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IMG_0186Dan Albrecht-Mallinger is a wildlife biologist by training. He sometimes does other things because the world is full of distractions…and not always full of opportunities. A native of northwest Indiana, he thinks of the dunes of southern Lake Michigan as home. Dan received his undergraduate from Earlham College in Biology, and his Master of Science (also in Biology) from Virginia Commonwealth University. Helmitheros is a place where he can speak, whimper, doodle, and grouse about all those thoughts that rattle around his skull.

IMG_0071The blog takes it title from the scientific name of the Worm-eating Warbler, Helmitheros vermivorus. The only member of its genus, the Worm-eating Warbler breeds on the ground of woodland slopes (and sometimes weird coastal forests) throughout the Eastern US, and overwinters in Central America and the Caribbean. It is an insectivorous gleaner, specializing in pulling arthropods from dead leaves suspended on branches. Its striped head and tan plumage seem drab when compared to gaudier members of the wood-warbler family, but Dan is charmed by its understated beauty. Practice is needed to discern its dry rattling song from species with similar voices, such as the Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina) and the Pine Warbler (Setophaga pinus). If you see one in your binoculars, blow it a kiss. Dan thinks they like that.

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