One Thing in Common

6-4-2019 aThe birds I see with the greatest frequency here in D.C. are American robins. I see them all year round too – they are permanent residents. Even though I see robins on a daily basis, I never have any idea if the robin I am looking at is a male or a female. They look exactly the same to my eye, though my understanding is that the females are slightly paler than the males.

Some birds are like that – the males and females look almost the same. But many birds are sexually dimorphic and there are differences between the sexes that are obvious.

Hector and I decided to go explore Fletcher’s Cove early Saturday morning. Quite a few folks were already there when we arrived. Some kayaked, some fished, and some were birding, just like us.

We were absolutely thrilled when we saw a black-throated blue warbler perched on a tree branch on the edge of the cove. I was immediately able to see that the bird was male. Male and female black-throated blue warblers do not look alike.

The males have black throats, black faces, and are a bright-blue color on the tops of their heads and down their backs. Their tummies are white.  The females are a dull greenish-brown color with yellowish-white bellies.

As far as I know I have never seen a female black-throated blue warbler, but I cannot say for sure. Since the females are less flashy than the males, it seems like I may have seen one and not realized it.

When I got home from our walk to Fletcher’s Cove, I looked black-throated blue warblers up in my birding field guide to refresh my memory regarding what the females look like.  I learned that the males and females have one plumage thing in common: they each have a white patch on their wings. This white patch will help me identify a female if I am ever lucky enough to see one. I’ll keep my eyes peeled and let you know if I do!

Bernice6-4-2019 b

3 responses to “One Thing in Common”

  1. Hi, Bernice. Good looking fellow that black throated blue warbler! Maybe I will color my spots “blue” and wear a black turtleneck (but only in the fall and winter) and tell people I am a friend of the male black throated blue warbler. Bet people would be surprised!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: