All posts by rmsallmanngmailcom

Ryan Sallmann has been involved with tennis for nine years as a player, coach, and writer. Ryan starting playing tennis at the age of 16 in high school in Wisconsin. He then went on to play for Wisconsin Lutheran College in route to helping them win their conference and secure a bid to the NCAA tournament. Ryan coached at Waukesha West High School, Waukesha Tennis Association, Milwaukee Tennis and Education Foundation, and Wisconsin Lutheran College. Ryan also writes for Stripe Hype and Brew Sports.

Grouse of Georgia (1 Species to Know)

Grouse are a particular group of game birds that are medium to large in size and are chicken-like in appearance. In North America, grouse have traditionally been hunted as a source of food, but to birders, they are desirable to find because of their unique qualities and beauty. While some grouse species are numerous, they can still prove to be elusive, and it’s always an adventure to try and find them.

In Georgie, there is one species that can be found in the state (the Ruffed Grouse). Here is everything you need to know about this species.

Ruffed Grouse

Ruffed Grouse (Pat Matthews Photo)
Identification

Ruffed Grouse male and females look similar in coloration with some slight differences. Overall, both males and females have a light-colored chest and underside, with dark and light brown barring and speckling. Their backs and wings are shades of brown with some white and darker markings mixed in. Ruffed Grouse have a crest on their head and during the breeding season, males will show black neck feathers as a display in addition to fanning their tails in a similar manor to a peacock.

Range

Ruffed Grouse can be found in the northern forests of North America. Their range encompasses most of Southern and Western Canada up into Alaska. In the United States, Ruffed Grouse live in the Midwest around the Great Lakes, in the Northeast, and some of the states in the Northwest such as Montana and Idaho, among others.

Diet and Foraging Behavior

Ruffed Grouse eat mostly plant matter with just a small amount of their diet consisting of insects. Typical fare for the Ruffed Grouse is leaves, buds, ferns, grass, acorns, fruits, and twigs of birch and aspen trees.

Where to Find this Bird

Ruffed Grouse can be very difficult to see as they live in dense woodlands and move very deliberately. Some of the best times to see them is during winter when they stand out more than in months when there isn’t snow. Another way to see Ruffed Grouse is by driving forest roads where they can sometimes be seen on the edge of the tree line of walking on the road, or by visiting a lek in the spring.

In researching which species of grouse live in Indiana I was surprised to stumble upon something of a controversy. Most recent reports of Ruffed Grouse in the state are from Yellowwood State Forest where there seemed to be a lot of debate over how many individual bids actually reside in the area. It seems that with enough searching the hardwood forests of Indiana they can be turned up but are very tough to find.

Summary

Grouse can be quite difficult to find, but they are certainly fascinating to see in the wild. If you are able to spot a grouse in Georgia, it will almost certainly be a Ruffed Grouse.

If you enjoyed this post, please give it a like and a comment. Also be sure to check out the Badgerland Birding YouTube Channel.

Egrets of Pennsylvania (3 Species to Know)

Egrets are elegant looking wading birds in the same family as herons. There are a four different species of egrets that live in the United States and 3 species that can be found in Pennsylvania.

Western Cattle Egret (Uncommon)

Cattle Egret
Identification

Cattle egrets are medium sized white birds with a yellow bill, yellow legs and feet, and yellowish green coloration behind their eye. Breeding adults have peach coloration on their head, wings, and underside while nonbreeding adults are pure white. 

Range

Cattle Egrets are actually native to Africa but at some point made their way over to South America and then eventually spread north into Central America, Mexico, and the United States. In the US, they can be found year round in the Gulf Coast and some of the Southwestern states. In spring, they migrate north and breed in the Southeastern United States as well as seemingly random other parts of the country. Some of these more strange breeding locations are parts of the Dakotas, Idaho, Oregon, Colorado, Wisconsin, and even parts of Southern Canada.

Diet and Foraging Habits

Cattle Egrets have a widely varied diet which includes small mammals, amphibians, lizards, and even other birds. The majority of their diet however, is comprised of insects. Cattle Egrets have a habit of spending time near heards of cattle that kick up insects such as crickets and grasshoppers as they graze. The Egrets will also forage near heavy machinery in farm fields for the same reason. This species will feed alone or in large groups.

Where to Find This Bird

Cattle Egrets can be found in open fields, typically near grazing cattle. They can also be found on the edges of marshes and swamps. Sometimes, extremely large numbers of Cattle Egrets gather together to forage or roost.

Great Egret

Great Egret
Identification

Great egrets are large heron-shaped birds with a long neck. They are pure white with black legs. a yellow bill, and green coloration from the bill to the eye. They can also have more of a yellowish color behind their eye. Out of all of the egret species that live in the state, the aptly named Great Egret is the largest.

Range

Great Egrets live in South and Central America year round. They are also year long residents of the coasts of Mexico, both the Gulf Coast and the East Coast of the United States, and parts of California. In spring, they migrate north and breed in parts of Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois and Missouri along with other states in the region in addition to parts of Oregon.

Diet and Foraging Habits

Great Egrets are wading birds which means they will walk in shallow water and search for food. Their preferred food sources are small fish, frogs, small mammals, aquatic invertebrates, and essentially any living creature that they can get down their throat.

Where to Find This Bird

Great Egrets can be found in places with slow moving or even standing water. They can be readily spotted standing on the edges of ponds, in shallow marshes, and in coastal estuaries. They are also common in man-made canals and in lakes.

Snowy Egret

Snowy Egret
Identification

Snowy Egrets are relatively small wading birds that are clean white with a black bill and black legs. They have yellow behind the bill and also have distinctive and noticeable yellow feet. They are significantly smaller than Great Egrets, so if the two are in the same vicinity, they are easy to tell apart based on size.

Range

Snowy Egrets are year round residents of South America, the Carribean Islands, Cuba, the coasts of Mexico, the Southwestern United States, The Gulf Coast, and the Southeastern Coast of the United States. Some of the population migrates north into the United States, most notably farther up the Atlantic Coast, and the Southwestern states. During migration, Snowy Egrets can be found in a wide variety of places in the United States including the Midwest.

Diet and Foraging Habits

Snowy Egrets feed primarily on aquatic creatures such as fish, frogs, and crustaceans among others. They will feed in both marine and freshwater environments, and typically catch prey by wading into the water and stirring up small creatures with their feet.

Where to Find This Bird

The best places to find Snowy Egrets are along ocean coastlines with shallow water. These birds can typically be seen wading into the water and searching for food. They can also be found inland in marshes and other places with shallow water and mudflats.

Summary

Egrets are quite beautiful birds that can be fun to observe as they go about their daily lives. Knowing the species that are expected in your state can be instrumental in identifying which one you’re looking at. Hopefully, this article has helped to answer some questions about the egrets of Pennsylvania.

If you enjoyed this post, please give it a like and a comment. Also be sure to check out the Badgerland Birding YouTube Channel

Bluebirds of Georgia (1 Species to Know)

Bluebirds are affable members of the thrush family named for their coloration. There are three species of bluebirds native to North America, and only one species that can be found in Georgia. Here is everything you need to know about that species.

Eastern Bluebird

Male Eastern Bluebird
Identification

Male Eastern Bluebirds have a sky blue back, wings, tail, and head. They have a reddish orange chest and underside as well as a very faint eye ring. Females have a grayish colored head with blue wings and a darker orange underside with a more noticeable eye ring. Both males and females have white on their underside near their legs.

Range

Eastern Bluebirds live year-round in parts of Mexico, Central America, and the Southeastern United States. In summer, many of them move north into the Northeastern United States and Southeastern Canada.

Diet and Foraging Habits

The diet of Eastern Bluebird varies depending on the time of the year. When insects are available, they make up an extremely large part of their diet. Other times of the year this species eats an array of fruits.

Where to Find This Bird

Eastern Bluebirds can be found around open spaces near edge habitat. Prairies, fields, and pastures are all places where this species can be found regularly in addition to more forested areas as well as around ponds.

