Bird of the Week

Named after a English botanist, Anna Blackburne, this warbler sports a brilliant orange throat and a strong black and white pattern that is without rival in the warbler world. In his book Washington in Spring, RCC President Bob Musil writes “…a burst of color flashes somewhere far above my head. I lift my binoculars nearly vertical…I see nothing but an eyeful of magnified, far-off leaves. Then out of nowhere a sudden tiny burst of orange flame appears.”

You will find these warblers high in the tree canopy during summer, though like many warblers, they are difficult to see amongst the leaves. Listen for the buzzing song of the male with its high ending note.

They are found in the Eastern half of the U.S. during summer and migrate twice yearly to South America’s open forests, favoring shade-grown coffee plantations.

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Blackburnian Warbler Fun Facts

Greenland, Iceland, Scotland, and the Azores off western Africa have recorded “vagrants.”

They are the only North American warbler with an orange throat.

Blackburnian Warblers engage in  sensational territorial conflicts that resemble an aerial ballet.

98% of their diet consists of insects.

Blackburnian Warblers have been greatly affected by habitat loss.

Females build the nests and both parents raise the hatchlings.

They feed the young every 10 to 20 minutes.

Nesting behavior is not well known, mostly because nests are high and hard to observe.

Click here to listen to the Blackburnian’s buzzing song.

Click here to watch one taking a bath.