A Bestiary: Part Twenty-three ~ Songbirds: Warblers ~ Black-throated Green Warbler

Within a Viburnum bush just outside my barn studio, I eye a breeding male Black-throated Green Warbler Setophaga virens, stretching, on his tiny, gray legs, into his four inches plus tall height revealing his characteristic yellow face and bold coal-black bib. He stands in alert to my presence but quickly relaxes into his daily gleaning ways before flying off to a nearby crabapple tree. This vociferous and inquisitive songbird is the featured warbler in part twenty-three of ‘A Bestiary . . . Tales from a Wildlife Garden’

Black-throated Green Warbler (Setophaga virens)

Our forest with a mix of coniferous and deciduous trees with shrubby layered edges is a much desired habitat for these vividly marked warblers.

Black-throated Green Warbler (Setophaga virens)

In flight the wing bars and white tail feathers offer more clues to identifying the Black-throated Green Warbler. An olive green garb spreads across his back, shoulders and crown framing his striking yellow face.

Black-throated Green Warbler (Setophaga virens)

The immature male looks much like a female Black-throated Green Warbler with the exception of bits of yellow hues along the undersides of his body. I think I can see hints of yellow beneath the wings and guess this to be an immature male . . . perhaps a fledgling from the fall of 2011 when I captured these portraits. Females are reported to not have the black lines down the side of the body.

Black-throated Green Warbler (Setophaga virens)

A Black-throated Green Warbler will heartily and tirelessly sing his “zoo-zee, zoo-zoo-zee” over and again while courting and even throughout the entire period of rearing his young. He may alter the notes from time to time depending on his intention, for singing, besides being used to woo and express joy, is also a warning to other males that might enter into his claimed territory. While singing, his mate will be busy building their twiggy nest and lining it with bits of spider silk, moss and grass. 

Black-throated Green Warbler (Setophaga virens)

Eyeing my camera eyeing himself, a Black-throated Green Warbler cautiously looks my way and exhibits his fine white breast and underbelly with the black lines drawn down his sides.

Black-throated Green Warbler (Setophaga virens)

There is a determination in his gaze towards where I perch in my barn studio.

Black-throated Green Warbler (Setophaga virens)

He decides to come closer to check me out or is this a sort of sortie . . . as the Black-throated Green Warblers are known to be somewhat aggressive towards other birds within their range.

Black-throated Green Warbler (Setophaga virens)

I believe he is more curious about me and somewhat trusting or tame to come so close. The Black-throated Green Warbler is also known to be somewhat confiding. Peeking out from behind a Lilac leaf the medium sized warbler is heedful in observing me.

Black-throated Green Warbler (Setophaga virens)

Within a couple of seconds the little fellow throws off his cover and with true pluck alights right out in front of me.

Black-throated Green Warbler (Setophaga virens)

Not sure what to make of me with my large black eye . . . he turns his head this way and that.

Black-throated Green Warbler (Setophaga virens)

Finally he just remains perched for a bit until content that I am not a passerine or of much interest and begins to probe the brown edged leaves of the Lilac bush.

The Black-throated Green Warblers are all well on route to their over-wintering sites and may be sighted moving through most of the eastern half of the United States beginning the middle of August to mid September. They will spend the winter months scattered throughout parts of coastal Mexico, Central America and the upper most edge of South America. Others will choose to rest for the winter along the lowest tip of Florida and the islands.

At this time of leaving . . . leaves falling, geese flying south honking their farewells and colors of autumn afire across the hillsides, forest, fields and gardens of Flower Hill Farm . . . all the warblers that spent spring and summer here in our habitat have most likely made it to the southern reaches of the eastern United States. Perhaps you may see one in your garden. I look forward to their return when spring revisits our land.

 

© 2013, Carol Duke. All rights reserved. This article is the property of Native Plants and Wildlife Gardens. If you are reading this at another site, please report that to us

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About Carol Duke

Carol Duke is an artist and farmer, who has given much of the last thirty years to caring for her twenty-one acre hillside farm in Western Massachusetts. Her greatest joy in working with the land has been to see how her farm has become home to a diverse community of wildlife. Through her blog Flower Hill Farm, Carol shares the beauty of living closely with nature and how with careful consideration of conservation and only using organic practices, while being a steward to the land, one can create a true sanctuary for native flora and fauna.  Her facebookand twitter pages are used mostly for action alerts to inspire activism towards protecting wild places and wildlife the world over. Flower Hill Farm has also become a Retreat for guests visiting the area from all over the world.

Comments

  1. Karen says:

    Thanks for brightening an otherwise soggy, rainy day in the DC area! The pix are wonderful.

    Reply
  2. Marilyn says:

    Agree with Karen. It’s a dark, rainy day in my part of the country as well, and this little fellow has certainly brightened it up. Thanks so much!

    Reply

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