Bird Observer: The Birding Journal for New England

Bird Observer

The Birding Journal for New England

August 2017

Vol. 45, No. 4

Photo Essay: Common Yellowthroat Courtship and Mating Display

Eric Swanzey

While birding at Acadia National Park in Maine on June 2, 2017, I was fortunate to witness the courtship and mating display of a pair of Common Yellowthroats (Geothlypis trichas) at Sieur de Monts Spring. The display lasted mere seconds and might easily have been missed. It was one of those mornings when the air was so still that even a light wing flutter could be heard, the tipoff that something unusual was about to happen.

Note: high resolution images - single or entire series - can be downloaded from the links at the bottom of this page.


1. The female takes position while also observing the male that is above and out of the frame. All photographs Copyright 2017 by Eric Swanzey.


2. The female signals the male and calls out to him.


3. The male swoops in from above.


4. The male positions himself while the female keeps her steady posture.


5. The male vocalizes.


6. The male completes his task.


7. The male retreats while the female holds position.


8. The male swoops across the female’s field of view.


9. The male vocalizes one final time.


10. The female prepares to depart.


11. The male hops to a nearby branch and provides a final display.


12. The male resumes his typical form and habit.

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