This is a bird of the treetops, occurring sparingly throughout the spruce country of Ontario, often concentrating where outbreaks of spruce budworm occur. They winter in the West Indies.
Adult males, with their rufous ear patches contrasting with yellow “jowls”, are unmistakable. Females and young still show some yellow below and behind the dusky cheeks, which together with the yellowish rump will distinguish them from Blackpoll, Black-throated Greens and dingy fall Yellow-rumped Warblers.
The high-pitched “swee-swee-swee” song is characteristic, but the alternate “see-wee — see-wee-see-wee” is much like the song of the Bay-breasted Warbler.