Golden-winged Warbler – The diminishing bird species that is set to make a turn around

Since 1966 Sixty six percent reduction in population has been experienced by the Golden-winged Warbler, the amazingly hyperactive humming bird that dares to migrate miles across from north eastern America, the breeding ground, to the cold and wintry areas of South and Central America. The alarming rate of population decline has drawn the attention of bird conservationists who have given utmost priority in restoring the number of the species that have suffered heavily due to loss of habitat.

There are other reasons too that have contributed to the decline of the species – the hybridization with its compatriot the Blue winged Warbler. The parasitic behavior of cowbirds that lay its eggs in the nest of the endangered species has further worsened the survival possibilities. All these issues are being addressed by bird conservationists and there are reasons to become optimistic about significant improvement in the population within the next fifty years.

Golden-winged Warbler - The diminishing bird species that is set to make a turn around

Identifying the species

The slim frame of the Golden-winged Warbler is easy to be identified by its silvery grey color with golden streaks on the wings and head . The color pattern distinguishes it from its peer the Blue winged Warbler with whom it produces the offspring of a new hybrid species that comes in golden or grey hues. The short tail is just right for the slim body that supports a small head with yellow crown and a thin, black and a pointed bill that is sharp. Had it not been for its distinct color, there was every possibility of confusing it with a chickadee.

Behavior and living

Insects like spiders, moths, caterpillars are the staple food of these birds that forage among shrubs and bushes, often dangling from the edges and hopping along the branches while inspecting closely for food. During the first 3 to 4 weeks of the breeding season the male golden wings get highly vocal and bold and get engaged in bouts of loud singing to express their exuberance. During courtship, males chase the females and flick their tails and raise their crowns when approaching a prospective mate. They make their intentions clear by performing flight displays at a casual pace with slow flapping of wings. Monogamy is prevalent among the males of this species.

Setting up a nest

The female Golden-winged Warbler is responsible for setting up the nest and selecting the site for it. The edge of a field that is shaded and located near a forest border is the preferred site for setting up the nest or it can also be on the ground that is open and grassy. The nest is usually completed within 1 to 3 days.

Early successional or young forests are the ideal places for breeding of the golden wings while the most preferred foraging areas are the matured forests. Minnesota can be considered to be the place where there is heavy concentration of population of this bird species. Tennessee, Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin are the other places where these birds can be found.

For spotting these birds, May and June are the best months.