(Helminthophila ruficapilla) Wood Warbler family
Length4.75 to 5 inches. About an inch and a half smaller than the English sparrow.
MaleOlive-green above; yellow underneath. Slate-gray head and neck. Partially concealed chestnut patch on crown. Wings and tail olive-brown and without markings.
FemaleDull olive and paler, with brownish wash underneath.
RangeNorth America, westward to the plains; north to the Fur Countries, and south to Central America and Mexico. Nests north of Illinois and northern New England ; winters in tropics.
MigrationsApril. September or October.
It must not be thought that this beautiful warbler confines itself to backyards in the city of Nashville simply because Wilson discovered it near there and gave it a local name, for the bird’s actual range reaches from the fur trader’s camp near Hudson Bay to the adobe villages of Mexico and Central America, and over two thousand miles east and west in the United States. It chooses open rather than dense woods and tree-bordered fields. It seems to have a liking for hemlocks and pine trees, especially if near a stream that attracts insects to its shores ; and Dr. Warren notes that in Pennsylvania he finds small flocks of these warblers in the autumn migration, feeding in the willow trees near little rivers and ponds. Only in the northern parts of the United States is their nest ever found, for the northern British provinces are their preferred nesting ground. One seen in the White Mountains was built on a mossy, rocky ledge, directly on the ground at the foot of a pine tree, and made of rootlets, moss, needles from the trees overhead, and several layers of leaves out-side, with a lining of fine grasses that cradled four white, speckled eggs.
Audubon likened the bird’s feeble note to the breaking of twigs.