Badgerland Birding searches for Eastern Bluebirds

Summary

Bluebirds are typically birds that people are happy to see. Knowing more about the species that are expected in your area can be instrumental in finding and identifying them. Hopefully, this article has helped to answer some questions about the bluebirds of Georgia.

If you enjoyed this post, please give it a like and a comment. Also be sure to check out the Badgerland Birding YouTube Channel

Vireos of Pennsylvania (6 Species to Know)

Vireos are small, quick moving birds that can sometimes be difficult to get a look at. Most of them migrate in springtime right along with the warblers, and most have distinctive songs and calls. In Pennsylvania, there are six vireo species that move through the state with some being very common and others being rarer. Here is everything you need to know about those six species.

Blue-headed Vireo

Blue-headed Vireos
Identification

The aptly named Blue-headed Vireo has a grayish-blue head, a white eye ring, an olive-colored back and wings, and with white wing bars. They have a light underside with yellowish sides.

Range

Blue-headed Vireos winter in Central America, eastern Mexico, and the southwestern United States. In spring they spread north through the eastern U.S. and into their breeding areas in the northeastern U.S. and southern Canada.

Diet and Foraging Habits

Blue-headed Vireos feed on a variety of different insects including larva such as caterpillars. They also eat spiders and some fruits. Blue-headed Vireos are fairly active hunters, usually searching out prey from near the tree trunks. They will actively chase after food items too.

Where to Find This Bird

Blue-headed Vireos inhabit many different types of forests including deciduous and coniferous. Unlike many other eastern vireo species, Blue-headed Vireos do not shy away from stands of evergreens to breed in. During migration, they make stop overs in insect rich areas such as trees and bushes lining streams and rivers.

Philadelphia Vireo

Philadelphia Vireo – Photo by Alan Schmierer
Identification

Philadelphia Vireos have a brownish gray cap, back, and wings. They have a yellow throat and underside. There is more of a contrast between their cap and the rest of the face and underside than other similar looking vireo species such as Warbling and Bell’s. They have white striping around their eye.

Range

Philadelphia Vireos winter in Central America and southern Mexico. In spring, they move north to their breeding areas all across southern Canada and in some of the most northern parts of the midwestern and northeastern United States.

Diet and Foraging Habits

Philadelphia Vireos eat a variety of insects and other small invertebrates. Some common prey items include caterpillars and spiders. They will also eat some fruits.

Where to Find This Bird

Philadelphia Vireos can be found in forested areas, near rivers, and in places with thick underbrush. For people living in the continental United States, the best time to see this species is usually during migration where hey mix in with other small birds.

Red-eyed Vireo

Red-eyed Vireo
Identification

Red-eyed Vireos have an olive-colored back, a light underside, a grayish blue cap, and a light-colored eye stripe edged in darker blue to black. They have a namesake red eye that sets them apart from most other vireo species in United States.

Range

Red-eyed Vireos winter in northern South America, then move north into the continental United States and Canada to spend the summer. In the U.S., this species inhabits most of the midwestern and eastern states. They also summer in every state bordering Canada, even Washington.

Diet and Foraging Habits

Red-eyed Vireos have diets that vary depending on the time of year. In summer they feed primarily on insects, while other times of the year they eat more plant matter and fruit.

Where to Find This Bird

Red-eyed Vireos can be found in forested areas consisting of deciduous or mixed deciduous trees. When the trees are leafy, they are easier to hear than they are to see as they spend much of their time up in the canopy.

Warbling Vireo

Warbling Vireo – Photo by Yellowstone National Park
Identification

Warbling Vireos have a brown back, head, and wings. Their underside is a yellowish cream color, and they have a white stripe above and below their eye.

Range

Warbling Vireos spend the winter in Central America and southern Mexico. In spring they move north into most of the continental United States and western Canada where they spend the summer.

Diet and Foraging Habits

Warbling vireos are insectivores and eat a variety of beetles, flies, and caterpillars. They forage high up in trees and pick prey off of leaves and branches.

Where to Find This Bird

Warbling Vireos are most often found in deciduous woods or even just stands of deciduous trees. Since they usually forage high up in trees, the easiest way to locate one is often times to hear them singing. The song of the Warbling Vireo is very bubbly and sounds like one long run-on sentence.

White-eyed Vireo

White-eyed Vireo – Photo by Alan Schmierer
Identification

White-eyed Vireos have a gray head, an olive green back, two white wing bars on each side, and a light underside with a yellow wash. One of their most distinctive features is their white eye. They also have yellow on their face from the base of their bill over their eye.

Range

White-eyed Vireos winter in some of the northern Central American countries, Eastern Mexico, and the southeastern United States. They move north in the spring and reside in most of the northeastern states south of Wisconsin and Michigan. White-eyed Vireos are very common in the states in the southeastern U.S. and are rare visitors in northern states in the Midwest and Northeast.

Diet and Foraging Habits

White-eyed Vireos eat a wide variety of insects including moths, caterpillars, beetles, and pretty much anything small enough for them to catch and consume. Their diet also consists of some fruits as well.

Where to Find This Bird

White-eyed Vireos reside in places with thicker understories including near streams and rivers, overgrown field edges, and deciduous or mixed woods. Look for this species moving quickly through bushes and shrubs from around 6 to 12 feet off the ground.

Yellow-throated Vireo

Yellow-throated Vireo
Identification

Yellow-throated Vireos have a yellow head, face, and of course throat. Their throat is a brighter color of yellow than the rest of their head which is darker, and they have brighter yellow around their eye as well. The back and wings of this species are gray, and they have a white underside. Overall, they are very sporty looking birds.

Range

Yellow-throated Vireos winter in northern South America, Central America, southern Mexico, and the Carribean. In spring, they move north into most of the eastern United States and some of the southeastern parts of Canada.

Diet and Foraging Habits

Yellow-throated Vireos eat insects, small invertebrates, and occasionally plant matter such as seeds and fruits. They tend to forage higher up in trees than other species.

Where to Find This Bird

Yellow-throated Vireos can be found in deciduous forests where they can be found around gaps and forest edges. Their preferred habitats tend to be larger forests as opposed to small groves of trees. Look for this species in the mid to high canopy foraging and dinging.

Summary

Vireos are small and quick moving birds that can be enjoyable to view and sometimes tricky to identify. We hope that this post has helped to answer some questions about the vireos of Pennsylvania.

Chickadees of Minnesota (2 Species to Know)

Chickadees are small, likable birds known for their friendliness and curiousness. In Minnesota, there are two species that can be found in the state on an annual basis. Here is everything you need to know about those two species.

Black-capped Chickadee

Black-capped Chickadee
Identification

Black-capped Chickadees have a gray back and wings, tan wash on their sides, and black cap and throat. They have a light colored underside and white cheeks. In addition to visual identification clues, these birds make a variety of songs and notable calls including their springtime “cheeseburger” call and namesake “chickadee” call.

Range

Black-capped Chickadees are year-round residents of the Northern continental United States, southern Canada, and even parts of Alaska.

Diet and Foraging Habits

Black-capped Chickadees are fairly active feeders and eat different foods depending on the time of the year. During the warmer months when insects are more abundant, small invertebrates make up a larger part of their diet. In the winter, seeds, berries, and other plant matter make up a significantly larger portion of their diet.

Where to Find this Bird

Black-capped Chickadees are extremely common in areas with moderate to thick vegetation. This includes both deciduous and coniferous woods, parks, edge habitat, and backyards. They regularly visit bird feeders and are typically among the first species to find new feeders.

Boreal Chickadee

Boreal Chickadee – Photo by Andy Reago and Chrissy McClarren CC by 2.0
Identification

Boreal Chickadees are small, round looking birds with a brown cap, brown back, dark gray wings, and buffy colored sides. They have a light underside, a black throat, and white cheeks. They make a very raspy “chickadee” call that sounds more coarse than that on the Black-capped Chickadee.

Range

Boreal Chickadees are year-round residents of Canada and Alaska. In the continental United States, there are only a few states that harbor these birds including Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Maine among others. In these places, Boreal Chickadees only inhabit the most northern parts of the states.

