Fall is a great time to watch for one of nature’s most lively and vibrantly dressed creatures. The male American Redstart, with its bold, black body contrasted against its bright orange and bright yellow wings and tail, appears ready for the Halloween holiday.
This lively little warbler isn’t just dressed for Halloween. It lives up to the spirit of the holiday by actually frightening its prey. American Redstarts have a unique style of hunting. They dart in and out of leafs while quickly fanning their tail feathers to expose the striking orange and yellow feathers in a flash. Those fast moving bright colors startle the bugs into the air, where the redstart gobbles them up.
The music video below shows you an American Redstart in action – flashing its tail for food.
Aside from their striking appearance and their ability to “jet” in and out of foliage, you might also identify them by their upbeat song. The males are known for their sweet song, which they use to claim their territory and attract a mate or two.
During mating season, the male won’t settle down with just one girl. He’ll stay with the first female until she starts incubating the eggs, then he’s off to find another one. In fact, while other bird species will do this same sort of thing, the American Redstart is a little different in that he chooses a completely separate territory for his new family.
American Redstarts spend the breeding season throughout most of Canada and much of the eastern United States. During the fall and spring migration, people all over America get the chance to see them as they take off to their tropical homes in Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. If they don’t normally live in your area, watch for them from September through mid-October and again in April and May.
Their diet is mostly made up of all types of bugs, including, leafhoppers, planthoppers, flies, and moths. During the late summer, they’ll change their diet a bit and will start to snack on various berries and fruits. If you want to attract them, you might plant things like barberry, serviceberry, and magnolia. Also, offering Cole’s Nutberry Suet Blend in your feeders will certainly get their attention.
American Redstarts are worth attracting. You’ll enjoy seeing their striking, bold colors, watching their unique style of hunting, and listening to their sweet songs. If you have photos, videos, or stories of your experiences with American Redstarts, please share them with the Cole’s community on Facebook.
Cole’s Wild Bird Products is a family-owned company that distributes wild bird feed and suet products. The company is known for offering the highest quality products on the market. Cole’s also specializes in chile infused seed products designed to make your feeder a bird’s only “hot” spot. Cole’s started in the garage of mom and pop entrepreneurs Richard and Nancy Cole back in the early 1980’s. Today it distributes to retailers nationwide. Cole’s is located in the metro Atlanta area.