Blue-Gray Gnatcatchers

Randy L. Schoff shared this terrific shot of a blue-gray gnatcatcher family in its typical lichen-camouflaged nest at the Spicer Lake Nature Reserve in New Carlisle, Indiana.

Blue-gray gnatcatchers (photo by Randy L. Schoff)

Blue-grays are the northernmost gnatcatchers (most other gnatcathers live in Central and South America) and their range has shifted 200 miles farther north over the last quarter century because of rising temperatures. A couple of fun facts: Gnats don't actually make up much of the diet of blue-gray gnatcatchers, and the birds are sometimes forced to build as many as seven nests in breeding season because of predators, parasitism and mites. Blue-gray gnatcatchers are tiny and often flutter around high in trees catching insects, so seeing one is a treat. Many thanks, Randy!