We light the oven so that everyone might bake bread in it.

-José Martí

For the second time in three years there is an Ovenbird hanging around in Bryant Park well into December. I am convinced that, like José Martí, the Ovenbird seeks to nourish the masses.  But instead of feeding the Cuban masses hungry for freedom from Spain the Ovenbird in Bryant Park nourishes birders desperate for freedom from the tyranny of the season.

Ovenbird Seiurus aurocapilla

This year though, the Ovenbird has competition.  There are, in addition to the Ovenbird, two Yellow-breasted Chats, two Gray Catbirds, and a Lincoln’s Sparrow, all attempting to share Bryant Park with the mass of humanity that crowds the park for ice skating and Christmas shopping this time of year. For a small park with little habitat in the heart of Manhattan this is quite an assortment of birds for December!  I would have loved to spend the day trying to find them all but I had to content myself with a single catbird and this most cooperative of Ovenbirds in the little time I had to spend while on a Christmas shopping expedition.

Today was overcast and the bird didn’t help matters by mostly staying beneath some bushes, forcing me to use flash to get decent pictures. I really don’t like using flash but I made an exception today. What do you think of the outcome?

If you liked these images make sure to head on over to 10,000 Clicks, the 10,000 Birds photo-galleries page, and see our growing collection of galleries.

Written by Corey
Corey is a New Yorker who lived most of his life in upstate New York but has lived in Queens since 2008. He's only been birding since 2005 but has garnered a respectable life list by birding whenever he wasn't working as a union representative or spending time with his family. He lives in Forest Hills with Daisy and Desmond Shearwater. His bird photographs have appeared on the Today Show, in Birding, Living Bird Magazine, Bird Watcher's Digest, and many other fine publications. He is also the author of the American Birding Association Field Guide to the Birds of New York.