Warblers In Washington (ID, Song, Season Guide)

Discover a comprehensive guide that will assist you in identifying the diverse array of warbler species commonly found in Washington. Equipped with photo identification, detailed descriptions, audio recordings of their melodious songs, and intriguing fun facts, this guide offers much more than you anticipate.

Warblers, these petite migratory songbirds, embark on remarkable journeys, traversing vast distances from South America to breeding grounds as far-reaching as Canada. Their vibrant plumage, adorned with hues of yellow and green, dazzles the eyes as they swiftly maneuver between their breeding and wintering grounds.

Wood-warblers, also known as North American warblers, predominantly inhabit woodland areas and forests. However, be wary of “warbler neck,” a discomforting condition characterized by stiff neck muscles and tingling sensations that arise from gazing skyward through binoculars in search of these elusive creatures perched atop trees.

While warblers predominantly feast on insects, they occasionally visit backyard feeders in search of seeds or mealworms. Uncover a wealth of information about other bird species that regularly frequent Washington and obtain a complimentary identification chart.

This comprehensive guide not only aids in identifying the various warbler types spotted in Washington but also provides valuable insights gleaned from Avibase, incorporating real data contributed by avid birdwatchers through ebird. Acquire accurate information regarding the best times to spot these avian marvels.

Delve into the enchanting melodies of warblers as you explore their songs and acquaint yourself with the distinct vocalizations of different warbler species. Additionally, refer to a supplementary guide featuring 13 easily recognizable warbler songs to assist you further in your identification endeavors.

Warblers in Washington by Season

Warblers in Washington throughout the year: Yellow-rumped Warbler, Townsend’s Warbler, Northern Waterthrush

Warblers in Washington during summer: Common Yellowthroat, Orange-crowned Warbler, Yellow Warbler, Wilson’s Warbler, Black-throated Gray Warbler, MacGillivray’s Warbler, Nashville Warbler, Yellow-breasted Chat, Hermit Warbler, American Redstart

Warblers in Washington during winter: Palm Warbler

Warblers in Washington during migration: Tennessee Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler

Washington’s Array of Warbler Species:

1. Yellow-rumped Warbler

Witness the presence of Yellow-rumped Warblers during the breeding season in Washington, with their numbers soaring during migration periods from March to May and September to October.

While some individuals remain during winter, they are predominantly recorded in 11% of summer checklists, 6% of winter checklists, and up to 38% of checklists throughout migration.

Yellow-rumped Warblers feature gray plumage adorned with splashes of yellow on the face, sides, and rump, accompanied by white wings. Female counterparts may display a slightly browner appearance, while winter birds showcase paler brown shades, accentuated by vibrant yellow rumps and sides that gradually transition to yellow and gray as spring approaches.

This species encompasses two subspecies—the Myrtle Warbler found in the eastern US and boreal forests of Canada, characterized by the absence of a yellow throat, and Audubon’s Warbler inhabiting the western region, which exhibits more extensive white wing patterns.

  • Setophaga coronata
  • Length: 4.7-5.5 inches (12-14 cm)
  • Weight: 0.4-0.5 ounces (12-13 g)
  • Wingspan: 7.5-9.1 inches (19-23 cm)

Yellow-rumped Warblers primarily breed in Canada, the Rockies, and the Appalachian mountains. During migration, they grace the Midwest before seeking refuge in southern and southwestern US states, the Pacific Coast, Mexico, and Central America.

Coniferous forests serve as ideal habitats for Yellow-rumped Warblers during the breeding season. As winter sets in, they can be found in open areas featuring fruiting shrubs. Their diet primarily consists of insects during summer and migration, transitioning to a fruit-based diet comprising bayberry and wax myrtle during winter.

Yellow-rumped Warbler Song:
Credit: Christopher McPherson, XC602699. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/602699.

Females construct nests within conifer trees, utilizing twigs, pine needles, and grass while lining them with soft grass, moss, and hair. The incubation period spans approximately two weeks, followed by an additional two weeks for the fledglings to venture forth from the nest.

