Friday, May 25, 2012

Black-throated Gray Wobbler

Black-throated Gray Wobbler
Black-throated Gray Wobbler

Last weekend I stumbled upon a single Black-throated Gray Wobbler in Campbell River, a Vancouver Island town that is prime habitat for many different species of feral shopping carts.

Like the very similar Green-throated Gray Wobbler, this is a cart that can be fairly secretive for most of the year and very difficult to find. You're more likely to see this species in the spring when it moves into more open areas during rutting season.

Note the black decorative plumes on the right side of the male cart in the photograph below. Typically males of this species will have plumes on both sides of the basket. When competing for available females, jostling males will often lose plumes in the violent contest for a mate. More attractive, stronger males retain more of their plumes, and thus are more desirable to females.

An older Black-throated Gray Wobbler
that didn't fair too well in this spring's rut.

On the edges of established breeding territories you'll find the less successful males. This older male had retreated from the main arena, a little worse for wear after an encounter with a younger cart.

Listen for the clashing of the baskets and the low rumbling moan of the wheels of these rutting Black-throated Gray Wobblers in the quieter areas of small towns and cities on Vancouver Island this spring. It is a spectacle like no other.

No comments: