Saturday, September 3, 2016

Yellow Warbler

Chances are that this male Yellow Warbler wintered somewhere between coastal, Mexico and the jungles of Bolivia, Peru, or Brazil. Only scattered winter records exist for the United States. I found this spring migrant near Northfield on 10 May 2016.

In Aberdeen, South Dakota, I often banded Yellow Warblers. I never had one recovered during the winter, but twice I retrapped birds I banded the previous year. I find it remarkable that a small bird like this can find its way back to the same backyard where it nested.

Yellow Warblers prefer to breed in willow patches in wetlands. This sort of habitat is where I took this photograph. Destruction of willow patches, for farming, grazing, or landscape development, can have a negative effect on Yellow Warbler populations. The species is also vulnerable to parasitism by cowbirds. Some populations have declined by 50% since the 1980s (Lowther et al. 1999).

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