To entice Yellow-rumped Warblers to visit your backyard, provide them with sunflower seeds, suet, raisins, and peanut butter.

Fun Fact: During winter, Yellow-rumped Warblers congregate in flocks, often numbering in the thousands. Their territorial nature manifests as aggression towards intruding species.

2. Common Yellowthroat

Common Yellowthroats grace Washington during the breeding season, with their presence predominantly noted from April to October, accounting for 14% of summer checklists submitted by dedicated birdwatchers across the state.

Distinguished by their brownish backs and vibrant yellow underbellies, Common Yellowthroats captivate observers with their diminutive size and elongated tails. Males bear black masks across their faces, while the brightness of their yellow plumage may vary geographically, occasionally assuming olive tones underneath.

  • Geothlypis trichas
  • Length: 4.3-5.1 inches (11-13 cm)
  • Weight: 0.3-0.3 ounces (9-10 g)
  • Wingspan: 5.9-7.5 inches (15-19 cm)

Common Yellowthroats breed across the majority of North America, excluding Alaska and northern Canada. While some individuals remain along the Gulf Coast and Pacific Southwest throughout the year, they embark on a southerly migration for the winter.

Marshy or wetland areas and brushy fields serve as favored habitats for Common Yellowthroats, where they reside amidst dense, entangled vegetation.

Common Yellowthroat Song:
Credit: Paul Marvin, XC629250. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/629250.

Nest construction by female Common Yellowthroats occurs near the ground within marshy regions, supported by reeds. These nests are woven from grass and sedges, complemented by a foundation of leaves and grass. A clutch of up to six eggs requires approximately twelve days to hatch, followed by an additional fourteen days before the fledglings leave the nest.

To allure Common Yellowthroats to your backyard, create an environment rich in dense vegetation and native plants that attract insects.

Fun Fact: The black mask sported by male Common Yellowthroats serves as a visual cue to courting males, triggering aggressive responses when simulated birds lacking masks are introduced.

3. Orange-crowned Warbler

During the breeding season, Orange-crowned Warblers can be observed in Washington, although they are more commonly seen during migration. They make appearances in around 10% of summer checklists and up to 21% of checklists during the spring migration.

With their yellow-olive plumage, Orange-crowned Warblers may not exhibit as vibrant colors as other warbler species. However, the yellow tones are more pronounced along the Pacific Coast. Interestingly, their orange crown is rarely visible. Both males and females have a similar appearance, while juveniles display a grayer hue.

  • Leiothlypis celata
  • Length: 4.3-5.5 inches (11-14 cm)
  • Weight: 0.3-0.4 ounces (7-11 g)
  • Wingspan: 7.5 inches (19 cm)

Breeding primarily in Canada, western US states, and Alaska, Orange-crowned Warblers embark on a journey to the Pacific, East, and Gulf Coasts, as well as Mexico during migration. They can be spotted in nearly all US states during their migratory periods, except for the northeastern region.

Shrubs and low vegetation serve as the preferred habitats for Orange-crowned Warblers. They breed in open woodlands and have a diet mainly comprising spiders and insects like caterpillars, flies, and beetles. Additionally, they occasionally consume fruits, berries, and seeds, making regular visits to backyard feeders.

Orange-crowned Warbler Song:
Credit: Paul Marvin, XC671865. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/671865.

Nests built by Orange-crowned Warbler females are situated near or on the ground, constructed from dead leaves, twigs, stems, and lined with soft grass and animal hair. These warblers lay up to six eggs within their intricately woven nests.

To attract Orange-crowned Warblers to your yard, offer suet, peanut butter, or set up hummingbird feeders filled with sugar water nectar.

Fun Fact: Orange-crowned Warblers have been observed drinking from the sapwells created by sapsuckers and woodpeckers.

4. Yellow Warbler

Yellow Warblers frequent Washington during the breeding season, arriving in April and embarking on their migratory journey by October. They can be spotted in up to 14% of summer checklists.

