News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Sisters Country birds - 10/21/2020

The Common Yellowthroat [Geothlypis trichas] is a warbler that inhabits many environs, from low swamps to 6,000-foot-elevation streams. Its “witchity, witchity, witchity” call can be heard all along Central Oregon rivers. One of the first warblers to arrive in spring, it behaves in a wren-like fashion as it flits about through low vegetation.

The male displays to the female during courtship by flicking wings and tail, following her closely, and performing a flight display, flying up to 25 to 100 feet in the air and returning to another low perch, calling and singing. A low-lying nest is built and three to six creamy black spotted eggs are laid and incubated for 12 days and the young fledge in 8-10 days. Often two broods are raised during the summer.

Their diet is mostly insects: grasshoppers; dragonflies; damselflies; mayflies; beetles; grubs; cankerworms; and other caterpillars. The Common Yellowthroat was one the earliest described birds during the European human migration. Originally named the Maryland Yellowthroat, its genus name, Geothlypis, means ground finch which helps to describe its feeding habits.

Warblers are referred to as a “wrench,” “bouquet,” “confusion,” or a “fall” of warblers. For more Common Yellowthroat photos visit


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