrange-crowned Warbler in mid-morning light – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/200, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

I only had this Orange-crowned Warbler in my viewfinder for a little over one minute and I took advantage of every second that she was in was in the Utah Serviceberry shrub.

Life is good.

Mia

13 Comments

  1. Pepe Forte August 8, 2018 at 12:10 pm - Reply

    Wow Mia. To me…every shot in this series is a masterpiece of composition, detail and color. Thanks.

  2. April Olson August 7, 2018 at 9:48 am - Reply

    Beautiful series, I don’t think I have seen an Orange crowned Warbler.

  3. Laura K August 7, 2018 at 4:58 am - Reply

    Fantastic photos. Nice to see this bird from so many angles.

  4. Elephants Child August 6, 2018 at 1:41 pm - Reply

    What an absolute charmer. I am glad she found her fill of juicy berries.

  5. Greg Gillson August 6, 2018 at 9:53 am - Reply

    Wow. Great photos of this bird. Last fall I took several photos of many races of Orange-crowned Warblers here in San Diego. Very few have gray heads, and none as pale as this bird. The western form of Orange-crowned Warbler is bright yellow-green throughout–quite different than the duller gray-headed mountain and eastern forms.

  6. Patty Chadwick August 6, 2018 at 9:53 am - Reply

    Wonderful series! The first photo of just the berries is a beauty…those berries look awfully good but although we have a serviceberry shrub/tree, I’ve never tasted one…planted tree for the birds…

  7. Marty K August 6, 2018 at 9:14 am - Reply

    Those serviceberries look so good! I’d be tempted to taste one (just to see) and then leave the rest for the birds like this one. She is such a pretty little thing. I’m so glad you were able to get some time with her. There is so much to like about each and every shot — from the background to the composition to, of course, the lovely subject.

  8. Bob mcpherson August 6, 2018 at 6:44 am - Reply

    Beautiful photos, Mia.

  9. Liz Cormack August 6, 2018 at 6:38 am - Reply

    What a great series of photos. These berries look like blueberries.

  10. Joan Carey August 6, 2018 at 6:32 am - Reply

    She really is such a pretty little one. I love how she is enjoying her bounty of serviceberries with the luscious bit of juices on her bill. The berries look like blueberries, does anyone know what they taste like?

  11. Kim August 6, 2018 at 6:21 am - Reply

    Love these!

  12. shoreacres August 6, 2018 at 5:58 am - Reply

    I enjoyed seeing the serviceberries, as well as the bird. A friend in Montana sings their praises, but I’ve never had such a good look at them.

  13. Tim Traver August 6, 2018 at 5:51 am - Reply

    What a great series. Gives new meaning to the term “perching birds.” Such subtle coloration.

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