Dressed in vibrant yellow plumage with a touch of green on their backs, male Yellow Warblers exhibit chestnut streaks on their breasts. Females and juveniles possess a more subdued appearance compared to their male counterparts and lack the distinctive streaks.

Setophaga petechia
Length: 4.7-5.1 inches (12-13 cm)
Weight: 0.3-0.4 ounces (9-11 g)
Wingspan: 6.3-7.9 inches (16-20 cm)

Yellow Warblers undertake a long-distance migration to breed in Canada and the United States, excluding the southeastern states. Following the breeding season, they venture into Central and South America for winter. However, during migration, they can be observed in the southeastern states of the US.

Streams, wetlands, thickets, and field edges serve as prime locations to find Yellow Warblers as they forage for insects like caterpillars, midges, beetles, bugs, and wasps.

Yellow Warbler Song:
Credit: Richard E. Webster, XC662546. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/662546.

Nests crafted by Yellow Warblers are situated in small trees or shrubs, meticulously woven using bark, grass, and plant materials secured with spider webs. The cup-shaped nests are lined with softer materials such as hair, feathers, and plant down. A clutch of up to seven eggs requires approximately twelve days to hatch, with the young leaving the nest about ten days later.

To attract Yellow Warblers to your backyard, provide suet, oranges, peanut butter, and plant native species that bear berries. Embrace a natural approach by avoiding pesticides and maintaining a slightly untidy environment that attracts insects. Consider placing birdbaths with fountains near secluded plantings to offer protection.

Fun Fact: Yellow Warblers face the challenge of brood parasitism by cowbirds. If they detect cowbird eggs in their nest, Yellow Warblers will build a new nest on top of the old one, repeating this process up to six times!

5. Wilson’s Warbler

Western Washington hosts Wilson’s Warblers during the breeding season, while the rest of the state becomes a migratory path for them. They are mainly observed from April to September.

Wilson’s Warblers captivate with their tiny, rounded bodies adorned in yellow feathers. The males feature a large black cap, while the females display a smaller black cap.

  • Cardellina pusilla
  • Length: 3.9-4.7 inches (10-12 cm)
  • Weight: 0.2-0.3 ounces (5-10 g)
  • Wingspan: 5.5-6.7 inches (14-17 cm)

Breeding takes place in Canada, Alaska, and northwestern US states, with migration leading them through all US states. Winter becomes their season in Mexico and Central America.

Wilson’s Warblers thrive along streams, particularly within thickets and near forest edges, where they diligently search for insects, larvae, and spiders.

Wilson’s Warbler Song:
Credit: Thomas G. Graves, XC561438. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/561438.

Nests woven by Wilson’s Warbler females remain concealed on the ground, close to trees or shrubs. These nests incorporate leaves, sedges, grass, and are lined with soft grass and animal hair. Around five eggs are laid, requiring approximately eleven days to hatch, followed by an additional ten days for the fledglings to leave the nest.

While Wilson’s Warblers do not typically visit feeders, you can attract them to your backyard by incorporating native trees and shrubs into the landscape.

Fun Fact: Wilson’s Warblers distract potential nest predators by feigning a broken wing, luring them away before abruptly flying off.

6. Townsend’s Warbler

Townsend’s Warblers are known to spend the breeding season in Washington, with some individuals also wintering in the western part of the state. Their numbers increase significantly during migration, particularly in May.

These small birds exhibit striking black and yellow plumage. Males boast black crowns, cheeks, and throats, accompanied by yellow eyebrows, a crescent-shaped yellow mark beneath the eye, and yellow bellies. Their yellow upper backs are adorned with black spots, while their wings feature two white wingbars. Females possess a lighter coloration but share similar patterns. However, they lack the distinct black throat seen in males. Juveniles have even lighter coloring, with olive-green backs, crowns, and cheeks, and they lack the black throat, although their chests may display light-colored streaks.

  • Setophaga townsendi
  • Length: 4.75-5 inches (12-13 cm)
  • Weight: 0.3 ounces (9 g)
  • Wingspan: 7.5-8 inches (19-20 cm)

Breeding occurs in western Canada, northwestern US states, and Alaska. During migration, Townsend’s Warblers can be found across all US states. They spend the winter in Mexico and Central America.

