Birds – Canadian Warbler

(Sylvania canadensis) Wood Warbler family


Length—5 to 5.6 inches. About an inch shorter than the English sparrow.

Male—Immaculate bluish ash above, without marks on wings or tail; crown spotted with arrow-shaped black marks. Cheeks, line from bill to eye, and underneath clear yellow. Black streaks forming a necklace across the breast.

Female—Paler, with necklace indistinct.

Range—North America, from Manitoba and Labrador to tropics. Migrations—May. September. Summer resident ; most abundant in migrations.

Since about one-third of all the song-birds met with in a year’s rambles are apt to .be warblers, the novice cannot devote his first attention to a better group, confusing though it is by reason of its size and the repetition of the same colors in so many bewildering combinations. Monotony, however, is unknown in the warbler family. Whoever can rightly name every warbler, male and female, on sight is uniquely accomplished.

The jet necklace worn on this bird’s breast is its best mark of identification. Its form is particularly slender and graceful, as might be expected in a bird so active, one to whom a hundred tiny insects barely afford a dinner that must often be caught piece-meal as it flies past. To satisfy its appetite, which cannot but be dainty in so thoroughly charming a bird, it lives in low, boggy woods, in such retreats as Wilson’s black-capped warbler selects for a like reason. Neither of these two “flycatcher” warblers depends altogether on catching insects on the wing; countless thousands are picked off the under sides of leaves and about the stems of twigs in true warbler fashion.

The Canadian’s song is particularly loud, sweet, and vivacious. It is hazardous for any one without long field practice to try to name any warbler by its song alone, but possibly this one’s animated music is as characteristic as any.

The nest is built on the ground on a mossy bank or elevated into the root crannies of some large tree, where there is much water in the woods. Bits of bark, dead wood, moss, and fine rootlets, all carefully wrapped with leaves, go to make the pretty cradle. Unhappily, the little Canada warblers are often cheated out of their natural rights, like so many other delightful song-birds, by the greedy interloper that the cowbird deposits in their nest.