With a seemingly unlimited combination of melodies, these migrating wonders lure us with their subtle, varied voices. Songs range from the ’s repeated wheezy, wheezy, wheezy, the blue-winged’s bee-buzz rasp and the familiar sweet, sweet, sweet,I’m so sweet of the .
are known to lay eggs in the nests of many warblers, particularly those of yellow warblers—but the warblers have a way of fighting back!
To handle the intruder’s eggs, a female warbler will often build another nest on top of all the existing eggs and lay additional eggs. One yellow warbler nest was noted for reaching six layers deep.
Psst—these will make you want to go birding.
Most warblers have thin, tweezerlike beaks that are ideal for snatching up insects. One exception is the prothonotary warbler’s strong beak, which is sometimes used for probing in bark or dead wood.
Find out more about and how to attract them.
Many bird-watchers eagerly anticipate the . The yellow-rumped, pine and black-and-white warblers are often spotted in March or April as one of the first signs of the spring migration season.
Meet the beautiful sky blue .
Warblers primarily , including spiders, caterpillars and beetles. But some, including yellow-rumped and , may visit backyard feeding stations for , , hulled sunflower seeds or peanut butter smeared into the nooks of trees.
Look for a during spring migration.
All warblers that visit North America migrate, but the champions are the . Some of these robust fliers travel up to 12,400 miles round trip from Alaska to South America every year. Their impressive path in fall includes flying nonstop for three days over the Atlantic Ocean, covering about 1,800 miles during that time.
Learn how to identify a .
It’s not one-location-fits-all when it comes to warbler nests. The cuplike nests, built out of grass, bark and other plant materials, might be nestled in the crook of a tree or shrub, suspended within reeds and sedges, or nestled upon the ground.
build nests in hanging clusters of Spanish moss or beard lichen. And prothonotary and Lucy’s warblers create homes in existing holes in trees. Some backyard birders may even be able to attract these with nest boxes.
Attract a with a birdhouse.
Although many warblers eat berries during fall migration, are uniquely adapted to take advantage of this food option in winter. They can digest the waxy coating of bayberries, and even poison ivy berries when insects are scarce. Their ability to switch to berries allows them to winter in sections of the eastern and western U.S .
Learn all about the acrobatic .
Warblers happily pluck insects or slugs from the ground or off leaves and bark. Some species, such as the and the , even demonstrate their skills by snatching their prey in midair.
Look and listen for in spring.
Like hummingbirds, some warblers gather to assist in their nest construction. These sticky webs also offer hungry fliers an opportunity to pluck insects that get caught in the threads.
Enjoy breathtaking .
Most warblers are extremely tiny and light, weighing less than half an ounce. That’s about as much as a pencil!
They arrive in the spring sporting their bright, well-known plumage, making them a fun discovery for both new and experienced bird-watchers. But by late summer, some of their nonbreeding feathers, making them less obvious and trickier to spot.
Next, discover the top to visit in spring.