Tall, dense coniferous forests within the coastal belt and mountainous regions serve as favored habitats for Townsend’s Warblers. They have a preference for areas with pine, oak, alder, madrones, and laurels.

Townsend’s Warblers are skilled foragers, searching among twigs and branches for insects like caterpillars, bugs, beetles, and leafhoppers. They may also hover among foliage to capture their prey.

Townsend’s Warbler Song:
Credit: Paul Marvin, XC710935. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/710935.

Nests built by Townsend’s Warbler females are situated high up in trees, typically on top of branches. They construct these nests using grass stems, moss, barks, and line them with feathers and animal hair.

To attract Townsend’s Warblers to your backyard during the winter, provide mealworms, peanut butter, and suet. These vibrant birds often visit backyard feeders when temperatures drop.

Fun Fact: Townsend’s Warblers were named after American ornithologist John Kirk Townsend.

7. Black-throated Gray Warbler

Black-throated Gray Warblers make their presence known in Washington during the summer, appearing in approximately 4% of checklists during this time. They arrive in April and begin their migration in October.

These warblers exhibit black-and-white streaked plumage, with a gray back and a yellow spot located in front of their eyes. Males possess more black on their throats compared to females.

  • Setophaga nigrescens
  • Length: 4.3-5.1 inches (11-13 cm)
  • Weight: 0.3 ounces (7-10 g)
  • Wingspan: 7.5-7.8 inches (19-19.7 cm)

Black-throated Gray Warblers breed in western and south-central US states, as well as along the coast of British Columbia. They migrate to Mexico for the winter.

These warblers can be found foraging for insects on trees in woodlands and shrubs.

Black-throated Gray Warbler Song:
Credit: Paul Marvin, XC648117. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/648117.

Nests constructed by Black-throated Gray Warbler females are typically located in trees, built from bark, grass, and moss. They lay up to five eggs.

Fun Fact: Despite being easily observed and not shy birds, there is still limited knowledge about Black-throated Gray Warblers.

8. MacGillivray’s Warbler

MacGillivray’s Warblers can be found in Washington during the breeding season, primarily from April to September. They are recorded in around 4% of checklists during this time.

These warblers possess a small yet robust body structure. Males display slate gray heads, black bands across their eyes, and grayish spots that transition to black from under the bill to the throat. Females, on the other hand, have light-gray heads and throats without any black markings. Both genders feature olive-gray backs, yellow bellies, and partial eyerings in the shape of a white crescent.

  • Geothlypis tolmiei
  • Length: 5.25 inches (13 cm)
  • Weight: 0.4 ounces (11 g)
  • Wingspan: 8.25 inches (21 cm)

MacGillivray’s Warblers predominantly breed in northwestern US states and western Canada before embarking on their migration to Mexico and Central America.

These warblers can be found in areas abundant with dense shrubbery and vegetation. They thrive in shady thickets near streams, logged forests with fallen trees, or burned areas with dead trees.

MacGillivray’s Warblers primarily forage on the ground, hopping or flying low to search for insects such as beetles and caterpillars.

MacGillivray’s Warbler Song:
Credit: Bobby Wilcox, XC667171. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/667171.

Nests of MacGillivray’s Warblers are concealed within thick shrubs, positioned between one to five feet above the ground. Some nests may even be located on the ground within tall weeds and ferns. These nests are constructed using weed stems, barks, and dry grass, with the interior lined with softer materials. Female MacGillivray’s Warblers lay three to six eggs, which they alone incubate for approximately eleven days.

Fun Fact: MacGillivray’s Warblers were named after Dr. W. MacGillivray, a friend of John James Audubon. The scientific name “tolmiei” was chosen as a compromise between MacGillivray’s name and Dr. W. T. Tolmie, who had already named the species “Tolmie’s Warbler.”

9. Nashville Warbler

Nashville Warblers begin to arrive in Washington during April and initiate their migration in September. They are observed in approximately 3% of checklists during this time.

