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The yellow warbler has the most widespread breeding range of any wood warbler. A map of its breeding range shows that this bird breeds in most of North America north of the very southern United States with certain areas south of there also having some breeding activity.
Being abundant, this easy to identify bird is, as its name depicts, yellow in color. Males have dark streaking on the underside, where the females do not. Their legs are also yellow and their eyes dark. A noticeable trait of the yellow warbler is that they will frequently pump their tail up and down.
Migration studies of this bird have revealed complexities, as again, this bird has a large range. It is known, however, that these birds winter in Mexico, the West Indies and Central and South America and during migration can be in small groups of other yellow warblers or by themselves.
Yellow warblers, in our area, prefer habitats that are deciduous thickets and preferably concentrated with willows. Habitat studies, like the migration studies, reveal that habitats are varied due to the massive range this bird occupies.
These birds are relatively tame, even in breeding territories. Subsisting mainly on insects and spiders, they can be seen from ground level to tops of trees.
Nests built by the yellow warbler are open and cup-shaped and are located, as a rule, between three to six feet above ground level. Rarely will a nest be higher than 50 feet.
After an incubation period of about 12 days, three to six eggs hatch. This warbler is a frequently visited by the brown-headed cowbird, which lays its eggs in the warbler’s nest. It is believed the warbler can identify the cowbird’s eggs and will abandon the nest or bury all the eggs, including its own in a lower “tier” of the nest. It is unknown how may clutches occur per year. The chicks that survive will be on their own after a period of 12 days, on the average.