Diet and Foraging Habits

Boreal Chickadees feed on both insects and seeds. They will grip onto conifer cones and use their bills to open the cones and take the seeds inside. Boreal Chickadees search for insects on tree trunks and branches meticulously searching under bark and in crevices.

Where to Find this Bird

True to their name, Boreal Chickadees can be found in Boreal forests, typically consisting of mostly coniferous trees. Often times, the best way to find them is to listen for their calls and try to triangulate their position from there.

Summary

Chickadees are always fun birds to see due to their cuteness and big personalities. We hope that this post has helped answer some questions about the chickadees of Minnesota.

If you enjoyed this post, please check out the Badgerland Birding YouTube channel.

Cuckoos of Pennsylvania (2 Species to Know)

Cuckoos are slender, medium sized birds, known for being difficult to find. Due to their secretive nature, they can be exciting for birders to see in the wild. In Pennsylvania, there are two species of cuckoos that can be found on an annual basis. Here’s everything you need to know about them.

Black-billed Cuckoo

Yellow-billed Cuckoo – Photo by Alan Schmierer
Identification

Black-billed Cuckoos have a brown head, back, wings, and tail with a white underside. As their name would suggest, they have a black bill and a red eye.

Range

Black-billed Cuckoos winter in the northwestern part of South America. In spring they migrate north into northeastern and northcentral United States along with southern Canada.

Diet and Foraging Habits

Black-billed Cuckoos feed primarily on insects (especially caterpillars). In nonbreeding season, they also eat fruits and other plant matter such as seeds.

Where to Find this Bird

Black-billed Cuckoos are found in forests, edge habitat, woodlands, and marshes with numerous trees. They can be extremely elusive and are difficult to get eyes on even if they are in the area.

Yellow-billed Cuckoo

Yellow-billed Cuckoo – Photo by Alan Schmierer
Identification

Yellow-billed Cuckoos have a brown head, back, and wings. Their long tails are black with white at the end of the feathers giving their tails a spotted appearance. These birds have a clean white underside and a yellow bill with some black on the upper mandible.

Range

Yellow-billed Cuckoos winter throughout most of South America with the exception of the most southern and western parts of the country. In spring, they move north inhabiting the Carribean, parts of Mexico, the eastern United States, southeastern Canada, and seemingly random pockets in the western United States.

Diet and Foraging Habits

A large portion of the Yellow-billed Cuckoos diet consists of caterpillars. They will often find large quantities of tent caterpillars, fall webworms, and spongy moths. Aside from caterpillars they will also eat other types of insects and small invertebrates along with some types of fruits and seeds.

Where to Find this Bird

Yellow-billed Cuckoos frequent woodlands (especially woodlands with water nearby), scrublands with thick bushes, and even stands of trees in otherwise more open areas.

Summary

Cuckoos are goofy and elusive birds that are always fun to see in the field but can sometimes be tough to identify. We hope this post has helped you learn about and identify the Cuckoos of Pennsylvania.

If you enjoyed this post, please give it a like and a comment. Also be sure to check out the Badgerland Birding YouTube Channel.

Grosbeaks of Georgia (3 Species to Know)

Grosbeaks are birds that are known for their sturdy looking build and thick bill. While they all share a similar appearance, grosbeaks are actually comprised of birds from two separate groupings. Out of five species of grosbeaks that live in the continental United States, three of them are technically in the cardinal family along with birds like tanagers, and the other two are in the finch family.

In Georgia there are three species that can be found on an annual basis with some being extremely common and others being a bit tougher to find.

Grosbeaks in the Finch Family

Evening Grosbeak

Male Evening Grosbeak
Identification

Evening Grosbeaks are an extremely bright looking species. Males have electric yellow undersides, backs, and markings on their head just above the eye. They have black wings, a black tail, clean white wing patches, and an extremely thick bill. Females and immature birds are mostly gray with a yellow nape, black wings, and a black tail with white patches on them.

Range

The Evening Grosbeak’s range is somewhat misleading. They are year-round residents of Southern Canada and some parts of the Western United States. Most maps show their wintering range covering most of Michigan, Wisconsin, and New England, but through my experience, most winters Evening Grosbeaks only inhabit the most northern parts of these areas. Evening Grosbeaks do have years in which they fly farther South during winter but in recent years they have not irrupted in the same way that records from the past show. Additionally, the range of this species seems to be receding farther north into Canada each year.

Diet and Foraging Habits

Evening Grosbeaks have different diets depending on the time of year. During summer, they feed primarily on insects and other invertebrates, most notably spruce budworm larva. Other times of the year, Evening Grosbeaks eat various types of seeds including seeds from fruits.

Where to Find This Bird

Evening Grosbeaks can be found in conifer forests. They also can be found near bird feeders in their native range.

Badgerland Birding searches for an Evening Grosbeak in Milwaukee, WI

Grosbeaks in the Cardinal Family

Blue Grosbeak

Blue Grosbeak – Photo by Alan Schmierer
Identification

As their name suggests, male Blue Grosbeaks are a deep blue color. They have a gray bill, small black mask, and two rusty wing bars. Females and immature males are orangey brown with faint wing bars still visible.

Range

Blue Grosbeaks spend the winter in Central America and Mexico. Some of them stay in Mexico year-round while others move north into the United States where they can be found in the southern states as well as the Great Plains States for the duration of the summer.

Diet and Foraging Habits

Blue Grosbeaks eat a combination of insects and seeds. They will also eat other invertebrates such as spiders and snails.

Where to Find This Bird

Blue Grosbeaks are most at home in open areas such as scrub and desert. They are also fond of edge habitats where they can hide in trees and thickets while singing.

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Identification

Rose-breasted Grosbeaks are dapper looking birds with a thick bill. Males have a black head, back, tail and wings with white markings also appearing on the wings. They have a white underside with their most noticeable feature appearing on their chest: A namesake bright red marking. Females have a mottled brown back with a yellowish underside and a white eyebrow stripe.

Range

Rose-breasted Grosbeaks migrate annually from Northern South America, Central America, and Southern Mexico into the Eastern United States. In summer, they end up in the Northeastern U.S. and parts of Southern Canada. 

Diet and Foraging Habits

Rose-breasted Grosbeaks feed on different food items depending on the time of the year. During spring and summer, insects make up a large portion of their diet. While in fall, berries and other fruits become more of a staple. They will also eat seeds and other plant matter.

Where to Find This Bird

Rose-breasted Grosbeaks live in a variety of habitats including deciduous and mixed conifer woods, forest edges, areas with streams and other water sources, and in backyards. They will also visit both seed and fruit bird feeders, so this is a species that can be attracted to parks, backyards, and nature centers. 

Summary

Grosbeaks are beautiful and popular birds to both birders and backyard bird lovers. Knowing more about the species that are expected in your area can be instrumental in finding and identifying them, especially since they have such irregular migratory patterns. Hopefully, this article has helped to answer some questions about the grosbeaks of Georgia.

If you enjoyed this post, please give it a like and a comment. Also be sure to check out the Badgerland Birding YouTube Channel.

Cranes of Kansas (2 Species to Know)

Cranes are among the largest and most noticeable birds in North America. These birds are always impressive to see when out birding and can turn up in some places you wouldn’t expect to see these tall, regal birds. In North America there are two crane species, and both of them can be found in Kansas. Here is everything you need to know about those two species.

Sandhill Crane

Sandhill Crane – Photo by Bill Grossmeyer
Identification

Sandhill Cranes have a mostly gray colored body with tan color mixed in. During the warmer months they typically are more tan than they are gray. They have a long neck and bill with white cheeks and red on top of their head.

Sandhill Crane chicks are a yellowish tan color and can often be seen tagging along with the adult parents.

Range

Sandhill Cranes winter in a few different areas around North America including northern Mexico, southern Texas, Florida, parts of California, parts of southern Louisiana, and other areas across the Great Plains states. In spring, they start heading north to breed in the northern United States and southern Canada. There are a few places where Sandhill Cranes stage prior to migration where they can be seen in absolutely massive numbers. Most of these areas are in the upper Midwest in states such as Minnesota and North Dakota.

