Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 52

By Marcia Bonta

The Masked Bandit
The most widespread warbler in Pennsylvania, the common
yellowthroat is a favorite among birdwatchers.

I

T IS LATE afternoon on May Day,
and the masked bandit is standing on
the stoop of our veranda door. He looks
around alertly as I speak to him.
"What are you doing here?" I ask.
He doesn't seem inclined to move, or to
answer. After all, he's only a songbird who
sings witchedy, witchedy, and he doesn't
even honor me with his song.
Instead, he flies up along the edge of
the house, as if looking for insects.
He then lands in front of the livingroom window, and I wonder if he has seen
his reflection and is looking to fight a rival.
He flies back to the storm door, looking
as if he wants to go inside.
Finally, he flies up to the transom above
the door and pecks at his reflection.
Apparently, he does perceive a rival,
but he is not as persistent as towhees and
cardinals, both of which have tapped for
hours and many weeks on our windows.
After a few minutes, he flies back down
to the stoop, then suddenly and silently
flies away.
This is the last we see of him around
our home, although we hear plenty from
him and other common yellowthroats
throughout the breeding season.
Still, I am left with more questions than
52

answers about his visit and readily admit
that, despite watching birds for most of
my life, I am still puzzled by much of
their behavior.
The word "common" in the name of
this warbler describes its ubiquitous presence during the nesting season in most
of North America. It's found from every
province in Canada to western Mexico,
and it's perhaps the most-common breeding warbler in Pennsylvania.
"Yellowthroat" refers obviously to
the warbler's bright color, not only on its
throat, but also its chin and breast.
Still, I prefer my name for the male
yellowthroat - "the masked bandit." The
male yellowthroat's distinctive black
mask is outlined above in white, which
separates its black forehead and mask
from its olive head, back and wings.
The female is plain olive with a pale
yellow chin, throat and breast, ideal for
blending into the shrubby habitat where
she builds her nest and cares for her
young.
Ornithologists have distinguished 15
subspecies of yellowthroats based mostly
on slight variations in their color, size,



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016

Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - Intro
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - Cover1
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - Cover2
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 2
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 3
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 4
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 5
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 6
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 7
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 8
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 9
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 10
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 11
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 12
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 13
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 14
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 15
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 16
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 17
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 18
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 19
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 20
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 21
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 22
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 23
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 24
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 25
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 26
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 27
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 28
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 29
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 30
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 31
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 32
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 33
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 34
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 35
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 36
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 37
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 38
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 39
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 40
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Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 52
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 53
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 54
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 55
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 56
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 57
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 58
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Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 60
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 61
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 62
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 63
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 64
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - Cover3
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - Cover4
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