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 here (click on photos for full sized images).
How do I know that the bird pictured above 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. 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.
The Ash-throated Flycatcher pair immediately and aggressively attacked the woodpecker, chasing her off in quick order.
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 this short video 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 World Bird Wednesday!