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Common yellowthroat


His mummer’s mask he never doffs;

His singing phrase we like to quote:

This witchetying masquerader

We’ve named the common yellowthroat,

For chin to breast he’s bright as summer

(His wings are olive lightly browned);

And lowborn?—well, you could say that:

His nest was built just off the ground.

But he frequents all the forty-nine,

Our Zorro of the passerine—

With his season’s senorita

Who doesn’t travel incognita:

That’s why we call him common—No,

There’s no rube behind that domino.


This wetland warbler weaves a nest

Where reeds or rushes serve as pickets,

And flits about the marshy brush,

And plunges in the thickest thickets.

You’ll swear the chap is lost for good,

The last of that bird you’ll be seeing;

But look!—another prickly maze is solved:

He’s on a low limb, witchetying.

And soon he’s back below for more,

This never-rest insectivore

And every marsh’s favorite mummer

Who trick-or-treats all spring and summer,

Though he strictly Halloweens around

His southern coastal winter ground.


When handsome in his olive-maize

He’s singing forth his favorite phrase,

The question I just have to ask

Is: What’s up with the burglar mask?

Familiar songbirds aren’t exempt

From breeding at least some contempt;

But can he think we’re all so dim?

I mean, everybody knows it’s him!



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