Bird of the Week

Photo courtesy Charles Martinez

This week’s Bird of the Week, compliments of the Weminuche Audubon Society and Audubon Rockies, is the yellow warbler.
The yellow warbler is one of the most colorful and widely distributed of the 50 or so warbler species that migrate from Central and South America to breed across North America. Typically about 6 inches long with a wingspan of 6 to 8 inches, warblers are among the smallest and most beautiful birds that grace our forests, grasslands and wetlands in the late spring and through the summer months. Because they feed primarily on insects, yellow warblers and their cousins seldom appear at backyard bird feeders, so you need to explore their favored riparian and wetland habitats to view them.
True to its name, the male yellow warbler is bright yellow with vertical rust or red-colored streaks on its breast. The female is less colorful, lighter yellow on her back and a light yellow breast that lacks the streaks seen in the male. Their song is recognizable as a repeated variation on the phrase “sweet-sweet-sweet-I’m so sweet.”
Favoring cottonwood and willow woodlands along streams and wetlands, yellow warblers are commonly seen high in the trees or shrubs seeking out caterpillars and other insects. They begin laying eggs soon after they arrive in their summer breeding grounds, as early as mid-May here.
Habitat destruction, pollution and the use of pesticides threaten yellow warblers in some areas, but their populations rebound quickly when their native habitat is allowed to recover from disturbance.
For information on local bird-watching events, visit and