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Yellow Warblers

by Jacob Crider
Now is the time to venture into the woods and wetlands to spot many of Kentucky’s migratory warblers! Mostly insectivorous, a multitude of warble species will arrive in spring to glean emerging insects from leaving trees and shrubs. Some are merely passing through the state to reach boreal and coastal habitats to the north, and others will nest in the temperate habitats found in the Eastern U.S.
Yellow Warblers (Setophaga petechia) are one of our most abundant warblers with a wide distribution in North America, being found in all 50 states and most of Canada and Mexico. These bright yellow birds sport orange-red chest stripes and a sharp pointy beak. Yellow warblers can be seen in a variety of habitats during migration and in their breeding range but prefer areas near water. Dwelling in forests, fields, wetlands, or shrubby thickets, these birds are incredibly active as they hop from branch to branch to catch little insects such as caterpillars, insect larvae, flies, mosquitoes, and beetles. At CMNP, listen for their quiet and high pitched “sweet sweet sweeter than sweet” song in willow groves near the cattail marsh, and along the many creeks and streams within the preserve.

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