Looking up


This Prairie Warbler was singing a pretty song near my house this morning.

Song is a rapid series of ascending buzzes. Calls vary; most common is a “chek” note.

This is my first Prairie Warbler and my 50th Florida bird.

A tail-wagging yellow warbler with black streaks down its sides, the Prairie Warbler is found in scrubby fields and forests throughout the eastern and south-central United States, not on the prairies.

Go figure.

American Bird Conservancy…

Contrary to its name, the Prairie Warbler is a bird of scrubby fields, clearcuts, and open woods, where it can be located by its buzzy, ascending song, tail-pumping habit, and black-streaked yellow plumage. This species has a bold facial pattern that gives it a “spectacled” appearance.

Like other early successional species such as Golden-winged and Kirtland’s Warblers, Prairie Warbler numbers have declined due to habitat change. Along with other migratory birds, they also face threats ranging from collisions with glass to free-roaming cats.

A separate subspecies of Prairie Warbler is resident in Florida; these birds are slightly larger than migratory individuals and nest in mangroves.

From a Mass Audubon blog

Natives of more western states than Massachusetts might scoff at the scrubby clearings that we Easterners call “prairies,” but such areas provide perfect habitat for the Prairie Warbler. This species abhors forests, and breeds in shrubby clearings and only the most open woodlands. Both human-caused and natural disturbances have created plenty of Prairie Warbler breeding habitat in the Commonwealth over the past several centuries. However, as forests reassert themselves, Prairie Warblers stand to lose habitat as a result of this natural succession.

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