Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Black-and-white Warbler

A winter warbler came this afternoon

To the same oak one’s been to every year

Since I’ve been looking. I watched him for awhile.

His black-and-white feathers give him his name.

He circles trunks and limbs to hunt for food.

He catches insect larva crawling there.

The pattern on his back makes him blend in

With ridges and depressions in the bark.

Sometimes he can’t be seen until he moves

Around the trunks to disappear in back.

The imagery of feathers on his back

Is not the random marks like on oak trees,

But quite precise. He wears a short-tailed coat

Or maybe it’s a shawl half down his back

With alternating stripes, wide on the sides.

Below the stripes are bold and more distinct

Much like the four that crown this warbler’s head.

He’s often upside down, and I have read

That his hind toes and claws are extra long

To help this pose, I guess, or help him hunt.

I’m glad he came to Florida today

Because cool weather can’t be far behind.

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