Species Spotlight: Prairie Warbler

© Prairie Warbler by David Johnson
© Charles J. Sharp/Wikimedia Commons

Looks like: This warbler is yellow with black streaks down its sides and an olive-green underbelly. They bob their tails when perched.

Lives in: Fields and forests with plenty of shrubs.

Niche: The prairie warbler eats insects and spiders from leaves and branches and sometimes while in flight.

Threats: Loss of shrubs in fields from agriculture or in forests from development and over-browsing by deer.

Frequency: Common in spring and summer; uncommon in fall

Reproduction: Mating occurs in mid-April to early May soon after arrival. This warbler builds open nests from plant fibers, grass, moss, and feathers and places them in trees or shrubs. Eggs are pale brown or grey with spots. Chicks hatch in about 2 weeks and then fledge about 10 days later.

Fun facts: After chicks hatch, females eat the egg shells, which provide a good source of calcium. The Prairie Warbler’s call sounds like “zee-zee-zee-zee” with a steady rise in pitch.