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Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

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Forest and Rangeland Birds of the United States

Natural History and Habitat Use

Yellow Warbler -- Dendroica petechia

RANGE: Breeds from northwestern and north-central Alaska and northern Yukon to northern Ontario, central Quebec, and southern Labrador south to Mexico, central and northeastern Texas, northern Arkansas, central Georgia, and central South Carolina. Winters from southern California, southwestern Arizona, Mexico, and southern Florida south to South America. Also resident in southern Florida.

STATUS: Common; significant population declines in Idaho and the Dakotas, and numbers are declining in many other areas.

HABITAT: Prefers moist habitats such as willow- and alder-lined streams and ponds, brushy bogs, and the edges of marshes, swamps, or creeks. Also occurs in dry sites such as hedgerows, roadside thickets, orchards, farmlands, forest edges, and suburban yards and gardens. Generally occurs wherever patches of trees or shrubs grow, but avoids heavy forests. In the Florida Keys, only inhabits coastal mangroves.

SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Small scattered trees or dense shrubbery.

NEST: Usually builds nest in an upright fork or crotch of a tree or bush, typically 3 to 8 feet, occasionally up to 40 feet, above the ground. May nest colonially in ideal habitats. Frequently victimized by cowbirds; builds up the nest lining to cover the cowbird eggs.

FOOD: Forages for insects and spiders on the limbs of shrubs and trees by gleaning and hawking.

REFERENCES: Bent 1953a, Bigglestone 1913, DeGraff et al. 1980, Griscom and Sprunt 1979, Johnsgard 1979, Schrantz 1943, Tate and Tate 1982, Vickery in Farrand 1983c.

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