Diet and Foraging Habits

Sandhill Cranes eat a wide variety of different food items. Much of their diet consists of plant matter such as tubers, berries, and seeds, but they also eat small vertebrates, insects and other invertebrates. Sandhill Cranes forage in shallow water as well as in farm fields where they eat grains from crops.

Where to Find This Bird

Sandhill Cranes can be seen in many different places. Some of the most common areas to find this species are shallow water marshes and open fields. However, Sandhill Cranes also show up on lawns in neighborhoods and even in parking lots in cities where they casually stroll around, often to the surprise of humans.

Whooping Crane (Rare)

Whooping Crane – Photo by Bill Grossmeyer
Identification

Whooping Cranes are absolutely massive, reaching heights of around five feet. They have a clean white body and red that covers their face and extends along the jaw line and on the top of the head. In flight, these cranes show black on the wing tips.

Range

The Whooping Cranes range is a bit complicated since they are actually split up into different populations. There are nonmigratory populations in Louisiana and Florida and migratory populations that winter in Florida and Texas and then migrate to Wisconsin and Canada respectively.

Diet and Foraging Habits

The large size of the Whooping Crane means they can eat many different types of animals, both vertebrates and invertebrates. They not only eat animals however, but also various plant material, both aquatic and terrestrial.

Where to Find This Bird

Whooping Cranes are most commonly found in marshland where they wade into water in search of food. Along their migratory routes they are seen in fields and wet grasslands. During their wintering times, they also reside in coastal waters and saltmarshes.

Summary

Cranes are spectacular birds to see as an avid birder or just a casual observer. Knowing where to expect them and which species are likely to be in your state and region can make it much easier to find and identify them.

If you enjoyed this post, please give it a like and a comment. Also be sure to check out the Badgerland Birding YouTube Channel.

Tanagers of Maryland (3 Species to Know)

Tanagers are a group of birds known for being extremely bright. These members of the cardinal family have thick bills and are medium distance migrants. In the United States there are four different species of tanagers, and three of them can be found in Maryland with two being common visitors and the other being rare. Here is everything you need to know about these three species.

Scarlet Tanager

Scarlet Tanager
Identification

Male Scarlet Tanagers are bright red with a slight orangey shine when viewed in bright sunlight. They have inky black wings and a black tail. Females are a brownish yellow color with their wings and tail being a darker shade than the rest of their body.

Range

Scarlet Tanagers winter in western South America and move through the eastern United States in spring. This species spends the summer in the northeastern United States including New England, some states in the Midwest, and even some of the more southern states such as Tennessee, northern Georgia, and northern Alabama.

Diet and Foraging Habits

Scarlet Tanagers are mostly insectivores eating a wide variety of different larvas and adult insects. This species will also eat tree buds in the early spring and fruit including berries such as mulberry.

Where to Find this Bird

Scarlet Tanagers are birds of deciduous and mixed deciduous forests. They will make stops at a variety of different habitats during migration including backyards and parks (especially if there are berries to eat nearby). Scarlet Tanagers usually reside high up in trees, so keep an eye out for an extremely bright red bird in the canopy.

Summer Tanager

Summer Tanager
Identification

Adult male Summer Tanagers are a deep red color. Immature males are a mix of yellow and red with red feathers coming in to replace the yellow as they molt. The more yellow, the younger the bird is. Adult females are completely yellow bodied with darker coloration on the wings.

Range

Summer Tanagers winter in northern South America, Central America, and Mexico. In spring they begin their journey north, ending up in the southern United States. The Summer Tanagers range extends farther north in the eastern U.S. than the western U.S. reaching as far north as Ohio and Iowa.

Diet and Foraging Habits

Summer Tanagers eat many different insects and other invertebrates. Some of their most preferred foods are bees and wasps. They will catch them out of the air and then rub the stinger off before consuming them. Other items on the menu are various fruits such as mulberries.

Where to Find this Bird

Summer Tanagers are typically found in deciduous woods with moderate tree cover. They also live in places like forest edges, backyards, and parks. During migration this species will appear in mixed forests and along lake edges along with warblers, grosbeaks, orioles, and other tanager species.

Western Tanager (Rare)

Western Tanager – Photo by USFWS Mountain-Prairie
Identification

Male Western Tanagers are arguably one of the most beautiful bird species in North America. The are bright yellow with a reddish orange face, and black wings with a yellow shoulder marking. Females are slightly duller yellow with grayish black wings and tow light wing bars.

Range

Western Tanagers winter in Central America and Mexico. They migrate north in spring and breed in the western United States and southwestern Canada.

Diet and Foraging Habits

Western Tanagers have varied diets that differ depending on season. In spring and summer, they feed primarily on different insect species including dragonflies, grasshoppers, and wasps among others. In fall and winter, they switch over to eating primarily fruit.

Where to Find this Bird

Western Tanagers are typically found in mixed deciduous and coniferous forests as well as forest edges, parks and backyards. They also live in drier areas such as scrub and elevated pine forests.

Summary

Tanagers are among the most colorful migratory bird species in all of North America. Knowing which species are common or rare for your state and region can be instrumental in correctly identifying these brightly colored birds in the field.

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Warblers of Pennsylvania (36 Species to Know)

Warblers are vibrant, small, colorful birds that are a major highlight of spring migration. Pennsylvania is home to a wide variety of Warbler species. Some of them breed in in the state while others just pass through. Here is everything you need to know about the warblers of Pennsylvania.

American Redstart

Male American Redstart – Photo by Bill Grossmeyer
Female American Redstart – Photo by Alan Schmierer
Identification

Male American Redstarts have a black head, wings, back, and tail. They also have black on their chest and an otherwise white underside. While the black color on these birds is certainly spiffy, their most defining feature is their orange color on their sides, wings, and tail. Females look quite different having a gray head, light underside, brownish back, wings, and tail, and the orange of the male is exchanged with yellow in the same places. Females also have a white eye ring.

Range

American Redstarts winter in northern South America, Central America, the Caribbean, southern Mexico, Baja California, and Southern California. In spring, they not only spread out through the eastern United States but also much of the western United States. They breed in most of the eastern United States and much of Canada.

Diet and Foraging Behavior

American Redstarts are very active foragers and will catch prey in flight more than most other warbler species. They feed mostly on insects but will also eat fruits such as berries.

Where to Find this Bird

American Redstarts can be found mostly in deciduous forests during their breeding season. They tend to live and forage in the middle to high parts of the canopy. During spring migration it’s more common to see them lower down, especially around streams actively searching for food.

Bay-breasted Warbler

Bay-breasted Warbler – Photo by Alan Schmierer
Identification

Male Bay-breasted Warblers are extremely unique looking warblers with a reddish-brown (bay) colored cap, chin, and sides, a cream colored back of the neck, gray and black striped back, and white wing bars. Males also have a dark black mask over their eyes. Females look nothing like the males, having mostly gray backs and wings with lighter colored undersides. They do still have the white wing bars and show light striping on their back.

Range

Bay-breasted Warblers winter in northern South America, some countries in Central America, and the Caribbean. In spring, they move up into the eastern United States, eventually ending up in Canada and some of the most northern states in the continental U.S. such as Maine and northern Minnesota.

Diet and Foraging Behavior

Bay-breasted Warblers primarily feed on insects (particularly the larvae and pupae of spruce budworm) but will also feed on some fruits as well.

Where to Find this Bird

For people in the United States, Bay-breasted Warblers are easiest to see during migration. They tend to forage in the middle parts of trees but during migration will drop down a bit lower than when they’re on their breeding grounds.

Black-and-white Warbler

Black-and-white Warbler – Photo by Wayne National Forest
Identification

Black-and-white Warblers are white with complex black striping. They have the most black on their wings and tail along with stripes on their head and underside. Males have a darker black patch on the side of their face than females as well as a black chin which females lack. Both males and females have white eye rings.

Range

Black-and-white Warblers winter in northern South America, Central America, Mexico, and some of the southern states in the US. In spring they move north, breeding in many of the eastern states and much of Canada.

