Northern Parula

Northern Parula
Photo: Northern Parula on a willow tree

This little wood warbler wearing his dark necklace recently arrived from Central America to breed near wetland. Formerly classified in the genus Parus (meaning ‘tit’), along with Eurasian titmice such as the Willow Tit. A mnemonic for its song goes like this: zeeeeeeeeeee (buzzy)-chyoo.

  • On a tree by a river a little tom-tit
  • Sang ‘Willow, tit willow, tit willow’
  • And I said to him, ‘Dicky-bird, why do you sit
  • Singing ‘Willow, tit willow, tit willow’
  • “Is it weakness of intellect, birdie?” I cried
  • “Or a rather tough worm in your little inside” …
  • From the Mikado (Gilbert & Sullivan)

Next Post: Any Pecking Order in a Wolf Pack?

By Roger Gosden

British-born scientist specializing in reproduction & embryology. Career as professor & research director spanned from Cambridge to Cornell's Weill Medical College in NYC. Married to Lucinda Veeck Gosden, embryologist for the first successful IVF team in America. Retired early to Williamsburg, Virginia, to write and recover from 'nature deficit disorder'. Currently a visiting scholar at William & Mary.

Your Reply is Appreciated