Carbonated Warbler

I shot the two little birds here represented, near the village of Henderson, in the State of Kentucky, in May 1811. They were both busily engaged in searching for insects along the branches and amongst the leaves of a dogwood tree. Their motions were those common to all the species of the genus. On examination, they were found to be both males. I am of opinion that they were each young birds of the preceding year, and not in full plumage, as they had no part of their dress seemingly complete, excepting the head. Not having met with any other individuals of the species, I am at this moment unable to say anything more about them. They were drawn, like almost all the other birds which I have represented, immediately after being killed; but the branch on which you see them was not added until the following summer.

For years naturalists have been wondering, what is a Carbonated Warbler? Was it a now-extinct species, a funky hybrid, or perhaps a figment of Audubon's imagination? We may never know for sure.

For years naturalists have been wondering, what is a Carbonated Warbler? Was it a now-extinct species, a funky hybrid, or perhaps a figment of Audubon’s imagination? We may never know for sure.

The common name of this plant is service-tree. It seldom attains a greater height than thirty or forty feet, and is usually found in hilly ground of secondary quality. The berries are agreeable to the taste, and are sought after by many species of birds, amongst which the Red-headed Woodpecker is very conspicuous.

Excerpted from The Birds of America, published in sections between 1827 and 1838.

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