Birds of Barrington, Citizens for Conservation, News, Wendy Paulson

Wendy Paulson’s Birds of Barrington | Common Yellowthroat

Wendy Paulson’s Birds of Barrington | Common Yellowthroat

It’s interesting how many birds carry the epithet “common” – for example, common nighthawk, common merganser, common goldeneye, common grackle. It is unclear to me who decides that a species is common or uncommon, though no bird that I know of claims the official adjective “uncommon.”

A local bird that definitely fits the “common” category, as in commonly found, is the common yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas). But in other respects – appearance, habits, song – the bird certainly is not common, as in mundane or plain.

The yellowthroat is a spiffy little bird, especially the male which sports a brilliant yellow throat and breast and a Lone Ranger black mask lined above in white. The female is more muted. Her throat is yellow but not quite so bright and she does not have the dramatic face mask. Overall she has a yellow-olive appearance.

These days of summer the song of the common yellowthroat is a frequent tune in fields and marshes. “Wichety-wichety-wichety” it chants, loud and clear, striking the first syllable with special emphasis. There is almost not an hour of the day that I don’t hear those notes from my back door, and sometimes coming from several different individuals. The bird sings with gusto; its song animates the air with vivacity.

But while easy to hear, the common yellowthroat is not always so easy to find. It’s a skulker, emitting its tell-tale song as it lurks deep in tall grass. I find, however, that pishing (“pssh-pssh-pssh”) – the sound many birders make when trying to lure a bird into sight – usually arouses the yellowthroat’s curiosity and it emerges from concealment. In this respect it reminds me of many wren species which respond similarly to pishing. And in its movements, the yellowthroat resembles wrens, too, though it belongs to the warbler clan. It is a perky bird that flits from perch to perch, always alert, active, quick. Only occasionally do birdwatchers get to watch it actually stay put for a minute or two.

Because it winters in the southern United States – it is not a long-distance migrant like many warblers – the yellowthroat returns early each spring to the Barrington area and departs later than most other warbler species. There are few of our spring and summer birdwalks during which there isn’t an appearance by a common yellowthroat or, at the very least, the alert of its distinctive song. You can expect to hear and, hopefully, see common yellowthroats at almost any local forest preserve, Citizens for Conservation property, Baker’s Lake Savanna, Beese Park, or any grassy areas bordering wetlands.

The common yellowthroat is the Lone Ranger of the bird world, or the bird with a raccoon mask, or El Bandito, the little bandit. Whatever title one chooses to bestow on this diminutive summer resident, it’s always a pleasure to encounter it by sight or sound.

About the Author

Wendy Paulson has lived in Barrington Hills since 1975, and has led bird walks in the area for many years. She re-established the Nature Lady program in the Barrington 220 school district and St. Anne’s in the late 70s, under the auspices of The Garden Club and Little Garden Club of Barrington. Wendy developed the education program for Citizens for Conservation, initiated and edited its newsletter, and has been an active volunteer with CFC for over 30 years.

Wendy Paulson
Wendy Paulson

During interludes in New York City and Washington, DC, Wendy taught classes about birds in the public schools and is helping to develop a similar program in Chicago public schools with Openlands. She is chairman of The Bobolink Foundation, serves on the board or advisory committee of multiple conservation and bird-related organizations, both domestic and international, and is former chairman of IL and NY chapters of The Nature Conservancy.

Wendy and her husband Hank have two grown children and are avid hikers, cyclists, and kayakers.

CLICK HERE to explore all of the local bird profiles Wendy has authored in our Birds of Barrington series at 365Barrington.com.

There are no comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

365Barrington Sponsors

Featured Events

365Barrington Partners

From the Community

Springing into a new look like 💁‍♀️ This balayage and cut was created by Hair Artist Kristin! Balayages are great for anyone who wants low maintenance hair color and a natural feel to their look. ⁠
.⁠
. ⁠
#chicagosalon #chicagohair #chicagostylist #crystallake #crystallakesalon #crystallakehair #naturalsalon #naturalbeauty #naturalhaircare #avedahair #hairinspo #livedinhair #naturalhaircare #avedahaircare #aveda #avedacares #newsalon #avalonsalon #avedastylists #deerparktowncenter #salontoday #shopdeerpark #365barrington avaloncrystallake
...

0 0

How are we practicing disability inclusion? What does it mean to think intersectionally about barriers to belonging? Join @courageousconvos TONIGHT (Wed, April 14, 7pm CT) for their next session of Courageous Conversations hosted by Rev. Dr. Zina Jacque & Jessica Green with special guests Jason Altmann, Director of Access & Disability Services at @harpercollege, and Crystal Kelley Schwartz, language mentor, educator and disability advocate, followed by interactive dialogue. 

#ASL interpreting will be provided. Signup at CourageousCommunity.us ♥️ #365Barrington #CourageousConversations #disabilityinclusion
...

15 4

Cutest little circle vine from one of my fav little shops in town tatteredtiques ! So cute!
.
.
.
.
.
#shoplocal #shopsmall #homedecor #plantsofinstagram #plantsmakepeoplehappy #barringtonilphotographer #localpride #barringtongifts #barringtonillinois #60010 #barrington365 #living60010
...

6 0

Luby Group Listings

$330,000
1,294
SQFT
113 S Cook Street Barrington, IL 60010
Commercial For Sale
- Active

Retail storefront in prime pedestrian location in downtown Barrington surrounded by Village shopping, restaurants, and steps to the Metra train station. Great opportunity to own a high visibility space, currently vacant, ready for you to move in and

$297,000
3
BEDS
3
TOTAL BATHS
306 Hickory Lane #D Lake Barrington, IL 60010
Condo For Sale
- Active Under Contract

Beautifully updated Braeburn model with terrific views over the 11th green of the Lake Barrington Shores golf course! So many updates to enjoy including an open floor plan with rich hardwood floors and a full kitchen update featuring custom cabinetr

New Listing - 2 weeks online
$160,000
0.52
ACRES
COOK
COUNTY
1100 Prairie Avenue Barrington, IL 60010
Land For Sale
- Active

Great opportunity to build your dream home on a half acre in Barrington right down the street from Baker Lake and Ron Beese Park. Located just over a mile south of downtown Barrington, this rare waterfront location is a few blocks away from award-wi

$600,000
5
BEDS
4
TOTAL BATHS
20331 Ela Road Deer Park, IL 60010
Single Family Home For Sale
- Pending

Amazing value! Beautiful home on 5 acres and accessed by a private road. This unique home features new exterior stain and beautiful landscape views from every window. Many upgrades inc. updated kitchen with hickory cabinets, large center island, cori

Newsletter