If you see a flash of black and blue flying through the woods of Michigan in the spring, you might have seen this week’s #BirdoftheWeek, the Black-throated Blue Warbler! This bird is one of the more easily identifiable warbler species that migrates through Michigan every spring from its wintering grounds in the Caribbean to its breeding grounds in the northeastern US and southeastern Canada. The male has a black throat and face, slate blue head and back, and white belly with a white square on the wings while the female is usually olive or gray overall to help her camouflage during nesting season. Not as shy as other warblers and relatively large compared to most, the Black-throated Blue Warbler can be found in the dense shrubby understory of a forest. It forages for spiders and insects such as caterpillars and flies on the underside of leaves and can be seen searching for food in the same shrub for several minutes at a time, unlike many other warbler species that tend to fly rapidly from tree to tree. This warbler is typically only seen in southeast Michigan for a few weeks each spring while it bulks up on high-protein insects in preparation for breeding further north.
May is the best time to see this beautiful black and blue warbler in southeast Michigan, so grab your binoculars and bird field guide and head out to one of your Metroparks for the opportunity to view this amazing warbler. Happy birding!
Click here to listen to the Black-throated Blue Warbler’s unique “I am so lazzzy” song.