Diet and Foraging Behavior

Black-and-white Warblers feed mostly on insects and other small invertebrates. They forage in a fashion similar to that of nuthatches, clinging to trees and inspecting crevices in branches. Unlike Brown Creepers which at first glance can look similar to Black-and-white Warblers, these birds move any and all directions as they forage whereas Brown Creepers only go up the tree.

Where to Find this Bird

Black-and-white Warblers can be found in mixed forest throughout the year. In some parts of their wintering areas they will be in more tropical forests, but they also winter in areas like South Texas. The best way to spot them is to look for a bird working tree trunks and branches.

Black-throated Blue Warbler

Male Black-throated Blue Warbler – Photo by Bill Grossmeyer
Female Black-throated Blue
Identification

Male Black-throated Blue Warblers are very distinctive with a deep blue back, dark gray to black wings, black on the face, chin, and sides, and a clean white underside. They also have a noticeable patch of white on each wing. Females are drastically different with buff-y coloration on the body and darker gray to brown on the head and wings. They also have a pale eye stripe and a hint of blue on their wings and head.

Range

Black-throated Blue Warblers winter in Central America, parts of eastern Mexico, and the Caribbean Islands. In spring they move north through the eastern United States ending up in their breeding locations in southeastern Canada, New England, parts of the northern Midwest, and the Appalachian Mountains.

Diet and Foraging Behavior

Black-throated Blue Warblers feed mostly on insects but will also eat some fruits. Like all warblers they are active foragers.

Where to Find this Bird

During their time in North America, Black-throated Blue Warblers can be found in deciduous or mixed coniferous forests. They are often seen foraging lower in the canopy but not usually on the ground.

Black-throated Green Warbler

Black-throated Green Warbler – Alan Schmierer
Identification

Black-throated Green Warblers have a yellowish green back with the same color on the top of the head and the cheeks. The rest of their face is a brighter yellow. These birds have gray wings with white wing bars. Males have a dark black throat with black streaking on their sides. Females have less black on their throat. Both males and females have white undersides and yellow near their undertail.

Range

Black-throated Green Warblers winter in northern South America, Central America, parts of Mexico, the Carribean, and the most southern parts of Florida. In spring, they move north into the northeastern United States, southeastern Canada, and the Appalachian Mountain states.

Diet and Foraging Behavior

Black-throated Green Warblers feed on insects and other small invertebrates. During nonbreeding season, they will also eat buds and fruits.

Where to Find this Bird

Black-throated Green Warblers reside in a variety of different types of forests where they are usually found higher up in the treetops. Fortunately, these birds have a very distinctive song, sounding like “zee zee zee zu zee.”

Blackburnian Warbler

Blackburnian Warbler – Photo by Kevin Bolton
Identification

Blackburnian Warblers are among the most beautiful warblers. Males have a black back and wings with white markings on the wings and just behind the neck. Their underside is white with some black streaks, but its their face that really stands out. In addition to a black pattern that goes over the eye and on the forehead, these birds have a gradient mix of yellow and orange. Female and immature males have a grayer back and show duller colored facial patterns as well as duller yellow on the face and chest.

Range

Blackburnian Warblers winter in northern and northeastern South America. During spring they move into the United States and Canada to breed, ending up in the northeastern states, midwestern states, and states around the Appalachian Mountains.

Diet and Foraging Behavior

Blackburnian Warblers eat various insects (particularly spruce budworms) as well as other invertebrates that they actively search for.

Where to Find this Bird

Blackburnian Warblers are generally found high up in the canopy where the males orangey-yellow throat is visible. They breed in coniferous and mixed coniferous forests. Oftentimes, to get a good look at one, the best time is during migration when they will occasionally come down lower in the branches to feed.

Blackpoll Warbler

Male Blackpoll Warbler – Photo by Bill Grossmeyer
Identification

Male Blackpoll Warblers have have a black cap, gray, black, and white striped back, and hints of yellow on their wings. They have a white underside with black streaking, and a white cheek. Females look extremely different, sporting a mostly gray body with a darker colored head, back, and wings. They also have a tinge of yellow on their wings and head. Both males and females have distinctive orange legs, unique among warblers.

Range

Blackpoll Warblers winter in northern South America and migrate all the way into Canada and Alaska to breed, making their way through the eastern United States in the spring and fall.

Diet and Foraging Behavior

Blackpoll Warblers eat mostly insects and other small invertebrates, but will also eat fruit, particularly during fall. These birds usually feed around five feet or more off the ground.

Where to Find this Bird

Blackpoll Warblers breed extremely far north in Canada and Alaska, so the best time to find them is during migration. Look for them in the middle to high parts of trees in usual places where warblers turn up such as streams, parks, and woodlands.

Blue-winged Warbler

Blue-winged Warbler – Photo by Bill Grossmeyer
Identification

Blue-winged Warblers are yellow with a thin, black stripe over their eyes. They have two white wing bars on their wings that are grayer than they are blue. The same color on their wings is also on their tail and their undertail is significantly paler than their underside.

Range

Blue-winged Warblers winter in Central America, the Carribean, and eastern Mexico. in spring they move into the eastern United States, spending the summer in the more northern part of the eastern U.S.

Diet and Foraging Behavior

Blue-winged Warblers are very active foragers, moving in a way similar to chickadees. They feed on insects as well as other small invertebrates.

Where to Find this Bird

Blue-winged Warblers breed along forest edges, in thickets and scrub, along with more open wooded areas. They can be located by listening for their distinctive “bee-buzz” call.

Canada Warbler

Canada Warbler – Photo by Alan Schmierer
Identification

Canada Warblers have a slate gray head, back, wings, and tail. Their underside is bright yellow, and they have a black “necklace” on their chest. They have black coloring on their face as well and sport a bold, white eye ring. Females look very similar to the males but don’t have nearly much black on their chest.

Range

Canada Warblers winter in northwestern South America and southern Central America. In spring, they move north, breeding in southern Canada, the northeastern United States, and some of the Appalachian Mountain states.

Diet and Foraging Behavior

Canada Warblers feed on insects and other small invertebrates which they actively hunt for. They will take flying insects on the wing.

Where to Find this Bird

Canada Warblers are most easy to find during migration when they show up along with other small migratory birds in typical warbler habitats such as forests and along rivers and streams. In the breeding season, these birds tend to gravitate toward forests with a lot of moss and ground cover such as ferns. They can be seen moving around lower in the trees but not usually on the ground.

Cape May Warbler

Cape May Warbler – Photo by Susan Young
Identification

Cape May Warblers have a yellowish gray back and wings, white wing bars, and a yellow underside with dark streaking. The most distinctive feature of these birds is their head and face. They have a dark cap, yellow chin and nape of the neck, and reddish cheeks. Females look similar but are duller in coloration.

Range

Cape May Warblers winter in Central America, parts of eastern Mexico, and the Carribean. In spring, they move north into the eastern United States. They end up breeding in Canada and some of the most northern states in the Midwest.

Diet and Foraging Behavior

Cape May Warblers feed on insects and other small invertebrates, especially spruce budworm. They will also eat nectar from flowers and hummingbird feeders in addition to berries.

Where to Find this Bird

Cape May Warblers breed in conifer forests, particularly spruce and fir. During migration they show up in a wide variety of locations. Search for them in places other warblers and migratory species frequent.

Cerulean Warbler

Male Cerulean Warbler
Identification

Male Cerulean Warblers are incredibly beautiful with a brilliant blue back and wings, white underside, and blue “necklace.” They have a white chin, blue striping on the flanks, and some black mixed in on their wings and tail. An additional feature to note are their two white wing bars. Females look something like a male that was washed in yellow. They have a greenish blue head, back, and rump. Females have wing bars too, but they are more yellowish than the clean white of the males.

Range

Cerulean Warblers winer in the northern and northeastern parts of South America. In spring, they migrate north to their breeding areas in the eastern United States. They do not breed as far north as many other warbler species, only just barely making it into Canada in the Great Lakes region.

Diet and Foraging Behavior

Cerulean Warblers primarily feed on insects which they pick from leaves and branches in the treetops.

Where to Find this Bird

Cerulean Warblers breed in deciduous forests and live high up in the canopy. They can often be heard before they are seen as they make their buzzy calls. Due to their pension for living in the treetops, these birds can be difficult to see especially if the leaves have already grown in.