These warblers sport mostly yellow plumage, with a green back and gray heads featuring a white eye-ring. Females and juveniles possess less vibrant colors than males, and they showcase distinct white bellies between their yellow breasts and under their tails.

Leiothlypis ruficapilla
Length: 4.3-5.1 inches (11-13 cm)
Weight: 0.2-0.5 ounces (6.7-13.9 g)
Wingspan: 6.7-7.9 inches (17-20 cm)

Nashville Warblers breed across northeastern US states and Canada, with a smaller population also found in northwestern US states and British Columbia. They can be observed in most US states during migration.

These warblers can be found in scrubby habitats, low deciduous forests, and thickets, where they actively forage for insects.

Nashville Warbler Song:
Credit: Peter Ward and Ken Hall, XC512262. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/512262.

Nests built by Nashville Warbler females are situated close to the ground and are constructed using bark, moss, and grass, woven together to form a cup. These nests are lined with pine needles, soft grass, and animal hair. The females lay around five eggs, with an incubation period of twelve days, followed by an additional ten days for the young to fledge.

To attract Nashville Warblers to your backyard during the winter, consider providing suet.

Fun Fact: During their initial migration, Nashville Warblers follow the Atlantic Coast. However, subsequent migrations occur inland.

10. Yellow-breasted Chat

Yellow-breasted Chats are known to spend the breeding season in Washington and are observed in approximately 2% of checklists during the summer, primarily from May to September.

These birds are characterized by their bright yellow breasts and long tails. They have olive-gray plumage on their backs, gray heads with white eye and chin markings, and white lower bellies.

  • Icteria virens
  • Length: 7.1 inches (18 cm)
  • Weight: 0.8-1.1 ounces (23-31 g)
  • Wingspan: 9.8 inches (25 cm)

Yellow-breasted Chats breed across most of the United States and extend into southern Canada. During winter, they migrate to Central America and coastal Mexico.

Yellow-breasted Chats are commonly found in blackberry bushes, fields, and forest edges, where they actively feed on spiders, insects, and berries.

Yellow-breasted Chat Song:
Credit: Peter Ward and Ken Hall, XC512276. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/512276.

Nests built by Yellow-breasted Chat females are concealed in shrubs and constructed using grass, leaves, and plant materials woven into a cup shape. These nests are often targeted by Brown-headed Cowbirds, which lay their eggs in them, leading the Yellow-breasted Chats to raise their chicks.

The females lay up to six eggs, with an incubation period of approximately eleven days, followed by another ten days for the young to leave the nest.

Fun Fact: Male Yellow-breasted Chats engage in territorial disputes by grappling with their feet. They also perform a dramatic flight display while singing, descending towards the ground before making a sudden thump with their wings.

11. Hermit Warbler

The Hermit Warbler is a delightful sight during the summer in Washington, particularly in the southwest region from April to September.

With their vibrant yellow heads, Hermit Warblers bring a touch of cheerfulness to the birdwatching scene. The males boast striking black throats, while females have less pronounced black markings. Juveniles, on the other hand, display gray throats. Their grayish-white chests and bellies, coupled with two white wingbars and gray backs, complete their charming appearance. Interestingly, males have additional streaking on their flanks, a feature absent in females and juveniles.

  • Scientific name: Setophaga occidentalis
  • Length: 5 inches (13 cm)
  • Weight: 0.3 ounces (9 g)
  • Wingspan: 7.75 inches (20 cm)

Hermit Warblers breed along the West Coast and migrate to Mexico, Central America, and sometimes even further south.

These delightful warblers favor high pine, Douglas-fir, spruce, and coniferous trees during the breeding season. As winter arrives, they relocate to pine-oak forests.

Similar to their warbler counterparts, Hermit Warblers feed on insects and spiders, often hanging upside down from branches to search for larvae and pupae under leaves.

