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.
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.