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MAGNOLIA WARBLER; BLACK AND YELLOW WARBLER. Dendroica maculosa [Setophaga magnolia]

5.12 in.

Ad. ♂.— Head ashy; cheeks and back black; large patch of white on the wing; all the tail-feathers tipped with black for some distance, all but the central ones white above the tips; rump yellow; under parts yellow; breast and sides heavily streaked with black. Ad. ♀.– Similar, but duller. Im.— Upper parts gray; back greenish in strong light; rump and under parts yellow; tail as in adult.

Nest, from three to six feet up, in coniferous trees. Eggs, white, marked with brown at the larger end.

The Black and Yellow Warbler is a migrant through southern New York and New England, common in western New England and in the Hudson Valley, fairly common in eastern New England. It arrives about the tenth of May, passes north before the end of that month, and returns in September, and early October. On migration the Black and Yellow seems to prefer evergreens, but when abundant, it is found in all suitable places. It is a common summer resident in the Canadian Zone, from the edge of the spruce belt northward. It delights in the pasture spruces, the thick growth of healthy young trees, whose lower branches sweep the hillsides; but it will live in almost any growth that contains spruce, even high up the mountain-sides.

The song is as characteristic a sound of the smaller patches of spruce as that of the Yellow-rump is of the more extensive tracts. Generally it suggests the syllables weely, weely, wichy, with a rising inflection at the close, but there are several variations, which can be learned only after long practice. The song generally has more character than that of the Yellow-rump. The alarm-note is a rather sharp chip; the bird has other short notes, one of which is a tizic, resembling the song of the Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, but thinner and drier (F. H. Allen).


Magnolia Warbler

The Prairie, the Canada, and the Cape May are the other warblers whose yellow under parts are streaked with black. Neither the Prairie nor the Canada shows white on the wing: the Prairie has no ashy-gray or black on the upper parts; the Canada has no white in the tail. A study, too, of [their Figures], will show the difference in the pattern of black and yellow. The much rarer Cape May, which, like the Black and Yellow, has a yellow rump and white on the wing, may be distinguished by the black crown. In all plumages the tail of the Black and Yellow is a good field-mark; even when closed it shows white halfway down, and extensive black tips.

MYRTLE WARBLER; YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER. Dendroica coronata [Setophaga coronata]
5.65 in.

Ad. ♂.— Upper parts gray, with a bluish tinge in strong light; rump and small crown-patch yellow; wing bars white; cheeks black; throat white; sides of upper breast black, of lower breast yellow; belly white; three outer tail-feathers with large white spots. Ad. ♂. — Upper parts browner; less black below. Ad. in winter and Im.— Yellow crown-patch partly hidden by brownish; back brownish; breast washed with brownish; rump yellow; outer tail-feathers spotted with white.

Nest, in coniferous trees, five to ten feet up. Eggs, grayish white, spotted with brown.

The Yellow-rumped Warbler is the only member of its family which winters in New York and New England; it is found in winter from Ipswich, Mass., south ward along the sea-coast wherever bayberries are abundant. It has even been found at Pine Point, Scarboro, Me., in January. Early in April the Yellow-rumped appears as a migrant, and early in May it becomes abundant. A few migrants occasionally reappear late in August, but the great host, now in their winter plumage, pass through late in September and through October. It breeds commonly in the extensive spruce forests of northern New York and New England; sparingly in Worcester and Berkshire counties, Mass., and here and there on the upland of southern New Hampshire and Vermont, wherever there are patches of spruce; in the southern part of its range it breeds occasionally in white pine groves.

The song is difficult to learn; it generally consists of two sets of phrases composed of the syllables wee-see-see-see, the second sometimes in a lower, sometimes in a higher key than the first, but neither of them at all sharp or decided. In spring it gleans insects from the twigs of trees, or flies out from the branches to catch the little winged creatures that swarm at this season; its yellow rump is now often hard to see, but the bird may be recognized, if seen from below, by the large black patches on the breast and the yellow patches lower down. Note also its white throat; it is the only white-throated warbler, except the Chestnut-sided, that has any yellow in its plumage. In winter, when it adds bayberries to its insect fare, it feeds in low bushes; when it flies up, the bright yellow rump and the spots of white on the outer tail-feathers make an unfailing fieldmark.


Myrtle Warbler

BLACK-THROATED BLUE WARBLER. Dendroica [Setophaga] corulescens

5.28 in.

Ad. ♂.— Upper parts grayish-blue; a white patch in the wing; throat, and sides of head, sides of breast, and belly black; rest of breast and belly white. Ad. ♀.— Upper parts brownish or grayish, tinged with green in strong light; line over eye dull yellowish-white; white wing-patch smaller than in male; under parts dingy yellowish. Im. ♂.— Similar to ad. ♂, but upper parts tinged with olive-green, the black somewhat veiled with white. Im. ♀.- Similar to ad. ♀.

Nest, in a low bush or sapling, often in laurel, hemlock, or yew, two feet or less from the ground. Eggs, white, spotted with brown, chiefly at the larger end.

