Documentation of Prothonotary Warbler

Observer Information

Reporter:  Bill Maynard  1390 Farnham Pt. # 205,   COLORADO SPRINGS, CO  80904-5215
Other Observers:  None; Kaye Lafreniere found the bird on 05/26/07

Mark Peterson saw the bird early on 05/27/07 and called me.

Species, Date, Time and Location Information

Species:  Prothonotary Warbler
First Date/Time:  5/27/2007
Last Date/Time: 
Duration (total time in view):  7 minutes over an hour period
County:  Washington
Specific Location:  Last Chance Rest Area pond
Number:  1
Age:  Unknown
Sex:  Male
Plumage:  Other/Unknown


A small pond surrounded completely with dense riparian vegetation with well developed understory and an overstory of elms and other large trees

Viewing Conditions

Optics:  mostly used my spotting scope, 77mm Leica APO, with 32 x WW lens.
Distance:  I was as close as 25 feet, almost too close to photograph
Light:  At times quite good, in light shadows. I was looking south and the sun was rising.

Description of the Bird

This was a yellow orange, bluish-gray backed and winged warbler with a long dark bill. The head, chin, breast, and upper belly were orange yellow with the chest being the most orange. Because the head was completely orange yellow, it is a male. The brightness of the chest became duller, moving towards the undertail coverts which were noticeably white. The tail was relatively short. The wings had a bluish cast and contrasted beautifully with the yellow and orange tones of the head and ventral surface. The back had a greenish cast and was a different hue than the wings.

The feet were dark. The bird was slow-moving and appeard plump for a warbler. The bill stood out in its extended length.
Behaviors: I saw the bird three different times. The first two times it came down to the water to bathe, but only for about 4 or 5 seconds each time. It then moved up in front of me and preened its breast feathers. The third time I saw the bird foraging about 2 to 3 feet off of the ground in a clump of Ribes shrubs. At other times I could hear the bird singing, but it sounded like it sang from an elevated perch but I never saw it while it was singing.
Call: Yes,

I heard it sing three different times, but maybe only for 10 seconds each time. I compared it with the Prothonotary Warbler song on my iPod and it was the same song. Didn't hear any chip notes. Not as loud as advertized but noticeably high and sweet.
Plumage: adult alternate

Similar Species Discussion

Blue-winged Warbler has similar coloration but BWWA has a black eyeline, much smaller bill and lacks white undertail coverts. BWWA also sings a very buzzy song and never shows the orange tones that this PROW showed.

Yellow Warbler was also present and singing. It was much smaller and unlike the PROW, the YWAR snuck in to bathe. It was much smaller and had a smaller bill and red streaks on its yellow breast.

Resources Used

Looked in NGS 5th edition to confirm sex and for comparative species.

Previous Experience

I have seen four other PROWs in CO and many in the southern U.S. and in Shiawassee NWR in Michigan, but never as well as this one.



Additional Information

Comments: Very very good looks at a bathing and preening bird.
Time: 10:10 AM
Elevation: unknown
Other Dates: first found on 05/26/07
Nearest Town: Last Chance
Independent Observers: Kaye Lafreniere found the bird on 05/26/07

Mark Peterson saw the bird early on 05/27/07 and called me.

Materials Available

No files uploaded.

Date Documentation Submitted

5/27/2007 6:16:00 PM