Common Yellowthroat Visit

Last Updated on October 9, 2020 by Nancie

Juvenile Male Common Yellowthroat hunts bugs in herb garden
Juvenile Male Common Yellowthroat in the Sage

Yesterday, a juvenile Common Yellowthroat unexpectedly visited my yard. Here in Maryland, we are at the very end of the annual fall warbler migration. There are still a few stragglers around. But most have already passed through on their way to warmer winter quarters well to the south.

Yesterday though, I was sitting on my back step watching birds and came across this little Common Yellowthroat. He had faint black patches on his cheeks, so I think he is a juvenile male who hasn’t gotten his full dark black mask yet.

Juvenile Male Common Yellowthroat in the Fall Herb Garden
Juvenile Male Common Yellowthroat in the Fall Herb Garden

This cute little guy was poking around in my herb garden about ten feet from my back step. I got a close view of his antics.

At first glance I assumed he was one of the many little American Goldfinches who have been extra busy in my yard recently. Goldfinches nest late. So there are still some fledglings begging with their non-stop be-peep demand for food, keeping their parents very busy. But when I took a closer look at the bird poking around in what is left of my collard greens, I realized it was a warbler.

Young Male Common Yellowthroat Hunting Insects in the Collards
Young Male Common Yellowthroat Hunting Insects in the Collards

Common Yellowthroats Lower Down

You might think of warblers as tiny little birds flitting around way up high in treetops. That does describe quite a lot of them. But some do search for insects lower down. This little guy was very welcome to eat the insects (tiny caterpillars I think) that decimated my collards, leaving not much beyond the stems and leaf veins.

He was actually perched within the collard plants, using the veins like branches, flitting around on and under them. He seemed to find a lot to eat. While he poked around in the rest of my herb garden, he kept returning to the more productive hunting grounds of the collards.

Common Yellowthroat Heads South

This juvenile Common Yellowthroat stuck around for at least an hour or so after I spotted him. He didn’t leave until one of the neighborhood feral cats sauntered down the path right towards him. That is when I stood up to head off the cat and the warbler moved on.

I imagine he is probably now many miles south, on his way to the southern U.S. or Mexico. If he comes through next spring, he’ll probably have his handsome black mask in place.

An Adult Male Common Yellowthroat at Patuxent in April
An Adult Male Common Yellowthroat We Saw at Patuxent This April

To learn more about Common Yellowthroats, check out All About Birds’ Common Yellowthroat page.


Juvenile Male Common Yellowthroat in a weedy patch
Juvenile Male Common Yellowthroat Peeking Through the Brush

Learn More About Maryland Backyard Birds

Maryland Backyard Birds

Spring Backyard Birds

Summer Backyard Birds

Winter Backyard Birds: Birds in a Winter Storm

Backyard Birds on a Damp Day

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