Connecticut Audbon Society

Spring migratory birds: Black-throated Green Warbler

Black-throated Green Warbler photographed on River Road, Kent CT, May 2020. © C.S. Wood

Black-throated Green Warbler
Setophaga virens

They haven’t arrived quite yet but you’ll be hearing them soon.

by Christopher S. Wood
April 29, 2022 — One of the perils of birding is the affliction known as “warbler neck.” And Black-throated Green Warblers (Setophaga virens) are adept at causing it.

From high in the pines or hemlocks of our Connecticut woodlands, the distinctive, buzzy “zee, zee, zee zoozee” (or “See, See, See Suzie”) song of the Black-throated Green advertises its presence and invites prolonged studies through binoculars until 1) the bird is spotted or 2) your neck gives out.

But the eventual observation of this relatively common and widespread Connecticut breeder is worth the effort, as is the case with most of our warblers.

Its bright gold face stands out against the deep green of the trees it frequents and its vitality shows through its active, and effective, gleaning of (mostly) caterpillars.

As with most of the warblers, early spring does often provide opportunities for closer looks, as hungry migrants more or less ignore birders while they recover from their overnight flight.

Black-throated Green at White Memorial, Litchfield, May 2020. © C.S. Wood

Nesting season, though, finds Black-throated Greens farther north among the evergreens, at places like Whittemore Sanctuary in Woodbury, White Memorial in Litchfield, and Steep Rock Reservation in Washington.

They are another of the many birds that rely on relatively unfragmented forest blocks, highlighting the importance of protecting such places as development and climate change affect habitat availability.

Christopher S. Wood, of Woodbury, has been contributing bird articles and photographs to Connecticut Audubon since 2017.






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