Chestnut-Sided Warbler

Chestnut-Sided Warbler (Setophaga pensylvanica)

Chestnut-sided warbler

Chestnut-sided warbler./T. Berriman

General: These brightly colored warblers live in dense habitats including old fields, shrubby areas, cutover woodlands, and streamside thickets. Chestnut-sided warblers forage by flitting between branches of shrubs and small trees, finding insect prey among leaves and twigs and darting out to catch flying insects in midair. They hide their nests low in dense shrubs, blackberry tangles, rhododendron stands, or saplings of alder, maple, and other hardwood shrubs and trees. They are frequently found in areas where timber harvests or fires have removed older trees.
chestnut-sided warbler
Status: Chestnut-sided warblers increased in abundance between the late 1800s and early 1900s in response to the dense regrowth that sprang up following the extensive clearing of Eastern and Midwestern forests. Since the middle of the twentieth century, the population of these warblers has slowly but steadily fallen, most likely in response to a loss of habitat as regrowing woodlands have become too mature for them to use and from forest and old fields being lost to agriculture and urban and suburban development.

Click on the map at left to see a larger image.

How to Help Chestnut-Sided Warblers: Local populations will increase in response to forest management techniques, including clearcut timber harvesting leading to densely regrowing trees and shrubs. Managers should retain scattered shrubs and both live and standing dead trees in clearcut areas, so that male chestnut-sided warblers can use them as singing perches.

Both public and private landowners can make this kind of habitat. The Young Forest Guide explains how.

For more detailed information on this animal, including references to scientific papers, download Under Cover: Wildlife of Shrublands and Young Forest. This publication can also be purchased from the Wildlife Management Institute.

Visiting a habitat demonstration area within this species' range is a good way to increase your chances of seeing chestnut-sided warblers and other young forest wildlife.