Northern Parula (Setophaga americana)

23 May

A small warbler of the upper canopy, the Northern Parula flutters at the edges of branches plucking insects. It hops through branches bursting with a rising buzzy trill that pinches off at the end. Its white eye crescents, chestnut breast band, and yellow-green patch on the back set it apart from other warblers.

Northern Parulas breed in mature forests along streams, swamps, and other bottomlands. They’re closely associated with mosses or lichens that grow on the branches of canopy trees. They eat spiders and many kinds of insects, particularly caterpillars. They also eats beetles, moths, ants, wasps, bees, flies, locusts, and others. During the breeding season, they occasionally eat bud scales, and on wintering grounds they sometimes eat berries, seeds, or nectar.