English and Scientific names:

Townsend’s Warbler (Dendroica townsendi)

Number of individuals: 

One, presumed first-winter (HY) male

Locality: LOUISIANA: 

Plaquemines Parish

Specific Locality:

Lower (“Big”) Woods, Fort Jackson, ca. 1 mi. NE of Triumph

Date(s) when observed:

29 December 2009

Time(s) of day when observed:  

~3:45 – 4:05 PM CST

Reporting observer and address:

Devin Bosler 

Lancaster, PA 17601

Other observers accompanying reporter who also identified the bird(s):

Justin Bosler

Other observers who independently identified the bird(s)

Glen Ousset (discovered bird weeks (?) prior to Venice CBC), Phillip Wallace (relocated on Venice CBC), David Muth – last observed on 10 January 2010.

Light conditions (position of bird in relation to shade and to direction and amount of light):

Clear sky with favorable afternoon sunlight.  Sun angle relatively high and backlighting/glare not a factor.

Optical equipment: 

Zeiss Victory FL 8x42, Kowa TSN 881 Angled 88mm scope w/ 20-60x optical zoom, Canon Powershot SD 1100 IS digital camera (all equipment in excellent condition)

Distance to bird(s): 

within ca. 8-10 meters

Duration of observation:

~20 min.


Mature deciduous batture woods with densely-vegetated understory.  Primarily live oak-hackberry-honeylocust-pecan woods with lush green elderberry-yaupon-palmetto-baccharis undergrowth.

Behavior of bird: 

Associating with a mixed-species foraging flock (B-h Vireos, R-c Kinglets, B-g Gnatcatchers, Orange-crowned, Pine, and Myrtle Warblers) in live oak canopy on levee/Miss. River side of woodlot.  It was initially heard giving the characteristic sharp ‘tsik’ call, very similar to Black-throated Green Warbler.  Once located visually, it was observed gleaning insects from undersides of leaves in a rather deliberate and methodical manner interspersed with some hover-gleaning.  Apparently settling in to roost for the night, as it perched motionless and preened from a sunny patch in crown of tall live oak for several minutes.  All diagnostic features seen well through binoculars and spotting scope.



A boldly-patterned yellow, black, and green warbler.  Olive-green upperparts with faint dark streaking.  Head/face mostly yellow with dark auriculars, dark crown, yellow chin and throat.  Breast yellow blending to whitish belly and undertail coverts.  Light to moderate black streaking on sides and flanks.  Two prominent white wing bars on otherwise dark wing.  Hint of black feathering appearing on lower throat/breast sides suggestive of HY male.  Yellow crescent below eye.  Extensive white in outer rectrices.  Boldness of face pattern and streaked underparts also hinting at apparent HY male.  Dark irides.  Blackish tarsi and feet.


Sharp ‘tip’ call, similar but slightly higher pitched than that of BTNW.

Similar species:

All dark auriculars outlined in yellow separate Townsend’s Warbler (TOWA) from Black-throated Green (BTNW) and Hermit (HEWA) Warblers in all plumages.  Bold face pattern unmistakable. 

Photographs or tape recordings obtained?

Yes, digiscoped photos by Devin Bosler.  Yes, attached.

Previous experience with this species: 

Very familiar with this species from numerous encounters in Western U.S. – seen in AZ, TX, and WA.  Plus, one wintering bird in Frederick Co. (MD) on 4 Jan 2006.

Identification aids:

National Geographic Complete Birds of N.A. (Alderfer et al. 2005), A Field Guide to Warblers of North America (Dunn & Garrett 1997).

This description is written from: 

notes made during the observation, notes made after the observation, memory.

Are you positive of your identification? If not, explain: 


Yes, very positive.

Date and time: 

21 January 2010, 9:30 PM EST