Photo credit: Dan Lory

You know how when you walk across a grassy field in the summer just before dusk, and as you walk, countless moths and other small insects rise from the grass just ahead? Well that's what it felt like walking through a local park early last week. But it was Palm Warblers instead of insects. There were not as many as there are in the spring migration, but still enough that I soon lost count. They take flight with a flash of soft yellow from under their tail, but if you're not looking closely, you'll probably think "Wow, lots of sparrows today!"

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The Palm Warblers won't take offense. Actually, they act more like sparrows than warblers, spending most of their time on the ground, often mixed in with sparrows and other ground feeders. It's not hard to pick them out of the crowd. Look for a rusty red cap. Plus, they always seem to be the antsy ones--can't sit still, always bobbing their tail up and down.

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The Palm Warblers are not here for long. While last week I was counting them by the dozens, this week I've managed to spot a total of only 4 birds. As they pass through the Chicago area on their way to Cuba or Florida from the boreal forests of northern Canada, the least we can do is take note, and say a word of thanks that they graced us with their presence. Get out and see one before it's too late!

Dan's Feathursday Feature is a weekly contribution to the COS blog featuring the thoughts, insights and pictures of Chicago birder, Dan Lory on birds of the Chicago region.