Hey guys, welcome back! Today, one of the most common and widespread of the North American warblers, the yellow warbler. Wintering in Central America, the yellow warbler has a large breeding range which includes the northern two-thirds of the US, and nearly all of Canada, from the Atlantic to the Pacific! The yellow warbler is, yes yellow. They are nearly entirely yellow, with darker, nearly olive backs. The male has orangish streaks on his breast which are mostly visible in the spring. In non-breeding season they can be confused with Wilson’s and hooded warblers, but those other warblers have a little white on their tails or underneath.
Yellow warblers were somewhat of a nemesis of mine. They are quite common, and when I lived in NYC, I’d see them everywhere. They’re one of the few warblers that actually nest in Central Park. One of their favorite places to hang out is in a willow tree near water. The Harlem Meer, located at the north end of Central Park, is lined with weeping willows, and once you learn the yellow warblers song (some use the mnemonic “sweet sweet sweet, little bit sweet”), you realize they’re everywhere. However, they love being at the top of the trees, and for the longest time, I was never been able to find a photogenic one. That’s how it goes, I suppose. Finally I got a decent picture of one just before I left St. Louis (seen at the top of this post) and a couple others here in Ohio, where they breed and are plentiful!
Yellow warblers are really good “starter” warblers in that they are relatively easy to identify, particularly in spring when they are in breeding plumage, they’ll be the only all yellow bird you’ll see. And once you get used to seeing these guys, you’ll get used to spotting small yellow birds, and that will make your warbler-spotting skills even stronger! Join me next time when we take a break from the warblers and check out the belted kingfisher! See you then!
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