Chestnut-sided Warbler

Chestnut-sided Warbler – Photo by Alan Schmierer
Identification

Chestnut-sided Warblers have a gray and black mottled back, a black marking from their mouth to the back of their head, and a yellow cap. They have a white underside, white cheeks, and a namesake chestnut-colored stripe down their side. Females look similar but their colors aren’t quite as bright.

Range

Chestnut-sided Warblers winter in northern South America, Central America, parts of Mexico, and the Carribean. In spring they move north, breeding in the northeastern United States as well as Canada, parts of the northern Midwest, and the Appalachian Mountains.

Diet and Foraging Behavior

Chestnut-sided Warblers feed on insects and other small invertebrates. In particular, they eat caterpillars and other larvae which they pick from leaves and branches.

Where to Find this Bird

Chestnut-sided Warblers breed in areas altered in some way (usually deciduous forest). Typically, these areas have been previously burned or logged and are in the process of regrowing. During migration, they can be found in a wide variety of habitats.

Common Yellowthroat

Common Yellowthroat – Photo by Alan Schmierer
Identification

Common Yellowthroats have an olive-colored back, wings, and tail, and a yellow underside. They have a black mask with white above the black. Females lack the black mask and are grayer overall but still have a bright yellow throat.

Range

Common yellowthroats winter in Central America, Mexico, the Carribean, and parts of the southern United States. In spring, they move north into almost every part of the continental United States with the exception of some of the southwestern states. They also breed in southern Canada.

Diet and Foraging Behavior

Common Yellowthroats feed on a variety of different insects as well as other small invertebrates.

Where to Find this Bird

Common Yellowthroats can be found in open areas such as brushy fields, marshes, oak savannas, and edge habitat. Since they stay hidden much of the time, listening for their rapid songs can be the best way to locate them. They sound like “wichity-wichity-wichity-wichity.”

Connecticut Warbler (Uncommon)

Connecticut Warbler – Photo by Alan Schmierer
Identification

Connecticut Warblers have a brown back, gray head, and yellow underside. They have black where their gray hood meets their chest but the amount of black varies depending on the individual. Females look similar but are slightly paler.

Range

Connecticut Warblers winter in northern South America and have a very limited range as they migrate north in spring, not encompassing nearly as much of the eastern U.S. as most other warbler species. They breed in the conifer forests of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Canada.

Diet and Foraging Behavior

Connecticut Warblers primarily feed on insects but will also eat fruits from time to time. These birds have a unique foraging habit as they walk along the ground looking for food as opposed to hopping. They may also forage higher in trees as well if that’s where the insects are.

Where to Find this Bird

Connecticut Warblers are notoriously difficult to get a look at due to their sulky nature. People living in the northern Midwest can take a trip to the boreal forests where they nest and listen for their songs. Otherwise, the best time to see them is during migration when they move through and get reported for a week or two. Look for a bird staying low to the ground, and you may get lucky enough to catch a glimpse of these skulky birds.

Golden-winged Warbler

Golden-winged Warbler – Photo by Alan Schmierer
Identification

Golden-winged Warblers have a gray back, a yellow cap, and a light underside. They also have a yellow wingbar on each wing, a black throat, and a black marking on their otherwise white colored face. Females look extremely similar but display a bit more yellow on their back.

Range

Golden-winged Warblers winter in the northwestern part of South America, Central America, and the southern part of Mexico. In spring they move north and breed in the northeastern part of the continental United States, the Midwest, and some parts of southeastern Canada.

Diet and Foraging Behavior

Golden-winged Warblers feed on insects and other small invertebrates that they search for amongst leaves and branches.

Where to Find this Bird

For many people in the United States, the best time to find Golden-winged Warblers is during migration. For people living in their breeding range, looking for semi open damp shrubby habitats and thickets can be a good way to find them. Listen for their songs that sound like “Bee buzz buzz buzz,” very similar to a Blue-winged Warbler but with extra buzzes at the end.

Hooded Warbler

Hooded Warbler
Hooded Warbler
Identification

Hooded Warblers have an olive-colored back, grayish wings, and a gray tail with lighter colored feathers on the outside of the tail. Their underside is bright yellow as well as their face, and they have a namesake black hood around their head to their chin. Females do not have a full hood but still show partial black coloration on the top of their head. These warblers have lighter colored feathers on the outsides of their tails that are visible in flight.

Range

Hooded Warblers winter in northern South America, Central America, eastern Mexico, and the Carribean. In spring they move north and breed in the southeastern United States. In terms of eastern warblers, Hooded Warblers do not move as far north to breed as many others do.

Diet and Foraging Behavior

Hooded Warblers feed on insects, spiders, and other small invertebrates either picking them from leaves or picking them from the ground.

Where to Find this Bird

Hooded Warblers breed in deciduous forests or mixed conifer forests. Look for them in the middle to lower parts of the dense forest. keep in mind however that they do spend some time high in the canopy as well.

Kentucky Warbler

Kentucky Warbler – Photo by Bill Grossmeyer
Identification

Kentucky Warblers have a yellow-olive colored back and tail. Their underside is bright yellow, and they have distinctive black “teardrop” markings under their eyes. Males have a dark black cap while females have a dark gray cap.

Range

Kentucky Warblers winter in northern South America, Central America, eastern Mexico and the Caribbean. In spring they move north into the eastern United States, but their breeding range does not include some of the more northern states in the region such as Michigan and Maine.

Diet and Foraging Behavior

Kentucky Warblers eat insects and other small invertebrates such as spiders. They feed low to the ground and often times even on the ground, searching the substrate for prey. They will also eat some fruits.

Where to Find this Bird

Kentucky Warblers can be found in dense forests with thick bushes and understory. Due to their habitat, they can often be heard easier than they are seen. Their song actually sounds quite similar to that of the Carolina Wren.

Louisiana Waterthrush

Louisiana Waterthrush – Photo by Bill Grossmeyer
Identification

Louisiana Waterthrushes have a brown back, head, and wings along with a light cream-colored underside. They have dark streaking on their underside and a cream-colored eyebrow stripe. Another feature to note are their bubblegum pink legs.

Range

Louisiana Waterthrushes winter in northern South America, Central America, the Carribean, and parts of Mexico. In spring they move north, inhabiting much of the eastern United States during the breeding season.

Diet and Foraging Behavior

As their name would suggest, Louisiana Waterthrushes spend a lot of time foraging along the water. They feed on terrestrial and aquatic insects and invertebrates.

Where to Find this Bird

Louisiana Waterthrushes can be found along the edges of clear streams, especially in mature forests. Keep an eye out for a bird along the water’s edge bobbing its tail. They usually prefer quicker moving water than Northern Waterthrushes do.

Magnolia Warbler

Magnolia Warbler – Photo by Bill Grossmeyer
Identification

Magnolia Warblers have a black back, black mask on their face, and a bright yellow underside with black streaking. They have white markings on their wings, a white lower eye crescent, a white eye-brow stripe, and a gray head. Female and immature birds have less black and show a white eye ring.

Range

Magnolia Warblers winter in Central America, southern Mexico, and the Carribean. In spring they move north into the eastern United States and breed in southern Canada, the most northern states in the Midwest, and the Northeast.

Diet and Foraging Behavior

Magnolia Warblers feed on insects and other small invertebrates. In their breeding range, spruce budworm is a major food source.

Where to Find this Bird

During migration Magnolia Warblers can be found in forests, near streams, and in other areas frequented by migratory bird species. During the breeding season, these birds can be found in conifer and mixed conifer forests.

Mourning Warbler

Mourning Warbler – Photo by Bill Grossmeyer
Identification

Mourning Warblers have a bluish-gray head, olive-colored backs and wings, and yellow undersides. They have darker coloration by the base of their bill and eye. Males do not have an eye ring or eye crescents which helps to separate them from other species such as Nashville Warblers and Connecticut Warblers. Males also have a black bib on their chest. Female and immature birds lack the black bib and can show an eye ring which can be confusing when trying to make a correct identification.

