• Three kayakers enjoying the river.

    Chattahoochee River

    National Recreation Area Georgia

Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

Alan Vernon

The Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (Polioptila caerulea) is a small bird, measuring at about 4.5 inches long with a wingspan of 6 inches. It is common in wet, deciduous woods and thickets, and is generally a solitary bird. It moves briskly through upper- to middle-level twigs, searching for its meal of small insects, insect eggs and larvae, and spiders. The tiny cup-nest is constructed of plant fibers, down, and spider-web and is lined with finer materials then covered with bits of lichen, saddled on horizontal branches or in the fork of a tree 2-80 feet above the ground. Although small in size, the Blue-gray Gnatcatcher has a long, conspicusous black and white tail that is often flicked from side to side, reminiscent of a mockingbird, a pale blue-gray back, and a white eye-ring. Its song is a series of thin, wheezy grasshopper-like notes interspersed with high chips and slurs.

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