Listen to the beautiful song of the Hermit Warbler:
[Credit: Paul Marvin, XC150324. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/150324]

When it comes to nesting, Hermit Warblers opt for high locations in the trees. Their nests are skillfully constructed using stems, grass, twigs, and pine needles, providing a cozy cup-shaped abode. The female lays a clutch of three to five eggs, which she diligently incubates for approximately twelve days.

Fun Fact: Hermit Warblers have been known to hybridize with Townsend’s Warblers, and intriguingly, female Hermit Warblers seem to show a preference for mating with male Townsend’s Warblers, but not the other way around.

12. American Redstarts

American Redstarts, although not very common in Washington, have occasionally been spotted during the summer months.

American Redstarts exhibit a distinct appearance with their mostly black plumage adorned with vibrant orange patches and a contrasting white belly. While males sport this striking coloration, females adopt an olive-gray hue with yellow patches.

  • Scientific name: Setophaga ruticilla
  • Length: 4.3-5.1 inches (11-13 cm)
  • Weight: 0.2-0.3 ounces (6-9 g)
  • Wingspan: 6.3-7.5 inches (16-19 cm)

These warblers breed in eastern US states, Canada, and extend into northwestern US states. During migration, they may be observed in central and western US states.

American Redstarts can be found in deciduous woodlands, where they diligently hunt for insects. They are also known to visit backyards and thickets, relishing the berries of serviceberry and magnolia.

Listen to the melodious song of the American Redstart:
[Credit: Nick Kiehl, XC522368. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/522368]

When it comes to nesting, American Redstarts tend to build their nests near the trunk of trees or in large shrubs. Their nests are skillfully crafted from bark, grass, and other plant materials. Typically, they lay up to five eggs, which hatch in under two weeks, and the young birds leave the nest within a week or two.

To attract American Redstarts to your backyard, consider planting native plants that attract insects. Additionally, including berry-producing plants like bayberry or hawthorn can provide them with a food source.

Fun Fact: Surprisingly, American Redstart parents selectively feed certain chicks rather than feeding all of them uniformly.

13. Northern Waterthrush

The Northern Waterthrush, although not very common in Washington, has been spotted throughout the year, particularly in the northeastern part of the state.

Northern Waterthrushes possess a distinctive appearance reminiscent of thrushes. Both males and females exhibit brown heads adorned with thick, white eyebrows. Their dark brown backs contrast with their white bellies, which showcase heavy dark streaking extending from their throats to their rumps.

  • Scientific name: Parkesia noveboracensis
  • Length: 5.75 inches (15 cm)
  • Weight: 0.8 ounces (23 g)
  • Wingspan: 8.75 inches (22 cm)

Northern Waterthrushes breed in Canada, Alaska, and northeastern US states before embarking on their migration to Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean. Some individuals may choose to remain in these regions throughout the year.

These unique warblers prefer dark, woody swamps, thickets, and bogs, often found near still or sluggish water in forests. In winter, they seek refuge among mangroves in tropical regions.

With their long legs, Northern Waterthrushes exhibit an interesting foraging behavior. They can gracefully walk on shallow water surfaces, searching for water beetles, mosquitoes, slugs, crustaceans, snails, and occasionally small fish. Additionally, they feed on caterpillars, moths, and ants, which they discover beneath leaves.

Listen to the captivating song of the Northern Waterthrush:
[Credit: Jeff Dyck, XC416169. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/416169]

Nests of the Northern Waterthrush are often concealed within moss or near the roots of trees. These nests are skillfully constructed using grass, weeds, pine needles, bark strips, and roots. The female lays a clutch of three to six eggs, which she incubates for approximately two weeks.

Fun Fact: Unlike most warblers, Northern Waterthrushes prefer walking on the ground rather than hopping. Their unique walking style involves bobbing their tails, giving them an appearance of being slightly off balance.

14. Palm Warblers

Palm Warblers, although not frequently sighted in Washington, may be observed during winter, particularly in the western part of the state.

Palm Warblers exhibit a distinct appearance with a rusty red patch atop their heads and a brown-olive coloration across the rest of their bodies. In the western population, individuals tend to have whiter bellies. Notably, males and females share similar plumage during the breeding season, while non-breeding birds display duller crowns.

