The Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma is a haven for nature enthusiasts and wildlife photographers alike. Among the diverse array of avian species that grace this scenic refuge, the Prothonotary Warbler stands out as a captivating subject. With its vibrant plumage and charming demeanor, capturing the essence of this enchanting songbird through the lens becomes an exhilarating quest.

A Unique Encounter: Witnessing a Prothonotary Warbler’s Mealtime

During one of my visits to the Sally Jones Causeway, a remarkable encounter with a Prothonotary Warbler unfolded before my eyes. As I sat in my pickup truck, I noticed a flash of golden feathers darting down towards the road. It was a Prothonotary Warbler in pursuit of its next meal—a Dragonfly.

A Prothonotary Warbler Removing Wings From A Dragonfly

A Prothonotary Warbler Removing Wings From A Dragonfly

With my camera ready, I seized the opportunity to document this extraordinary sight. The warbler’s agile movements and keen hunting skills mesmerized me as it swiftly captured the Dragonfly in its beak. I clicked away, capturing the warbler in action as it deftly shook its head to remove the wings of its prey. The intricate details of this captivating behavior unfolded before my lens, showcasing the innate grace and precision of the Prothonotary Warbler.

The Intricate Feeding Behavior of Prothonotary Warblers

Prothonotary Warblers, scientifically known as Protonotaria citrea, are renowned for their unique feeding habits. The warbler’s preference for insects, particularly Dragonflies, adds to its allure. These dainty songbirds exhibit remarkable agility and precision when it comes to securing their meals.

When a Prothonotary Warbler catches a Dragonfly, it employs a fascinating technique to consume its prey. By shaking its head vigorously, the warbler skillfully removes the Dragonfly’s delicate wings, revealing the nourishing core. This behavior showcases the warbler’s adaptability and resourcefulness, allowing it to consume its meal efficiently. Once the wings have been shed, the warbler proceeds to swallow the remaining morsel, ensuring no part goes to waste.

A Prothonotary Warbler Preparing To Eat A Dragonfly

A Prothonotary Warbler Preparing To Eat A Dragonfly

As a wildlife photographer, observing and documenting these intricate feeding behaviors presents an extraordinary opportunity to capture the essence of the Prothonotary Warbler. The combination of their vivid plumage, captivating behavior, and the picturesque backdrop of Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge provides an ideal canvas for creating awe-inspiring images.

In conclusion, the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma offers a remarkable sanctuary for both wildlife enthusiasts and photographers seeking to immerse themselves in the wonders of nature. The Prothonotary Warbler, with its vibrant beauty and unique feeding habits, exemplifies the enchanting avian species that call this refuge home. By capturing the essence of these charismatic songbirds through the lens, we can preserve their captivating presence and raise awareness about the importance of conserving their delicate habitats.

Gear Used:

  • Camera: Canon EOS R5
  • Lens: Canon RF 100-500 mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM


  • Location: Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge (Oklahoma)
  • Date and Time Taken: May 23, 2023 (07:57 A. M.)
  • Exposure Mode: Manual
  • Aperture: f8
  • Shutter speed: 1/800
  • ISO: 1600 (Auto)
  • Exp. Comp.: +0.7
  • Focal Length: 500 mm

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