Ovenbird Video Portrait

Ovenbirds are common in a large block of forest owned and managed by the University of Missouri near the town of Ashland. This spring I heard at least five males calling along a public road that runs through this preserve, and I was lucky to get video and sound from two males. They shared this area with numerous Worm-eating, Northern Parula and Kentucky Warblers.

placeholder image for the Ovenbird video clip by Carl Gerhardt

Ovenbirds have a subtle beauty. Their white breasts with black spots remind me of a Wood Thrush, but they are much smaller and have a broad, dull-orange, black-bordered crown stripe. Their song is similar to that of the Kentucky Warbler, and sometimes I get them mixed up. The Kentucky Warbler’s song seems more melodious and even-keeled, while the song of the Ovenbird is more staccato and ends in a crescendo. Ovenbirds breed in a large part of the eastern two-thirds of the United States.

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  1. The spots remind me of a Wood Thrush too. In fact, there very first time I saw this video, it was when I first heard of an Ovenbird, and I thought it was a type of thrush. I now know that it’s a type of wood-warbler.

    The Ovenbird has an extremely loud song for its size. I heard one singing just yards away before and it is was very loud. One would think it is a much larger bird.

    Here in Michigan, I would say the Ovenbird is locally common, because I’ve only heard them in remote, undisturbed areas. I’ve never actually seen one. The one I heard just yards away was at Warren Dunes State Park, and I somehow couldn’t see it.

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