Walk anywhere in Shenandoah National Park in the springtime and you will hear the singing of an Ovenbird. Their "teacher teacher teacher" song that gets louder as it goes (like someone is turning the volume up) is a sure sign of their presence. That song is easy to hear, but actually spotting the singing bird is a bit more challenging. You would think that their song would make it easier, but for whatever reason, I find them hard to locate visually even when they are singing away.
I had someone recently ask me how the Ovenbird got its name, and I was stumped. It is an odd name. Why go with something simple like Ovenbird when you could have something more eclectic like Scaly-throated Foliage-gleaner?
Okay...I apologize in advance for the detour, but here is where things get complicated. I had picked up my copy of The Birds of Costa Rica in order to find a really complicated bird name that I could contrast with Ovenbird. I flipped through, found Scaly-throated Foliage-gleaner, and was pleased with myself for finding such a mouthful. I wanted to include a link to something meaningful for that name, so I did some searching on Wikipedia. This is where I discovered that the Scaly-throated Foliage-gleaner just happens to be a member of a family of birds that is referenced by the term "ovenbird". Much to my dismay, the specific North American bird whose name is Ovenbird, is not a member of the family of birds (Furnarlidae) whose name is Ovenbird. Sigh.
So, where does the term "ovenbird" derive? Building a nest that is covered, with a side entrance, and has a passing resemblance to a dutch oven was the primary driver. The North American bird called Ovenbird apparently does this. Here are a couple photos of an Ovenbird (the North American kind) that I took on one of my recent South River Falls hikes.