"Warblers with Cavities"

Lucy’s Warbler

        In Washington County you can find some pretty special birds. One of my favorites is Lucy’s Warbler. In fact, I like them so much that I don’t really mind the yucky caterpillars on the Cottonwood Trees, because I know the caterpillars are like calling cards for Lucy’s Warblers. This active little bird is strictly insectivorous, so all you caterpillars, beetles, and leafhoppers better watch out. Lucy’s Warbler breeds in southwest U.S. (Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, and California), and spends the wintersLucy's Warbler in Mexico. When they are hungry, and if Washington County has food they like, it’s possible to see them in your own backyard. Lucy’s Warbler has this thing about bobbing the tail in a down - up motion at a pretty good speed. Look for the reddish patch on the crown and on the rump. If you spot a Lucy’s, you are fortunate. Maybe this will also become your favorite bird.

        Lucy’s Warbler is one of only two warblers that nests in cavities. An interesting fact: If using a woodpecker hole, it may fill the cavity nearly to the top with debris and put the nest on top so it can see out. Lucy’s Warbler is a bird of the hot Sonoran desert. It occupies the driest habitat of all the warblers breeding in that area.

        My first encounter with a Lucy’s Warbler was at the Lytle Preserve just over the Utah border. I heard the lively song and then someone pointed out the red on this little gray bird. Since that time I’m always on the lookout for this warbler. Unfortunately, due to habitat loss and the parasitism of Brown-headed Cowbirds the Lucy’s Warbler is becoming harder to locate.

        Sarah Arnold Anderson is the artist of Lucy’s Warbler. Thank you Sarah for a great picture. If you are interested in learning more about birds, bird songs, and new areas to find birds, attend one of our Red Cliffs Audubon General Meetings or come along on one of our Field Trips. For more information about birds and things to do, call Red Cliffs Audubon at 435 673-0996.


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