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Flashes of gold and blue: Seven photos of Prothonotary Warbler

Prothonotary Warbler at Magee Marsh Wildlife Area, Ohio, May 18, 2014, by Joan Tisdale.

Revered conservationist and author Aldo Leopold had a special appreciation for Prothonotary Warbler. The bird is the subject of Mac Stone’s cover story in our August 2015 issue.

Read a preview of the August issue.

“Soon after I bought the woods a decade ago,” Leopold wrote in A Sand County Almanac, “I realized that I had bought almost as many tree diseases as I had trees. My woodlot is riddled by all the ailments wood is heir to. I began to wish that Noah, when he loaded up the Ark, had left the tree diseases behind. But it soon became clear that these same diseases made my woodlot a mighty fortress, unequaled in the whole county….

“The real jewel of my disease-ridden woodlot is the prothonotary warbler. He nests in an old woodpecker hole, or other small cavity, in a dead snag overhanging water. The flash of his gold-and-blue plumage amid the dank decay of the June woods is in itself proof that dead trees are transmuted into living animals, and vice versa. When you doubt the wisdom of this arrangement, take a look at the prothonotary.”

We found the photos here in our U.S. & Canada and Backyard Galleries.

In Illinois

In Illinois

Prothonotary Warbler at Rend Lake, near Benton, Illinois, by Maureen Sanders.

We found Aldo Leopold’s description of his woodlot in “November: A Mighty Fortress,” a chapter in his famous book A Sand County Almanac and Sketches Here and There (Oxford University Press, 1949).

Read a preview of our August 2015 issue.


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