Range

Mourning Warblers winter in northwestern South America and Central America. In spring, they move north into the northeastern United States and Canada.

Diet and Foraging Behavior

Mourning Warblers feed on insects and other small invertebrates. They forage lower in shrubs and bushes than many other warbler species and can also be seen along the ground searching for food as well.

Where to Find this Bird

Mourning Warblers can be found in forests that have a lot of understory growth. A lot of places they inhabit include areas that have been burned, logged, or otherwise disturbed by humans.

Nashville Warbler

Nashville Warber – Photo by Bill Grossmeyer
Identification

Nashville Warblers have a gray head, greenish-brown colored back, and yellow underside. Their chin is also yellow, and some other features of note are their bold white eye rings, and orangey color barely visible on the top of the males head. Females look very similar to the males but with colors that are slightly more muted. From beneath, these birds can be identified by their yellow chest, lighter almost white color near their legs, and their yellow undertail.

Range

Nashville Warblers winter in southern Mexico, western California, and some countries in Central America. In spring they spread far and wide across the United States ending up in their breeding areas in the northwestern, northeastern, and midwestern part of the state. They also breed in the southern parts of Canada.

Diet and Foraging Behavior

Nashville Warblers primarily feed on insects which they usually find high in the treetops. Some have also been known to eat suet.

Where to Find this Bird

Nashville Warblers are said to forage in the middle parts of trees, but in my experience, they are one of the birds that usually spends most of their time fairly high up in the canopy.

Northern Parula

Northern Parula – Photo by Bill Grossmeyer
Identification

Northern Parulas have a blueish gray head, wings, and rump. They have a yellow back, white wing bars, and white eye crescents. They have a yellow throat and chest with males having dark red on their chest as well. The rest of their underside is white. Females look similar but are not quite as colorful and do not have red on their chest.

Range

Northern Parulas winter in parts of eastern Central America, southeastern Mexico, the Carribean, and parts of the southern United States such as Florida and South Texas. In spring, they move north into most of the eastern United States and southeastern Canada.

Diet and Foraging Behavior

Most of the Northern Parulas diet consists of insects and spiders but they also eat fruits, and nectar.

Where to Find this Bird

Northern Parulas tend to spend most of their time in the canopy in forested areas. Sometimes the best way to find them is to listen for their “zipper” songs.

Northern Waterthrush

Northern Waterthrush – Photo by Alan Schmierer
Identification

Northern Waterthrushes have a brown back, wings, head, and tail. They have a yellowish cream-colored underside with brown streaking and a yellowish cream-colored eyebrow stripe. Northern Waterthrushes generally have more underside streaking and are more yellowish in color than Louisiana Waterthrushes, but the two species can pose identification issues.

Range

Northern Waterthrushes winter in northern South America, Central America, much of Mexico, and the Carribean. In spring they move north inhabiting an impressive number of areas including the northeastern and midwestern United States, Canada, Alaska, and even parts of the northwestern U.S.

Diet and Foraging Behavior

Northern Waterthrushes eat a variety of insects and invertebrates both aquatic and terrestrial. They wade into the water and will eat larval insects such as caddisflies. They have also been known to eat small vertebrates such as fish.

Where to Find this Bird

During migration, Northern Waterthrushes can be found along a variety of different water sources including rivers, streams, and wetlands. During their breeding season, they spend most of their time in places with standing water such as damp forests. Look for a bird near the water’s edge or in thick underbrush bobbing its tail.

Orange-crowned Warbler

Orange-crowned Warbler – Photo by Bill Grossmeyer
Identification

Orange-crowned Warblers can vary in coloration depending on region and maturity. Most of the time, they are a dull yellowish color with yellow undertail coverts and a rarely noticeable orange spot on the top of their head. However, in some regions and in immature birds, they can be grayer overall and look fairly similar to Tennessee Warblers. Orange-crowned Warblers have an eye ring that can be paler or more yellow which also depends on region and maturity.

Range

Orange-crowned Warblers winter in northern Central America, Mexico, and the southern United States, making them one of the more northern wintering warbler species. They also winter along the pacific coast of the continental United States. In spring, they move north, breeding in Canada, Alaska, and the western U.S.

Diet and Foraging Behavior

Orange-crowned Warblers have one of the most varied diets of any warbler species. They eat insects and other small invertebrates, sap, berries, seeds, suet, and even nectar from flowers. They forage in all levels of vegetation from near the forest floor to the canopy.

Where to Find this Bird

Orange-crowned Warblers will be in slightly different habitats depending on the time of the year and region. In the east, they are most easily found during migration in usual migrant stopovers. In winter, look for them in areas with thick vegetation such as woods and scrubby thickets.

Ovenbird

Ovenbird – Photo by Bill Grossmeyer
Identification

Ovenbirds have a reddish-brown back, wings, tail, and head, a white underside with black streaking, and a bold white eye ring. They have two black stripes on their crown with a thicker orange stripe in between.

Range

Ovenbirds winter in northern South America, Central America, Mexico, the Carribean, and Florida. In spring, the move north, breeding in the northeastern, and midwestern United States, as well as parts of eastern Canada.

Diet and Foraging Behavior

Ovenbirds feed primarily on insects and other invertebrates. They are known for being adaptable with their food sources and will alter their feeding style and food sources to match with what is most abundant at the time. They will even sometimes eat seeds. Most of the time they tend to forage along the ground but will also feed in bushes and trees.

Where to Find this Bird

In their breeding areas, Ovenbirds are very vocal and can be tracked down by their loud songs. Look for a bird moving along the ground when in large forests but do note that they may also be up higher in the canopy as well.

Palm Warbler

Palm Warbler – Photo by Bill Grossmeyer
Identification

Palm Warblers have a rufous colored cap, a yellow eyebrow stripe, brown wings, and a brown tail. Their throat is yellow, and their underside is varying degrees of yellow depending on the subspecies. Some other notable features are their yellow rump and yellow undertail. It’s not just the look of this species that can help identify it but also the behavior. Palm Warblers are known for bobbing their tail similar to waterthrushes, this can be a useful diagnostic clue in the field.

Range

Palm Warblers winter in Central America, western Mexico, the Caribbean, the southeastern United States, and oddly enough, western California. In spring they move north into the eastern United States and Canada. Some of the states in the continental U.S. that these birds breed in include Maine, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.

Diet and Foraging Behavior

Palm Warblers feed primarily on insects, but will also eat seeds and some fruits including berries.

Where to Find this Bird

Palm Warblers are different than many other warblers as they are not relegated to trees and thick vegetation. They will often forage along the ground and oftentimes associate more with sparrows than with other warblers.

Pine Warbler

Pine Warbler – Photo by Alan Schmierer
Identification

Pine Warblers have an olive-yellow colored head and back along with a bright yellow throat. They have gray wings with white wing bars, and a white back part of their underside. Another feature to note is their yellow eye ring. Females look very similar but are slightly paler.

Range

Pine Warblers winter in the southeastern United States and some of the islands in the Carribean. In spring, some stay in these areas to breed, but others move north, inhabiting most of the eastern United States and just barely reaching into southeastern Canada.

Diet and Foraging Behavior

Pine Warblers feed on insects and other small invertebrates. They will also eat berries and seeds, making them one of the handful of warblers that will actually over winter in colder climates and visit bird feeders.

Where to Find this Bird

During migration, Pine Warblers can be seen along with other warblers in a variety of different habitats. When in their breeding areas, they live in pine and mixed pine forests where they can be heard making a trilling call that sounds very similar to a Chipping Sparrow.

Prairie Warbler

Prairie Warbler
Prairie Warbler
Identification

Prairie Warblers have an olive-yellow colored head, dark gray wings, and a chestnut-colored patch on their back. Their throat and underside are bright yellow with black streaking. On their face they have a black and yellow pattern distinctive to the species. Female and immature birds look similar but with a grayer head and face along with more muted colors.

Range

Prairie Warblers winter in parts of Central America, the Carribean, and Florida. In spring they move north into much of the eastern United States but don’t end up nearly as far north as other eastern warbler species with only small pockets of their range being in the Midwest and Canada.

