American Redstart

1/3200s, f7.1, ISO 2000, Canon EOS-1D X, EF800mm f/5.6L IS USM

The American redstart is a smallish warbler. They breed in North America, across southern Canada and the eastern USA. These birds are migratory, wintering in Central America, the West Indies, and northern South America. The breeding habitats of the redstarts are open woodlands or scrub, often located near water. They nest in the lower part of a bush, laying 2 to 5 eggs in a neat cup-shaped nest. The female incubates the clutch for 10 to 13 days. The young fledge after 9 days in the nest, and may remain with one parent for up to 3 weeks after fledging. First-year males are able to reproduce during their first breeding season, but they retain the female-like plumage, which may contribute to low reproductive success (less than 50% of first-year males) until year 2. In contrast, most first-year females successfully reproduce during their first breeding season. There is evidence for a skewed sex ratio that results in a surplus of unmated males. The redstarts feed almost exclusive on insects, which are usually caught by fly catching. American redstarts also have been known to catch their insect prey by gleaning it from leaves. This is a very active species. The tail is often held partly fanned out. These birds have been observed flashing the orange and yellow of their tails, on and off, to startle and chase insects from the underbrush. Overall, this species is a very flexible, opportunistic feeder that can easily adapt to varying habitat, season, insect community, vegetation structure, and time of day.
Shawnee Forest, Ohio