Birds – Magnolia Warbler

(Dendroica maculosa) Wood Warbler family


Length—4.75 to 5 inches. About an inch and a half smaller than the English sparrow.

Male—Crown of head slate-color, bordered on either side by a white line ; a black line, apparently running through the eye, and a yellow line below it, merging into the yellow throat. Lower back and under parts yellow. Back, wings, and tail blackish olive. Large white patch on the wings, and the middle of the tail-quills white. Throat and sides heavily streaked with black.

Female—Has greener back, is paler, and has less distinct markings.

Range—North America, from Hudson Bay to Panama. Summers from northern Michigan and northern New England northward ; winters in Central America and Cuba.

Migrations—May. October. Spring and summer migrant.

In spite of the bird’s name, one need not look for it in the glossy magnolia trees of the southern gardens more than in the shrubbery on New England lawns, and during the migrations it is quite as likely to be found in one place as in the other. Its true preference, however, is for the spruces and hemlocks of its nesting ground in the northern forests. For these it deserts us after a brief hunt about the tender, young spring foliage and blossoms, where the early worm lies concealed, and before we have become so well acquainted with its handsome clothes that we will instantly recognize it in the duller ones it wears on its return trip in the autumn. The position of the white marks on the tail feathers of this warbler, however, is the clue by which it may be identified at any season or any stage of its growth. If the white bar runs across the middle of the warbler’s tail, you can be sure of the identity of the bird. A nervous and restless hunter, it nevertheless seems less shy than many of its kin. Another pleasing characteristic is that it brings back with it in October the loud, clear, rapid whistle with which it has entertained its nesting mate in the Canada woods through the summer.