Pandemic life has taught me valuable lessons, many of which are in relation to birds. Usually I would be taking people in the field, showing them loads of birds and we’d be preoccupied with what is in front of us at the particular moment in time. Life behind a screen for this birding guide involves delving into the extensive list of birds of Trinidad & Tobago, answering questions about the birds and possible itineraries and so on.

What has materialized in recent times (for me at least) is an uncanny recurrence of the number 3. While I am primarily involved in birds my academic background involved a lot of numbers. My artsy side also enjoys the number 3, it is asymmetrical, odd and prime. Divide most numbers by 3 and you’ll get an infinitely recurring decimal. Which in turn, fits perfectly with this theme.

You see, I’ve written about our three manakins before. Also this post on three trogons (and yes Asa Wright is still closed). I even touched on the three resident spinetails in this post. I would have you, the reader, know that there are many more where these came from. You are welcome to peruse the full list of birds of T&T for other sets of 3 (that’s the latest list available, a lone record of a Capped Heron pushed our total to 490 in 2020). I’ll share another set today: our resident warblers.

Members of the Parulidae family are typically known to be highly migratory but there are many New World Warblers which aren’t. In T&T – or more specifically on Trinidad only as none of these can be found on Tobago – there are three species of resident warblers. Like the spinetails I discussed previously, each species occupies a unique ecological niche.

The Masked Yellowthroat is a denizen of wetland habitat across the island of Trinidad. Males love to sing from chosen vantage points while females tend to remain hidden most of the time.

Forest floor/leaf litter specialists, Golden-crowned Warblers often move in pairs. They aren’t necessarily bound to the ground but are rarely far from it.

Where the territory of the Golden-crowned Warbler ends, the domain of the canopy loving Tropical Parula begins.

There are a few more groups of 3 within our resident bird population here in T&T. If you have found them – let me know in the comments!

Written by Faraaz Abdool
Faraaz Abdool is an internationally published freelance conservation and wildlife photographer/writer who specializes in birds and the issues they face worldwide. He graciously serves on the Trinidad and Tobago Bird Status and Distribution Committee (formerly the Trinidad and Tobago Rare Bird Committee), and leads birding trips on both islands. Faraaz also runs yearly birding and wildlife tours to East Africa. Although he doesn’t keep a life list, Faraaz has been a keen birder for many years, separating Black and Turkey Vultures at distance as a little boy, skipping class to gaze at Magnificent Frigatebirds as a teenager and quitting his job as an electrical engineer to put all his energy into conservation as an adult. Faraaz cultivates wildlife consciousness via his words and images, in a last-ditch attempt to reconnect humans with nature and save the world.