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Black-throated Blue Warblers Incubating Second Brood

8-1-14 -female black-throated blue warbler on nest 054Male and female Black-throated Blue Warblers differ strikingly in appearance, so much so that the two sexes were considered separate species by early naturalists, including John J. Audubon. While the male is a brilliant blue, the female is dull gray which makes her practically invisible when she’s on a nest.

Black-throated Blue Warblers have anywhere from one to three broods in a summer, the first usually in June, a second, if there is one, in July and rarely a third in late July or early August. The nest is usually within three feet of the ground, and is built out of thin strips of birch bark and bits of rotten wood bound together by cobwebs and saliva. Fibers, rootlets, needles and mammalian hair line the nest. Female Black-throated Blue Warblers are known for sitting tightly on a nest until a potential threat is very close, at which point they drop to the ground, and, similar to Killdeer, engage in a distraction display, feigning injury to their wing.

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6 responses

  1. Kathie Fiveash

    How lovely.

    July 31, 2014 at 1:39 pm

  2. Thank you for this.

    July 31, 2014 at 4:20 pm

  3. Great capture. She looks so sweet sitting there on her nest. I am glad to learn of the many broods and love the distraction strategy.

    July 31, 2014 at 4:32 pm

  4. Alex Medlicott

    This question has nothing to do with the Black Throated Blue Warbler. Does anyone know what changing pond conditions contribute to freshwater leech decline? Twenty five years ago, we regularly pulled them off ourselves and our (hysterically screaming) kids. Haven’t seen any for several years now. The pond shoreline is virtually uninhibited. The water quality seems unchanged. Curiously, we see a lot more snails on the bottom. What’s going on?

    August 1, 2014 at 12:56 am

    • Afraid I can’t answer your question, Alex, but hopefully someone who reads it can. Cannot find anything regarding a declining leech population, nor a growing snail population, but they are both possible. Will keep my ears open for information. Mary

      August 1, 2014 at 10:08 pm

      • Alex Medlicott

        Thank you so much, Mary. We’ll hope someone has an answer or a good reference. Keep up all your good work. Your fans, Alex and Kristi

        August 2, 2014 at 12:42 am

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