A Black-throated Blue Warbler in our Garden

black-throated blue warbler, male, toronto, pic 1

One day in early May, as I returned home from doing some errands, I found Bob tied up on the telephone.  He no sooner hung up the receiver but what he declared, “there’s a new bird in our back apple tree!”  It turned out to be a male Black-throated Blue Warbler.

black-throated blue warbler, male, toronto, pic 5

Promptly grabbing the binoculars, I hoped for a glimpse of the songbird myself.  Having just flown from its wintering grounds in the Caribbean or Central America, the bird required a lot of nourishment so continued to glean insects from the fresh green growth on the newly budded tree.

black-throated blue warbler, male, toronto, pic 6

It is characteristic for a Black-throated Blue Warbler to concentrate its foraging in a fairly small area for minutes at a time, and my goodness, did this little wood warbler move quickly darting about and sometimes hovering briefly as it grabbed some small insect from the underside of a leaf.

black-throated blue warbler, male, toronto, pic 2

Bob and I were pleased when it came a little closer to the house.  We were shooting through the kitchen window, and when the Black-throated Blue Warbler lit in a birch tree, it afforded a slightly better view and sat where the light was a bit brighter.

black-throated blue warbler, male, toronto, pic 1

Black-throated Blue Warblers consume a variety of insects, spiders, caterpillars and moths, and despite the chillier than usual spring here in Ontario, such creatures were, themselves, beginning to emerge from hibernation.

black-throated blue warbler, male, toronto, pic 8

Our backyard is a bit of an oasis for migrating birds that pass through this neighborhood.  Centuries-old maple trees line a section of the street, and evergreen and deciduous trees that we have planted make our property bird-friendly, but we believe it is the splash of water in the fountain that conveys an open invitation to migrating birds that this is a good place to stop.  Here, the Black-throated Blue Warbler was coming in close to consider taking a bath.

black-throated blue warbler, male, toronto, pic 3

I was alarmed moments later when I heard the Black-throated Blue Warbler make contact with the neighbour’s bedroom window.  Being late in the afternoon, the glass surface acted like a mirror and perfectly reflected the branches of the birch and apple trees in our backyard.  He did not take a hard bump, but still, the warbler sat for a good 20 minutes huddled within the crown of our crabapple tree as it recuperated from the shock.

black-throated blue warbler, male, toronto, pic 9

I was so relieved when I saw the warbler move his head and begin to look around, then re-position itself before taking flight.  Then, it was right back into the birch tree to capture another insect.  This was our third time seeing one of these beautiful blue songbirds, and now we are on the lookout for one of the females.  Hopefully our garden proves irresistible enough to attract one in the coming days.

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