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Interspecies Event of the Century!

March 17, 2009
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Do you all remember several months ago when I wrote about the Swainson’s Warbler tapes I was watching for a graduate student at NC State? Well, I’m still doing that. As long as he’s still willing to pay me to do it, I’m still willing to do it. And frankly, in this economy, who among us can afford not to watch tapes of Swainson’s Warblers? That’s what I thought.

Well, in the hours and hours of tapes I’ve watched the story has been pretty much the same. If you’ve seen one pair of Swainson’s Warblers at the nest, then you’ve pretty much seen them all. You’d even be forgiven for thinking I’m some sort of zombie if you’d seen me doing it. It’s repetitive, and rarely do you see anything that varies far from the basic incubating-feeding-brooding routine. But yesterday I found something cool. Check it out.

That’s a Black Rat Snake taking advantage of a poorly hidden Warbler nest, something I’d note as an “interspecies event”. So it goes, the circle of life and such. But I thought it was cool and, even though I knew the snake was coming up somewhere in the tape, it was still pretty shocking to see it slide in from the bottom of the frame and go to town on some Swainson’s Warbler eggs.

Days of our Swainson’s Warblers indeed. The snake would probably be playing the role of the cold-blooded killer here, right?

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2 Comments
  1. MaineBirder permalink
    March 17, 2009 10:51 am

    The snake has to eat too. Just a shame that it had to be bird eggs instead of a rat.

  2. Nate permalink
    March 17, 2009 2:48 pm

    @mainebirder- True, but given the relative rarity of such an event (in at least that I”ve watched hours of tape and only seen this happen twice) means the SWWAs are doing ok.

    It should be noted that this particular nest was poorly hidden compared to others which probably led to this.

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