Golden-winged Warbler: Female

Golden-winged Warblers breed in tangled, shrubby habitats such as regenerating clearcuts, wet thickets, tamarack bogs, and aspen or willow stands. They tend to occur in wetland habitats more often than the closely related (and competitive) Blue-winged Warbler. Recent radio-tracking studies have discovered that Golden-winged Warblers move into mature forests immediately after fledging. This means that mosaics of shrubby, open areas (for nesting) and mature forest habitats (which offer cover for fledglings from like predators like hawks) are important landscape features. Historically periodic natural disturbances would create this patchy habitat—wildfires or flooding from beaver dams created a patchwork of shrubby openings amid a largely forested landscape.

The early 20th century was good to Golden-winged Warblers, as settlers cleared forest openings for settlement and farming. But as the century progressed, many of those cleared areas grew back into forests, and humans prevented natural disturbances from opening up new pockets of nesting areas. Since the 1960s, Golden-winged Warbler habitat has decreased by an estimated 22 percent in the Great Lakes region and 43 percent in the northern Appalachians. On their wintering grounds, Golden-winged Warblers live in semiopen woodlands, as well as bird-friendly coffee farms under a forest canopy.

Fun Fact

Golden-winged parents may use trickery to protect their young from predators. Adults feeding nestlings have been observed repeatedly carrying food down other plant stems away from the nest, possibly as a decoy, when they detected humans nearby.



Flight Calls


Sounds and images provided by Macaulay Library.