September 2018 Bird Photo of the Month

Hey Dude, get off my property!  Prairie Warbler & Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
© Reinhard Geisler 09 Homestead near Orlando Wetlands Park                                                                                    Nikon D7000, 600.0 mm f/4.0, ISO 400, 600 mm, 1/250, f/8

Brave and Courageous!

Such a feisty tiny bird, the Blue-gray Gnatcatcher is!  Often in springtime, they defend their nesting territory, though they have been known to steal nesting material from other’s nests, perhaps causing a ruckus in the first place.  Here, the Gnatcatcher is not about to let the Prairie Warbler to take one step closer!  Male and female gnatcatchers often initially patrol the perimeter of their nesting area together.  Letting all forest creatures know this is their space.

One of our tiniest birds (4 inches long, a tail half its length) is light as a sheet of paper.  Its erect tail is a sign of its readiness to fight, perhaps trying to enhance its ferociousness!  I think it is one of our bravest little birds, not hesitating when other birds recoil.  One day a Red-shouldered Hawk came to alight in the top of the bare pine tree, the one in which the Red-bellied Woodpeckers had built their nest, so they were aroused, as well as the Blue Jays that cried out in surrounding trees in the forest alerting all that a predator was nearby.  The cardinals were a twitter too.  But it was the littlest among them, the brave Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher, calling out in its loudest voice, flitting from branch to branch on one side of the bare tree, from one branch then another, up and down.  The hawk sat there and tried to ignore it. But the gnatcatcher worked its way upwards toward it. Then, suddenly flew high and dived bombed the hawk, striking the top of its head with its tiny, yet sharply pointed beak!  The hawk twitched and shrugged it off. Each time the gnatcatcher returned hitting its mark.  Finally, the hawk flew off.  The little Blue-gray Gnatcatcher had saved the day. 

Juanita Baker, Coordinator
Florida Bird Photo of the Month
Pelican Island Audubon Society

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