Added to my Birding Life List on December 20, 2011
Jonathan Dickinson State Park
Hobe Sound, Florida
I linked to PrairieBirder: http://PrairieBirder.Wordpress.com
Such a tiny little bird, only 4.25 inches! It looks like a very small mockingbird.
`Male has bluish-gray upper parts and the female is more gray
`White eye ring
`Long black tail with white outer feathers
The Blue-gray gnatcatcher feed entirely on insects, which it pursues actively through the foliage of tall trees. Catches insects in flight. May hover briefly above food before taking it in its bill.
Its nest is interesting, a small cup made up of plant fibers, down and decorated on the outside with bits of lichen. This lovely little bird can be spotted in woodlands, thickets and chaparral.
When breeding it is monogamous and is a solitary nester. Its eggs are incubated 13 days by both sexes, stays in nest for 10-12 days and fed by both sexes. They usually will have one brood per year maybe two in the far south.
**information above taken from Smithsonian handbooks, National Geographic Society, Birds of North America**
Conservation: neotropical migrant. Common victim of cowbird parasitism
Population: common, increasing with range expanding northeasterly
Neotropical Migrant – (noun) A bird that spends the summer in its breeding range in North America but migrates to Central or South America for its nonbreeding range in winter. The winter range may also include the Caribbean, and the general dividing line between breeding and nonbreeding ranges is the Tropic of Cancer at 23 degrees north latitude, though the entire range does not need to be either north or south of that division for the bird to be considered a neotropical migrant.
More than 200 species of birds are considered neotropical migrants, including at least a few species in most bird families. Many warblers,hummingbirds and shorebirds are neotropical migratory birds, as are some hawks and many other songbirds.
The exact distance and route of migration between breeding and nonbreeding ranges varies for each species, and migration time between the separate ranges may take anywhere from just a few weeks to several months. It is essential to conserve habitat not only in the birds’ different ranges, but also along principle migratory flyways so birds will have sufficient feeding and resting areas to successfully complete their journeys. (taken from the web, written by Melissa Mayntz.
I took these photos, on April 13, 2014, sitting in the coach with the window glass open and the screen pulled back; what a nice bird blind it made. This oak tree was not too far away and this little guy fluttered around catching insects for awhile. We were camped at South Llano River State Park in Junction, Texas.
It can be entertaining as well as educational!