The blue-gray gnatcatcher nests in deciduous habitats, typically near water, across most of the eastern United States, the Pacific Southwest, and Mexico. During the winter they migrate from the northern sections of the breeding range, most of the US except the southern sections of the gulf states, down into the neotropical regions of North and Central America, including Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean.
The center of Minnesota is about as far north as these birds go. That means that this one that I photographed at the Carpenter Nature Center is one of the hardy ones. With a lot of deciduous trees lining the bluffs that lead down to the St Croix River this is perfect breeding territory for these small birds. During the summer there are a plenty of insects in the woods and down by the river for them to eat. Adults often flick their tail from side to side to flush insects from their hiding spots. This youngster was still too you to try this trick though. He got his food the old fashioned way, crying until mom or dad shows up with take out.