Ovenbird
Seiurus aurocapillus
Family: Parulidae (Warblers)


Ovenbird
Solanum dulcamara
The Ovenbird is olive-brown above with a crown of orange extending from bill to nape with two lateral bands of brownish-black on both sides of crown. Lower parts are white, black triangular spots (streaks) on breast, sides and throat. Pinkish legs and white ring around eyes. This bird is 5 1/2 to 6" in lenght with a wingspan of 9-10". Female similar to male and young are without the orange crown.

These ground warblers are difficult to see, but can be heard. They arrive in the Northern States during the first week of May and by the end of the month, they are normally settled in their summer territory in Canada. While on wing it appears to glide through the woods with ease and celerity, although it seldom extends its flight to more than a hundred yards at a time. They migrate by day, resorting at night to the deepest swamps. None of these birds remain in the United States during winter, although some are found lingering in the south as late as the first of December.


Song:

The song of the ovenbird is often heard with notes growing louder and louder in a chant. Perched erect on low horizontal branches, or sometimes on fallen trees, it emits, at intervals of ten or fifteen minutes, a short succession of simple notes, teacher-teacher-teacher- teacher, beginning with emphasis and gradually falling.


Range:

Northeast British Columbia to Newfoundland to south to US east of Rockies. Winters from the Gulf Coast and South Carolina to north South America.


Courtship/Nesting/Eggs:

During courtship, the birds begin to sing and the male dashes about, rises high and flutters down toward his prospective mate who sits in silence. The male then drops beside her and gives his affective by a series hops, droops his head and tail while elevating his wings.

The nest is like an oven, usually always found on the ground, sometimes among the roots of a tall tree, sometimes by the side of a fallen trunk, and again at the foot of some slender sapling. It is sunk in the ground among dry leaves or decayed moss, and is neatly formed of grasses, both inside and out, arched over with a thick mass of the same material, covered by leaves, twigs, and grasses. A small aperture is left on one side, just sufficient to admit the bird. The female builds the nest. During the months of May-July, in the snug nest, the female lays from 4-6 eggs, which are white, irregularly spotted with reddish-brown near the larger end.

The eggs are subjected to predation by snakes, red squirrels and skunks. When accidentally disturbed at the period of incubation, the Ovenbird glides over the ground and uses all sorts of artifices to decoy it's enemies from the nest.

Incubation is by the female and eggs hatch anywhere from 11-14 days. The young are born with eyes closed and are then opened by the 5th day. Both male and female feed the young. First flight is 8-11 days old.


Natural Feeding Habits:

This birds diet is mostly insects consisting of crickets, ants, spiders, caterpillars, aphids, earthworms, moths, slugs and beetles. The Ovenbird walks on the ground of woods turning over leaves with their bills. A few seeds and fruit such as mulberries are also eaten.


Other Names:

Other names for the Ovenbird is Golden-crowned Thrush (Turdus aurocapillus), and Golden-crowned Accentor (Seiurus aurocapillus).

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