Diet and Foraging Behavior

Prairie Warblers feed on insects, spiders, and other invertebrates. They will also consume some fruits and other plants.

Where to Find this Bird

Look for Prairie Warblers in shrubby areas without dense canopy. These may include burned forests, recently logged forests or simply more scrubby areas with few large trees. Listen for their song that sounds like an ascending buzz.

Prothonotary Warbler

Prothonotary Warbler
Identification

Prothonotary Warblers have an olive-colored back, gray wings, and a bright glowing yellow head and body.

Range

Prothonotary Warblers winter in northern South America, Central America, eastern Mexico, parts of the Carribean, and some states in the southeastern U.S. In spring they move into the eastern United States where they do not make it as far north as many other eastern warblers.

Diet and Foraging Behavior

Prothonotary Warblers have diets that vary depending on the time of the year. During breeding season, they eat insects, and other invertebrates. During the nonbreeding season fruits and seeds make up a larger portion of their diet.

Where to Find this Bird

Prothonotary Warblers are sometimes known as “Swamp Warblers” because of the habitats they typically reside in. Look for these birds in swamps, flooded forests, and sometimes even marshes.

Swainson’s Warbler (Rare)

Swainson’s Warbler – Photo by Alan Schmierer
Identification

Swainson’s Warblers have a brown back, wings, tail, and cap on their head. Their underside is lighter in color raining from light gray to cream in color. These birds also have a light colored stripe just above their eye.

Range

Swainson’s Warblers winter in the Caribbean as well as some of the northern countries in Central America. In spring they move north breeding throughout the southeastern United States.

Diet and Foraging Behavior

Swainson’s Warblers feed on insects and other small invertebrates (typically those that live along the ground and in the leaf litter.) They will sometimes hawk flying insects from out of the air as well.

Where to Find this Bird

Swainson’s Warblers can be found in forests with thick understory and a lot of leaf litter. They prefer damp forests that are not flooded but still wet. Since they often reside in dense vegetation, hearing them can oftentimes be the best way to locate them.

Yellow Warbler

Yellow Warbler – Photo by USFWS Mountain-Prairie
Identification

Male Yellow Warblers are bright yellow with grayish-yellow wings and reddish-brown streaking on their chest and underside. Females look similar but aren’t quite as brightly colored and lack the streaking on their underside.

Range

Yellow Warblers winter in northern South America, Central America, parts of Mexico, the Carribean, and even a few states in the southern United States. In spring, they move north and inhabit just about every part of North America including almost all of Canada and even Alaska.

Diet and Foraging Behavior

Yellow Warblers are insectivores and actively hunt for prey, searching through leaves and branches to find a meal.

Where to Find this Bird

Yellow Warblers can be found in open areas. Some habitats to look for them in are marshes, shrubby fields, forest edges, and oak savannas.

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Myrtle Yellow-rumped Warbler
Audubon’s Yellow-rumped Warbler – Photo by Alan Schmierer
Identification

Also called “butterbutts,” the Yellow-rumped Warbler is known for a patch of yellow that can be seen right above its tail. They also have yellow patches right below their wings on their sides. Males will have a black mask, white throat and overall gray and black coloration. Females look similar to males with more brown on the top of their head and back.

In the western part of North America, Yellow-rumped Warblers are slightly different looking and have a yellow throat. This subspecies is known as the “Audubon’s” subspecies. The eastern subspecies is known as the “Myrtle” subspecies.

Range

The Yellow-rumped Warbler is one of the most common warblers in North America. Their wintering range covers many of the southern and western states and their migratory path goes through the central and eastern U.S. In Summer, they spend most of their time in Canada, some of the northern U.S. and parts of the west.

Diet and Foraging Behavior

The Yellow-rumped Warblers diet consists mostly of insects during the summer, including caterpillars, ants, grasshoppers, and spiders. During winter, their diet consists mostly of fruits. They have also been known to eat seeds. When foraging, they can be seen in any part of a tree, on the ground, or picking off bugs and returning to the same branch, much like a flycatcher. In winter, they form large flocks of almost exclusively other Yellow-rumped Warblers, but during the spring and winter, they can be found in mixed foraging groups.

Where to Find this Bird

In most states in the U.S., Yellow-rumped Warblers are common in the spring and fall while migrating through and are often seen near water.

Yellow-throated Warbler

Yellow-throated Warbler – Photo by Bill Grossmeyer
Identification

Yellow-throated Warblers have a grayish-blue back, head, and tail. They have dark wings with two wing bars. They have white markings above their eye and black by their eye going down the sides of their bright yellow namesake throat. These birds have a white underside with some black streaking and a white eye crescent on the lower part of their eye.

Range

Yellow-throated Warblers winter in Central America, parts of Mexico, the Caribbean, and parts of the southern United States. In spring they head north, breeding in the southeastern United States and as far north as Ohio and southern Wisconsin.

Diet and Foraging Behavior

Yellow-throated Warblers are insectivorous and will scour branches and conifer cones. They will also stake out flowers to pick off the insects that are attracted.

Where to Find this Bird

Yellow-throated Warblers operate in a similar way to Black-and-white Warblers climbing around tree branches. they tend to stick to the high canopy of trees however so seeing them can be a challenging task. In my personal experience, during migration this species can be seen lower to the ground while they forage.

Tennessee Warbler

Tennessee Warbler – Photo by Alan Schmierer
Identification

Tennessee Warblers have a grayish-blue head, a greenish-yellow back and wings, and a light-colored underside. Females have a more yellow colored head, and both males and females have a light-colored stripe above their eye and white undertail coverts (an important feature to differentiate them from Orange-crowned Warblers).

Range

Tennessee Warblers winter in northeastern South America, Central America, southern Mexico, and the Carribean. In spring, they move north into some of the most northern states in the continental U.S. and much of Canada.

Diet and Foraging Behavior

Tennessee Warblers feed on insects, spiders, and other invertebrates. During summer, caterpillars make up a massive part of their diet as well as spruce budworms. During the nonbreeding season they also feed on fruit and nectar from flowers.

Where to Find this Bird

Since Tennessee Warblers breed relatively far north in the continent, the best time for many people to see them is during migration. Whether during migration or on their breeding grounds, look for these birds foraging high up in the canopy flitting around the ends of branches.

Wilson’s Warbler

Wilson’s Warbler – Photo by Bill Grossmeyer
Identification

Wilson’s Warblers have an olive-colored back, grayish wings, and a yellow body. Males have a black cap on the top of their head which female and immature birds lack.

Range

Wilson’s Warblers winter in Central America, parts of Mexico, Baja California, and some states in the southern U.S. In spring, they move north, breeding in Canada, Alaska, the northwestern United States, and the most northeastern parts of New England.

Diet and Foraging Behavior

Wilson’s Warblers feed primarily on insects and other small invertebrates. They will also lap up honeydew which is a sugary substance secreted by some types of insects.

Where to Find this Bird

Wilson’s Warblers tend to reside in areas with thick understory. They will occupy forest edges as well, particularly near streams or other water sources.

Worm-eating Warbler

Worm-eating Warbler – Photo by Susan Young
Identification

Worm-eating Warblers have an olive-brown back, tan underside, and stripes on their head. They have a very long distinctive looking bill. In all, there aren’t any other warbler species in eastern North America that at all resemble this species.

Range

Worm-eating Warblers winter in Central America, southeastern Mexico, and the Carribean. In spring, they move north into the southeastern United States. Out of all eastern warbler species, Worm-eating Warblers are among some of the most southern nesting, not typically making it very high into the Midwest or the Northeast.

Diet and Foraging Behavior

Worm-eating Warblers do not actually readily consume worms, but do eat caterpillars, insects, spiders, and slugs. The name may come from their preference for caterpillars that are sometimes colloquially called “worms.”

Where to Find this Bird

Worm-eating Warblers reside in thick, dense forests and stay low near the forest floor which make them challenging to see. Listen for their trill-y calls that sound very similar to Pine Warblers and Chipping Sparrows.

Summary

Warblers are always a major highlight during migration and serve as something to look forward to every year. We hope this post has helped answer some questions about these beautiful and energetic birds.

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