The Black-throated Blue Warbler is a common summer resident of northern New York and New England from Berkshire County, Mass., northward, and a rather common migrant through southern New England and the lower Hudson Valley, passing north in May, and returning in September and early October. It is less common as a migrant in eastern Massachusetts than in western Massachusetts or in the Hudson Valley. In summer it frequents, in the southern part of its range, cool woods of deciduous trees, beech, maple, and birch, where its drawling notes are as characteristic as those of the Black and Yellow Warbler in the spruces. The song varies somewhat in form and in length: a common form consists of three rather pure notes with a downward inflection, followed by a fourth, hoarse note with rising inflection, whee-a whee-a whee-a whee-ee; another common form consists of one short introductory note and two upward hoarse notes, the whole given rapidly. The hoarse drawling character of the last notes will always serve to identify the song. The alarm-note is a rather heavy chuck.

The male is unmistakable; the female and young are rather puzzling birds, unless one can make out the small white spot on the wing, and the whitish line over the eye.


Black-throated Blue Warbler

YELLOW WARBLER; SUMMER YELLOWBIRD. Dendroica æstiva [Setophaga petechia]

5.10 in.

Ad. ♂.– Entire bird yellow or yellowish; the crown in good light bright yellow; the upper parts greenish-yellow; wings and tail brownish; the breast streaked with reddish-brown. Ad. ♀.– Like the ♂, but crown not brighter than the back, breast not streaked with reddish-brown.

Nest, a neat gray cup in the fork of a bush or low tree. Eggs, bluish-white or greenish-white, spotted with brown, generally in a wreath around the larger end.

The Yellow Warbler is a summer resident of New York and New England, arriving late in April or early in May, and leaving about the middle of August; a few migrants from the north are seen in September. It is common in central and southern New England and in the lower Hudson Valley, and frequents orchards and gardens, even in large cities; in the hilly country of western Massachusetts and in northern New England it is much less common, and is generally confined to the valleys of the large streams and their tributaries. It is active, and a constant singer, uttering its bright song from the morning of its arrival to that of its departure. The song has two forms: one loud and incisive, like the syllables weel-chee, chee, chee, chee'wee, the other less sharp and strong. (See under Chestnut-Sided Warbler) The alarm-note is a rather loud chip.

There is hardly any bird with which the Yellow Warbler can be confused: none of the other warblers is so yellowish above, except the Blue-Winged Warbler; the Goldfinch has black and white wings and tail, and a black forehead. (See, also, Nashville Warbler.)


Yellow Warbler

CAPE MAY WARBLER. Dendroica tigrina [Setophaga trigrina]
5.00 in.

Ad. ♂.– Crown blackish; patch back of eye orange-brown or chestnut; back streaked with black; white patch on the wing; rump yellow; under parts yellow, streaked with black. Ad. ♀.– Upper parts gray; rump yellowish; under parts white, tinged with yellowish and streaked with dusky brown; white wing-bar very narrow.

The Cape May Warbler is a very rare migrant through New York and New England, generally occurring only when the other migrating warblers are unusually abundant. It should be looked for in the height of the spring migration, about the middle of May, and again late in August and September. It is probably less rare in western New England, and is reported as tolerably common in the fall at Sing Sing (Chapman). From 1871 to 1875 it bred “really abundantly in the coniferous forests about Lake Umbagog in western Maine” (Brewster), but is now rarely found breeding even in northern New England.

The song resembles the Black-poll's quite closely; it has been described as peculiarly “faint and listless, monotonous zee-zee-zee-zee,, “- sometimes with three zees, sometimes with four, but always in an unhurried monotone” (Torrey).

A male in spring plumage could be confused only with the Black and Yellow Warbler, from which its black crown and orange-brown ear-coverts should distinguish it.

NORTHERN PARULA WARBLER. Compsothlypis americana usner [Setophaga americana]
4.73 in.

Ad. ♂.— Upper parts and sides of head grayish-blue, with a patch of greenish-yellow in the middle of the back; wing-bars white; throat and breast yellow, washed across the upper breast with chocolate-brown; belly white. Ad. ♀.— Upper parts as in male; breast without the brown band.

Nest, of usnea, generally in a pendent bunch of the same moss. Eggs, white, speckled with reddish-brown about the larger end.

The Parula Warbler breeds in swamps or deep moist woods, wherever the trees are hung with the long gray usnea moss. It is, therefore, found in summer in the white cedar swamps of Cape Cod, southern Rhode Island, and Connecticut, and throughout the damp forests of Berkshire County, Mass., and northern New York and New England. In the vicinity of New York city, however, and throughout most of southern New England, including the neighborhood of Boston, it occurs chiefly as a migrant. It is often very common throughout May, and again in late September and early October. It may then be seen wherever migrating warblers are found, - in the village streets, about houses, and along the edges of streams or swamps. It generally keeps well up in the tops of trees, where it often clings like a Chickadee to the ends of small twigs. Like many of our other warblers the Parula has two songs: one is easy to learn, a series of zee-like notes, which rise quickly and end in a little zip, as if one were winding up a little watch; the other, though of a less distinctive form, has the same hoarse quality.

This is our smallest warbler, and should be confused with no other bird, if one can get a view of the bluish head, the yellow throat, and white wing-bars.

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