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warblers

Warblers
» Length: 4 inches
» Small, active, insect-eating bird
» Thin, pointed bill
» Mostly yellow plumage
» Upperparts greenish-yellow
» Greenish-yellow wings and tail with yellow feather edges
» Plain yellow face with yellow eye ring surrounding dark eye
» Yellowish legs
» Adult male:Plumage golden yellow
Rusty streaks on breast and flanks
» Female and immature:Plain yellow plumage Streaks on breast absent or barely noticeable. Some birds have pale gray wash to plumage (southwestern United States)

In the eastern United States, Yellow Warblers use a variety of moist habitats including old fields; overgrown pasture; woodland edges; hedgerows; the borders of swamps, ponds, and bogs; and streamsides. In the West, most are restricted to riparian habitats, and in the Southwest these warblers have declined as this habitat type decreases. Characteristics of good Yellow Warbler habitat include concealing cover for nesting, tall singing posts, and feeding areas in trees. Willow, alder, and elderberry are typical plants. Yellow Warblers use an earlier successional stage than the closely related Chestnut-sided Warbler (D. pensylvanica), and they are found typically in lowland habitat, rather than the upland habitat preferred by Chestnut-sided Warblers. When they hold adjacent territories, Yellow and Chestnut-sided warblers countersing. Soon after arriving on their nesting grounds, Yellow Warbler males establish territories by singing their familiar musical song, Sweet sweet sweet, I'm so very sweet. The female builds the nest and incubates the eggs. While on the nest, she is fed by the male. Yellow Warblers, which are often parasitized by Brown-headed Cowbirds (as many as 40 percent of nests in some studies), have evolved a strategy to cope with unwanted eggs. When two or more cowbird eggs are laid in a nest, Yellow Warblers build a "floor" over the unwanted eggs so they are insulated from incubation and begin again. If a nest already contains two or more Yellow Warbler eggs, the parents will usually hatch them together with the additional cowbird eggs. Multiple-storied Yellow Warbler nests have been recorded: two-story nests are not uncommon, and nests with as many as six stories have been found. Evidence shows that Yellow Warblers that nest in swamps with a substantial Red-winged Blackbird population suffer less from cowbird parasitism, as the Red-wings exclude the cowbirds from the area.
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