Ash-throated Flycatchers Nesting in a Natural Cavity



Ash-throated Flycatcher (Myiarchus cinerascens)

Ash-throated Flycatchers (Myiarchus cinerascens) migrate to Northern California from Mexico and Central America every Spring to nest.

They are cavity nesting birds and I one of the species that nest in my birdhouses every year. Every May I look forward to waking up in the morning hearing that sweet gurgling call.

The gathering of nest material and actual nest construction is done probably entirely or mostly by the female Ash-throated Flycatcher seen below (click on photos for full sized images). How do I know that the bird pictured below is the female?

Because I watched her for quite some time as she flew back and forth to a nearby farm and brought back nesting material while the male gave his encouragement from a nearby perch.

Female Ash-throated Flycatcher (Myiarchus cinerascens)

Female Ash-throated Flycatcher (Myiarchus cinerascens)

Here she is at the cavity entrance.

Nearly every time she brought in nesting material (as you will see in the video below) she would hesitate on coming out of the cavity and look around for a bit before taking off for more material.

In one instance a juvenile female Acorn Woodpecker inadvertently perched briefly on the same snag while the female Ash-throated Flycatcher was inside the cavity and the male was perched above in the same snag.

Female Ash-throated Flycatcher (Myiarchus cinerascens)

The Ash-throated Flycatcher pair immediately and aggressively attacked the woodpecker, chasing her off in quick order.

Juvenile Female Acorn Woodpecker

They then went back to the business of building their nest. The male Ash-throated Flycatcher following the female around during this nest building activity, apparently guarding his mate and singing to her.

In the short video below you will hear the male singing to his mate around the 53 second mark as she flies by him on the way to gathering more nesting material. And she brings back a huge load on the next trip, looking as if she is exhausted. If you love birds and you want to experience more great bird photos, you have to check out !

For more more up to the minute news on bird conservation issues, check my “Birds in the News” page, brought to you by the American Bird Conservancy. You will also find posts on local birds and birding in California on my blog The Birder’s Report.

Larry Jordan

Larry Jordan

Larry Jordan is an avid birder and amateur photographer living on the Pacific Flyway near the Central Valley of Northern California. He is a board member of his local Audubon Society and is a bird and wildlife conservationist. Larry contributes to several wildlife conservation organizations and is a BirdLife International "Species Champion." He is also Habitat Manager for the Burrowing Owl Conservation Network, an organization dedicated to the protection and restoration of the Western Burrowing Owl population in the United States. Larry has been blogging about birds since September of 2007 at TheBirdersReport.com

Larry Jordan

Larry Jordan

Larry Jordan is an avid birder and amateur photographer living on the Pacific Flyway near the Central Valley of Northern California. He is a board member of his local Audubon Society and is a bird and wildlife conservationist. Larry contributes to several wildlife conservation organizations and is a BirdLife International "Species Champion." He is also Habitat Manager for the Burrowing Owl Conservation Network, an organization dedicated to the protection and restoration of the Western Burrowing Owl population in the United States. Larry has been blogging about birds since September of 2007 at TheBirdersReport.com

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Steven Scott

Great post.