  • Scientific name: Setophaga palmarum
  • Length: 4.7-5.5 inches (12-14 cm)
  • Weight: 0.3-0.5 ounces (7-13 g)
  • Wingspan: 7.9-8.3 inches (20-21 cm)

Palm Warblers predominantly breed in Canada and can be observed during migration in eastern US states. Some individuals spend their winters in Florida, along the southeastern coast, and even further south.

Spotting Palm Warblers becomes more likely during the spring and fall migrations when they can be found in weedy fields, forest edges, and scrubby areas. These active foragers often search for insects along the ground, frequently mingling with other bird species such as Sparrows, Juncos, and Yellow-rumped Warblers.

Listen to the unique song of the Palm Warbler:
[Credit: Richard E. Webster, XC189604. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/189604]

When it comes to nesting, Palm Warblers prefer bogs and boreal forests.

They construct their nests on the ground, utilizing grass, sedge, and ferns woven into a cup shape. The nests are then lined with soft grass, feathers, and animal hair. Typically, Palm Warblers lay around five eggs.

To attract Palm Warblers to your backyard, consider planting native plants that attract insects. Additionally, bayberry or hawthorn plants, which produce berries, can serve as an enticing food source.

Fun Fact: Unlike most warblers, Palm Warblers have a unique walking behavior. Rather than hopping, they gracefully walk on the ground while continuously bobbing their tails, which adds to their distinctive charm.

15. Tennessee Warblers

Although not commonly sighted, Tennessee Warblers have been occasionally observed during migration in Washington.

Tennessee Warbler males feature gray heads, green backs, and pale whitish underparts. Females exhibit a greener plumage with yellow undertones and green heads. Males possess a white eyestripe, while females display a yellow eyestripe. Both genders have white undertail coverts.

  • Scientific name: Leiothlypis peregrina
  • Length: 3.9-5.1 inches (10-13 cm)
  • Weight: 0.3-0.3 ounces (8-10 g)
  • Wingspan: 7.5-7.9 inches (19-20 cm)

Tennessee Warblers embark on a remarkable journey, migrating all the way from Central America to Canada. During migration, they can be spotted across eastern US states.

These warblers are commonly found foraging on trees and shrubs, primarily hunting caterpillars in woodlands.

Listen to the beautiful song of the Tennessee Warbler:
[Credit: Christopher McPherson, XC444969. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/444969]

Nests of Tennessee Warblers are often concealed in moss or tree roots. Constructed from grass and weeds, these nests provide a safe haven for the birds. The female lays a clutch of approximately six eggs, which take around twelve days to hatch. After hatching, it takes roughly the same amount of time for the young to fledge from the nest.

Fun Fact: Interestingly, Tennessee Warblers acquired their name not because they breed or spend a significant amount of time in Tennessee, but rather because Tennessee was the place where they were first spotted and subsequently named.

16. Black-and-white Warblers

While not frequently seen in Washington, Black-and-white Warblers have been spotted during migration in the state.

Black-and-white Warblers possess a distinctive appearance, making them relatively easy to identify. Males exhibit a large black patch across their eyes and cheeks, appearing darker than females.

Scientific name: Mniotilta varia
Length: 4.3-5.1 inches (11-13 cm)
Weight: 0.3-0.5 ounces (8-15 g)
Wingspan: 7.1-8.7 inches (18-22 cm)

These warblers breed in the eastern United States and Canada, while spending their winters in Florida, along the Gulf Coast, and extending through Mexico, Baja California, the Caribbean, and northern South America. During migration, they can be observed in central US states.

Black-and-white Warblers are often spotted hopping up and down tree trunks and branches in forests, diligently searching for insects.

Listen to the captivating song of the Black-and-white Warbler:
[Credit: Christopher McPherson, XC600300. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/600300]

Nests of Black-and-white Warblers are typically hidden near or on the ground, often concealed underlogs or shrubs. Constructed from bark, grass, and pine needles woven into a cup shape, the nests provide a secure environment for the birds. A typical clutch consists of around five eggs, which take approximately eleven days to hatch. The young birds spend an additional ten days in the nest before fledging.

