Birds – Chestnut-sided Warbler

(Dendroica pennsylvanica)


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

Male—Top of head and streaks in wings yellow. A black line running through the eye and round back of crown, and a black spot in front of eye, extending to cheeks. Ear coverts, chin, and underneath white. Back greenish gray and slate, streaked with black. Sides of bird chestnut. Wings, which are streaked with black and yellow, have yellowish-white bars. Very dark tail with white ‘patches on inner vanes of the outer quills.

Female—Similar, but duller. Chestnut sides are often scarcely apparent.

Range—Eastern North America, from Manitoba and Labrador to the tropics, where it winters.

Migrations—May. September. Summer resident, most common in migrations.

In the Alleghanies, and from New Jersey and Illinois north-ward, this restless little warbler nests in the bushy borders of woodlands and the undergrowth of the woods, for which he for-sakes our gardens and orchards after a very short visit in May. While hopping over the ground catching ants, of which he seems to be inordinately fond, or flitting actively about the shrubbery after grubs and insects, we may note his coat of many colors—patchwork in which nearly all the warbler colors are curiously combined. With drooped wings that often conceal the bird’s chestnut sides, which are his chief distinguishing mark, and with tail erected like a redstart’s, he hunts incessantly. Here in the garden he is as refreshingly indifferent to your interest in him as later in his breeding haunts he is shy and distrustful. His song is bright and animated, like that of the yellow warbler.