Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Kirtland’s Warbler Consuming Ants at Point Pelee

At 0900 on 18 May 2013 my Dad and I were birding along the west beach footpath of Point Pelee National Park when a large warbler caught my fathers eye. Looking through our binoculars revealed a stunningfemale Kirtland’s Warbler. After obtaining some record photographs we posted the sighting on the Ontbirds listserv which allowed numerous individuals to enjoy the sighting. The habitat was that of a westerly facing beach dune community, notable with scattered Juniperus species. The bird was present in the same general area for the remainder of the day allowing us to return in the evening to obtain additional photographs. I was able to obtain a number of detailed images with a Canon 1DM4 DSLR and 600mm lens. Review of these images, both in the field and afterwards, showed that the bird was catching ants. While the order is known to account for a sizeable portion of the species diet on the breeding grounds seemingly little has been published on migrant individuals; presumably due to the general scarcity of observations and subsequent inability to complete any detailed study. 

Female Kirtland's Warbler actively foraging on ants

Kirtland's Warbler eyeing up ants on a small trunk

Female Kirtland's Warbler in evening light

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