Photo of the Week - June 10, 2011

Female Common Yellowthroat warbler with insects
preparing to feed her young while perching on a Pacific Ninebark bush.

 Common Yellowthroat warbler
Geothlypis trichas

Black River
Littlerock, Washington
June 10, 2011

While the male of the species is familiar to many birders, with its "wich-i-ty, wich-i-ty, wich-i-ty" call and dramatic yellow and black coloring, the female Common Yellowthroat warbler is harder to see. Her drab coloring and quiet nature make her hard to spot in the dense green foliage of spring.

There are several things which impressed me about this photo; the first is to see how tiny the bird is when compared to the buds of the ninebark bush. When in full bloom, the ninebark blossoms measure between 2 and 3 inches; Yellowthroat warblers average between 4.25 and 5 inches. Pretty amazing that such a tiny bird is able to migrate to Mexico and back. The other thing that impresses me about the photo is how she is able to capture flying insects in her beak and then bring them back to feed her young.

The streamside thicket where I observed this beautiful bird provides nesting habitat or many pairs of Yellowthroat warblers.

To read more about the life of the Common Yellowthroat warbler,
go to All About Birds -the Cornell Lab of ornithology's great website

To learn more about Pacific nine bark and other native plants you may want to consider for your garden,
check out Portland's native plant guide