: A Little Gem of the Eastern Forest
The Prairie Warbler, also known by its scientific name Setophaga discolor, is a small yet colorful bird that inhabits the eastern United States during breeding season. Here’s what you need to know about this feathered friend.
## Basic Description
Prairie Warblers are petite birds with an average length of 4.5 inches and a wingspan of about 7 inches. The males have bright yellow undersides with black streaks and olive-green backs, while females have a more muted greenish-yellow coloration overall. Both sexes have distinctive chestnut-colored patches on their heads that can resemble sideburns or a bandana.
## Where To Find This Bird
During breeding season (late April to early August), Prairie Warblers can be found in open woodlands, scrubby fields, and shrubby areas from southern Canada down to Florida and as far west as Texas. They prefer habitats with young trees or bushes that provide ample cover for nesting but still allow them to forage for insects.
Despite their name, Prairie Warblers do not typically inhabit prairies or grasslands – they prefer more forested environments like oak savannas or pine barrens. During migration, however, these birds will venture into more open spaces like golf courses or gardens where they can find food.
Prairie Warblers are primarily insectivorous and feed on a variety of small arthropods such as caterpillars, spiders, beetles, and flies. They hunt by gleaning prey off leaves or branches using quick hops rather than sustained flights.
## Cool Facts
– Prairie Warblers have one of the largest geographic ranges among warbler species.
– Despite being called “prairie” warblers they don’t actually migrate over prairie lands.
– These birds build cup-shaped nests made of grasses and plant fibers near the ground in shrubs.
– Prairie Warblers are able to recognize their own eggs and will remove any foreign ones laid in their nests.
– The scientific name Setophaga means “moth-eating” because many warbler species were originally thought to feed exclusively on moths.
In conclusion, the Prairie Warbler may be small but it brings a pop of color and energy to eastern forests during breeding season. Keep an eye out for these little gems next time you’re out exploring nature!