Yellow Warblers Return

Yellow warblers (Setophaga petechia) inhabit second growth and shrubby areas, often associated with streamsides. They favor willows and aspens. Our ranch definitely does not provide that type of environment. As a consequence yellow warblers do not frequent our yard. The last time we saw these little yellow balls of fluff on our property was about ten years ago – until yesterday.

Yellow warblers are long-distance migrants. They nest from the Arctic Circle to Mexico in North America. Winters are spent in Central and South America. A small flock of yellow warblers, passing though, stopped to feed on insects in our domestic plum and pear trees and also on the box elders around the house (near Lookout Ca in Modoc County).

These entirely yellow birds have olive yellow on the upper tail, nape, back and rump. The remainder of the body is bright yellow. Males have chestnut streaks on their breasts and sides while females are duller and have less distinct or absent streaking. The black eye and black bill stand out against the yellow head.

Unfortunately the yellow warblers did not stay long. I was delighted to see one of my favorite birds, even if only for a short while.


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