Yellow Warbler With An Injured Eye

/, Morgan County, Utah, Wasatch Mountains, Yellow Warblers/Yellow Warbler With An Injured Eye

Throughout the time I have devoted photographing birds I’ve seen a lot of injured birds, some of them missing feet, some tangled up in fishing line, some with fishing hooks in their bills, and some with cracked or damaged bills, this list goes on. I’ve helped to rescue some of those injured birds too when they could be helped but there are some that I couldn’t help because they could still fly. Those I can’t help tug on my heart strings because I’ve seen them, know they are injured and yet there is nothing I could do.

Yellow Warbler - Normal Eye, Wasatch Mountains, Morgan County, UtahYellow Warbler – Normal Eye

Two days ago a Yellow Warbler foraging in a Red Hawthorn caught my attention because it has been about two weeks since I have seen any other Yellow Warblers in that area because they have migrated south so when I spotted this one I admit I wondered why it was still hanging around in a Wasatch Mountain canyon. Then it turned its head…

Yellow Warbler - Damaged Eye, Wasatch Mountains, Morgan County, UtahYellow Warbler – Damaged Eye

And I could see that its left eye was either missing or severely damaged. The warbler was actively foraging and it could fly and I knew immediately there would be nothing I could do to help this Yellow Warbler who appeared to be blind in that eye.

Yellow Warbler with eye damage on a Hawthorn, Wasatch Mountains, Morgan County, UtahYellow Warbler with eye damage on a Hawthorn

I wondered then if the reason it hadn’t migrated along with all the other Yellow Warblers in the canyon was because of its blind eye and the difficulties of flying thousands of miles in the dark of night. With only one good eye flying at night might be impossible for this small bird.

Half blind Yellow Warbler, Wasatch Mountains, Morgan County, UtahHalf blind Yellow Warbler

I admit that it bothered me deeply that there was nothing that I could do for this Yellow Warbler as it has for the other injured birds I have seen throughout the years that I couldn’t help. Then I remembered for not the first or even the tenth time that this is part of the natural cycle of life for birds and that as hard as it may be for me to deal with I simply have to accept it.

Some of the things we see are hard, some even feel like a punch to the heart but life is still good.


No techs this morning, they aren’t that important as these images were only taken to document the injury this bird has sustained.


  1. Marty K September 18, 2018 at 7:28 pm

    Poor bird. I totally understand that this is part of life, but it never makes it any easier.

  2. Patty Chadwick September 18, 2018 at 2:51 pm

    Seeing Injured wildlife and knowing you cannot help them, tears at your heart…

  3. Elephants Child September 18, 2018 at 2:23 pm

    I hear you. We have cockatoos visiting at the moment suffering from the dreadful beak and feather syndrome. While they can still fly there is nothing I can do for them. Which hurts my heart.

  4. Liz Cormack September 18, 2018 at 1:15 pm

    So sad. Could it survive the winter there?

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