Species highlight – Black-throated Green Warbler

Black-throated Green Warbler (Dendroica virens)

Black-throated Green Warbler (Dendroica virens)

The Black-throated Green Warbler is a small migrant warbler in the Dendroica genus. They breed across all of the southern Canadian provinces (more common in the east) and across most of the northeastern United States from Wisconsin eastward. Their breeding range extends southward at higher elevations along the Appalachian Mountains reaching NW Georgia and northern Alabama. Their buzzy “Zho, Zheee, zho, zhee, Zheet!” song is a familiar and welcomed late spring & summer treat in these areas.

Black-throated Green Warbler, male

Black-throated Green Warbler, male

In winter, some are found in southern most Florida in woodlots through the Everglades but most migrate further south through Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, and down to northern most South America. In migration, birds like the male above are appreciated across the US east of the Rocky Mountains.

Three similar species are found in the United States. The most similar is the endangered Golden-cheeked Warbler (Dendroica chrysoparia) that nests on the Edwards Plateau in Texas and looks most similar with a dark black crown, nape, and back. Through the mountainous western United States the Townsend’s Warbler shows a pronounced dark ear patch (or auriculars) and is more yellow beneath/ And finally pinned to the west coast you will find Hermit Warbler (Dendroica occidentalis) with its bold bright yellow face and stark white underparts.

The first Black-throated Green Warbler detected on the big year was at High Island, Texas in my first full week of my grand adventure during the Galveston Featherfest (April 14, 2013). The individual photographed above was appreciated at the Biggest Week in American Birding on Mother’s Day (May 12, 2013). These birds were a wonderfully common sight throughout that event!