Friday, August 6, 2010

Immature Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

This summer I have had the pleasure of watching, and photographing, nesting red-tailed hawks, bald eagles, peregrine falcons, merlin falcons and osprey, but there are more then just raptors which nest and raise their young here. The blue-gray gnatcatcher has the northern most breeding range of any gnatcatcher.
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.


KaHolly said...

Precious, precious bird! Well done. I wish I had the opportunity to go birding with someone who is in the know. I have lately come across different birds, esp. along the forest's edge, that I can't readily i.d., and they certainly are busy, making it difficult to photograph for later scrutiny! ~karen

rache said...

that's a great shot... nice that you knew the name of the birds. it must be a great adventure to photograph birds, hawks, eagles...

Shey said...

Aw, so cute and looks vulnerable. The other one is calling hard for mom or dad. Fantastic captures as always. A fun read too.

Happy weekend!

A Bear Sighting

Mary Howell Cromer said...

What cute chaps these are and it is as if they are singing, or speaking for you as you took these precious captures~