SPECIES SPOTLIGHT: YELLOW WARBLER
Spring has sprung! As we shake off the cold and welcome in warmer weather, I thought I’d share a story and photos of one of my favorite neotropical springtime visitors. The Yellow Warbler!
Each year I visit The Biggest Week in American Birding Festival along the northwest shores of Lake Erie. This year, I’m delighted to be doing so while representing Wildside, so be sure to look for me and talk my ear off. I’m always up for a conversation about conservation, photography, and birds! As I drive into the area, usually early in the morning of the first day, I always leave my windows down. I haven’t truly arrived until I have heard that beautiful, SWEET, song of the Yellow Warbler. Then I can smile and rest a little easier in my seat, because at that point the rest of the world falls away and I feel at home.
Yellow Warblers are easily one of the most recognizable of the more than 50 species of warbler that inhabit or move through the United States each year. It’s breeding range and habitats are widespread, and it’s song is almost instantly recognizable. Locating these birds is usually not a difficult thing to do, with their bright plumage. Yellow Warblers are restless feeders, and will hop from branch to branch turning over leaves and hanging upside down to find it’s food. They eat caterpillars, spiders, and other small bugs that make homes in the trees.
Yellow Warblers rarely build nests more than ten feet off of the ground, but occasionally will. Their nests are one of the most often parasitized nests for Brown-headed Cowbirds. When this happens, the Yellow Warbler usually starts to build a new nest directly on top of their current one, abandoning their own eggs as well as the cowbird’s eggs. As many as six nests have been observed on top of each other during a breeding season!
Another reason the Yellow Warbler is a favorite, is that it’s such an amazing gateway bird to introduce new people into birding with. Being so widespread, and so easily seen, makes this striking bird a shoe-in to get folks really interested in birding!
In just a short month, the Wildside team will be gathering at The Biggest Week in American Birding Festival, guiding trips and tours, mingling along the boardwalk, and greeting folks at our booth in the evenings before the socials, and we would love to see you there. Keep an eye out for exciting announcements in relation to the festival, we’ll be announcing a wonderful contest in the coming days! Directly following the festival, we have our Magee Marsh and Kirtland’s Warbler tour. While we are currently full this year, I encourage you to stop by the booth to talk to Kevin or one of our other awesome staff members to ask about availability for next year. This one sells out quick!
Until next time folks, good birding and HAPPY SPRING!
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