17. Chestnut-sided Warblers

Chestnut-sided Warblers are not commonly sighted in Washington; however, there is a possibility of spotting them during migration.

Chestnut-sided Warbler males exhibit bright yellow crowns, black masks, and gray underparts with chestnut-colored sides. During winter, the males molt into a green and white plumage, resembling breeding females.

  • Scientific name: Setophaga pensylvanica
  • Length: 4.7-5.5 inches (12-14 cm)
  • Weight: 0.4-0.5 ounces (10.7-14.3 g)
  • Wingspan: 7.5-8.3 inches (19-21 cm)

Breeding populations of Chestnut-sided Warblers can be found in northeastern US states and southeastern Canada. During migration, they can also be observed across eastern US states.

These warblers can be found along forest edges and in thickets, where they actively search for insects. They exhibit a particular affinity for forests that have undergone disturbance, such as those regenerating after fires, logging, or floods.

Listen to the melodious song of the Chestnut-sided Warbler:
[Credit: Christopher McPherson, XC600739. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/600739]

Nests of Chestnut-sided Warblers are typically situated low to the ground in trees and shrubs. Constructed from grass, weeds, and bark woven into a cup shape, the nests are lined with softer materials. A typical clutch contains up to five eggs, which take around twelve days to hatch. The young birds remain in the nest for approximately eleven days before venturing out.

Fun Fact: Chestnut-sided Warblers exhibit a unique preference for regenerating forests. Once these forests reach a mature state after about ten years, the warblers seek out other suitable habitats for breeding.

Frequency of Warbler Sightings in Washington during Summer and Winter

To gain insight into the common occurrence of warblers in Washington, one can consult checklists that record bird sightings. The following percentages reflect the frequency of warbler sightings on eBird checklists during summer and winter in the state:

Warblers in Washington during summer:

– Yellow Warbler: 15.2%
– Common Yellowthroat: 14.9%
– Wilson’s Warbler: 14.0%
– Yellow-rumped Warbler: 12.6%
– Orange-crowned Warbler: 10.5%
– Black-throated Gray Warbler: 4.9%
– MacGillivray’s Warbler: 4.4%
– Townsend’s Warbler: 4.2%
– Nashville Warbler: 3.1%
– Yellow-breasted Chat: 2.1%
– American Redstart: 0.4%
– Hermit Warbler: 0.4%
– Northern Waterthrush: 0.1%
– Black-and-white Warbler: <0.1%
– Chestnut-sided Warbler: <0.1%
– Palm Warbler: <0.1%
– Tennessee Warbler: <0.1%

Warblers in Washington during winter:

– Yellow-rumped Warbler: 6.7%
– Townsend’s Warbler: 2.6%
– Orange-crowned Warbler: 0.6%
– Palm Warbler: 0.1%
– Northern Waterthrush: 0.1%
– Common Yellowthroat: <0.1%
– Tennessee Warbler: <0.1%
– Wilson’s Warbler: <0.1%
– Hermit Warbler: <0.1%
– Nashville Warbler: <0.1%
– MacGillivray’s Warbler: <0.1%
– Yellow Warbler: <0.1%
– Black-throated Gray Warbler: <0.1%
– Black-and-white Warbler: <0.1%

How to Attract Warblers to Your Backyard

While warblers may not be as commonly attracted to backyard feeders as other songbirds, there are several strategies to invite these melodious birds into your yard:

1. Provide trees if your yard has sufficient space.
2. Create brush piles and avoid excessive tidiness to provide habitat for insects, a valuable food source for warblers.
3. Refrain from using pesticides or herbicides to ensure the availability of insects without posing any harm to birds.
4. Install a clean water source, such as a birdbath, for warblers to drink and bathe.
5. Offer mealworms as a food option. Live mealworms are preferred, but dried ones can be used if live ones are unavailable.
6. Place bird feeders with sunflower seeds, peanut hearts, and suet, which can attract warblers along with other bird species.

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