poetry and prose about place

songs in the grey woods – northern parula

with 6 comments

A friend, a knowledgeable wetland biologist, has been helping me learn some new bird songs. Last week, I identified the song of the Northern Parula. This is a bird I have never seen, though I scan those tree tops with the binoculars until my arms ache. I have heard its song so many times and always wondered what it was. The song is a long whirrrrr, flowed by a short, upward flipWhirrrr -flip. Whirrrr- flip. This morning it was the first song of the morning bird chorus!


May 20, 2016 'Northern Parula' Jane Tims


It drives me crazy to hear him sing, be able to find the tree he is perched in, but not see him. My painting is how I think he must look, based on descriptions on the net.

The Parula is a blue-grey bird with a yellow throat, and a yellow and white breast. He has a white crescent above and below his eye and two white wing bars. A bright and beautiful bird! He has an association with a lichen I love, Usnea subfloridana, Old Man’s Beard. He uses the lichen to build his hanging nest.


Usnea subfloridana on the snow

Usnea subfloridana on the snow – usually found hanging in our maple, spruce and fir trees


Copyright 2016 Jane Tims


Written by jane tims

May 27, 2016 at 7:00 am

6 Responses

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  1. Wow, I’ve never even heard of this bird! Thanks for enlightening me, Jane!

    Liked by 1 person

    Jane Fritz

    June 1, 2016 at 8:18 pm

  2. You are such a skilled artist. I love how you made the bird come alive with a few perfect brush strokes.

    Liked by 1 person


    May 27, 2016 at 11:57 pm

    • Still trying to see a parula. There is one singing over in the trees this morning but the leaves are too thick to see. Thanks! Jane


      jane tims

      May 29, 2016 at 12:09 pm

  3. Great painting: we have moss on the north side of our picnic table. Your book arrived today. It’s quicker from Woodstock to Island View than from Fredericton to Woodstock. Can’t wait to open the packet.

    Liked by 1 person


    May 27, 2016 at 1:07 pm

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