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Yellow Warbler
Setophaga petechia

Length: 12 – 13 cm. Weight: 9 – 11 g.

The Yellow Warbler’s song is easy to remember. It sounds like it’s saying “sweet, sweet, sweet, I’m so sweet” – which is very fitting!

While many wood-warblers have some amounts of yellow, this species merits its name by being more extensively yellow than the others. Adult males are the sunniest, and have reddish-brown streaking across the breast. Adult females and immature birds are paler yellow overall, and may be yellow-green, grayish, or brownish in places.

The Yellow Warbler breeds in every Canadian province and territory. Look for it in wet thickets and brushy areas, including farmland, urban parks, and roadsides. Keep an especially close eye on willows and dogwoods.

Yellow Warbler nests are often parasitized by Brown-headed Cowbirds. If warbler parents discover a cowbird egg in their nest, they may respond by building a new nest over top. This process is sometimes repeated four or five times, creating a stack of nests over 14 cm tall! Most Yellow Warblers winter in Mexico, Central America, and South America. This species is among the most-frequently banded birds at Long Point Bird Observatory – over 22,160 have been banded there since 1960. Its populations are reasonably stable across most of the country, but there are some regions experiencing declines.

(Photo: May Haga)