How to Attract Warblers

How to Attract Warblers

BE AWARE THAT HABITAT TYPE MORE THAN ANY OTHER FACTOR, WILL IN MOST CASES, DICTATE THE SPECIES OF BIRD THAT VISIT YOUR PROPERTY. 

Description: An absolute favorite of birdwatchers, warblers are the small, brightly colored, swiftly moving songbirds that grace most Americans with their presence only in spring and summer before migrating to warmer (and sometimes tropical) climates for the winter. These awesome birds tend to be among the most challenging to find due their aforementioned size and quickness but also their general preference for mature forests away from human activity, in addition to their lack of interest in bird feeders. Warblers feed almost exclusively on insects – especially caterpillars, so promoting an insect habitation is very important. Warblers require trees, shrubs, bushes, and flowers to find they insects they crave. Forest edge habitats (where an open habitat meets the forest) are often a fantastic place to look for warblers since the edge usually contains many layers of foliage in the form of trees, shrubs, and native flowers. Note that Warblers like layers - some spend most of their time on the ground or low in the shrubbery, while others forage high in the tallest trees. Warblers have a special affinity for Oak and Maple Trees (probably because they host a lot of caterpillars). Warblers are sedentary and most don’t like to bring attention to themselves, if they sense movement by a larger creature (including photographers) they will likely scatter, so approaching them in a strategic and camouflaged fashion is vital. Warblers are attracted to water (including the sound of moving water) so natural sources or a birdbath may also aid in your attempt to find or attract them. Some warblers, especially closer to migration will eat wild berries and a few may visit bird feeders.

Overview

Identification:

  • Small-sized birds
  • Distinctive songs
  • Short bills and wings
  • Many different color combinations: everything from the fiery orange Blackburnian Warbler to the intense blue shade of the Black-Throated Blue Warbler

Habitat:

  • Warblers appear in a great variety of habitat but most are found in some sort of woodland or forest – especially with thick understory
  • Many are seen in wooded backyards during migration
  • Most migrate to South or Central America

Eating Habits:

  • INSECTS (ESPCECIALLY CATERPILLARS) + SPIDERS
  • Occasionally small fruits/berries
  • Not common at bird feeders

Nesting:

  • Evergreen or deciduous trees, shrubs, or saplings

Top Ways to Attract Warblers

Insect Habitation     Forest/Woodland Habitat    Birdbath     Oak     Maple

Trees & Shrubs that Attract Warblers

See: Promoting Insect Habitation for Birds for list of trees & shrubs that attract the most insects

                                                      American Elderberry (Nesting, Fruit)    Eastern Hemlock (Nesting)     Eastern White Pine (Nesting)      Maple (Nesting)                                                                         Northern Bayberry (Favorite of Yellow-Rumped Warbler)     Oak (Nesting)    Serviceberry (Fruit)     Willow (Nesting)               

Flowers & Vines that Attract Warblers

See: Promoting Insect Habitation for Birds for list of flowers & vines that attract the most insects

Pokeweed (Fruit)     Virginia Creeper (Fruit)

Attracting Warblers with a Bird Feeder (Uncommon)

Feeder Type:    Platform     Suet Feeder

Feed:    Mealworms     Suet