Golden-Winged Warbler (Vermivora chrysoptera)
General: The males of this small warbler species have a striking yellow-and-black plumage. In their northern breeding range, golden-winged warblers live in both uplands and lowlands. During spring and summer they nest in old fields thick with weeds and with a low-to-moderate density of shrubs; males use scattered trees or woodland edges for singing perches. Golden-winged warblers also breed on recently logged lands where small trees are growing back densely. The nest is on the ground, hidden by foliage at the base of a shrub or grass or sedge tussock.
Status: The golden-winged warbler's population has declined significantly throughout its range because of habitat loss caused by forests maturing, and perhaps because of interbreeding with the closely related blue-winged warbler (Vermivora cyanoptera), which uses similar habitats. The golden-wing is considered a Species of Greatest Conservation Need in many states.
How to Help Golden-Winged Warblers: Boost local populations through controlled burning or logging operations that leave a few trees standing on the site. Clearcuts offer good breeding habitat once herbaceous and shrubby vegetation establish themselves, and usually remain as decent golden-wing habitat for around 10 years. Both public and private landowners can make young forest habitat. The Young Forest Guide explains how.
Click on the map at left to see a larger image.
To learn more, visit the website of the Golden-Winged Warbler Working Group. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology offers Resources for Landowners and Land Managers. The Resources section of this website also provides information about golden-winged warblers and their habitat.
For more detailed information on this animal, including references to scientific papers, see 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 golden-winged warblers and other young forest wildlife.