One of the hallmarks of spring is the return of the warblers, which encompass some of the smallest birds found in both North and South America. There are over 118 species of these New World warblers (aka Wood-warblers), known for their long migrations every fall to tropical areas, returning north during their breeding season in the spring.
Smaller than sparrows, warblers are highly active, the majority living and foraging in trees, flitting from branch to branch and scampering along tree trunks and limbs. Warblers are insectivores, specializing in their foraging areas and behaviors to avoid competition with other birds. This type of specialization has helped support the diversity of this Parulidae bird family.
Males in the spring are usually adorned with bright feathers, attracting the females with both their color and songs. (Note: The Merlin app by Cornell Ornithology is free and a great way to identify the birds by their songs).
On a more challenging note, some warbler species (Golden-cheeked warbler) are now endangered due to destruction and loss of habitat.
Featured Warbler of the week: Black and White Warbler
For more information:
Parulidae: Wood Warblers
New World warblers