Warblers are a lifetime study. Only a few nest in the Toronto area. We see others, if we are lucky, during migration. If you were to visit the northern bush habitat of many species during the breeding season, it would still be difficult to find these tiny birds given the vast vegetation. I have heard the Ovenbird sing thousands of times but have only seen the one which struck a neighbour’s window in migration. Warbler songs are useful in identification but many sound alike until you have heard them dozens of times. Every spring, I listen repeatedly to a CD of warbler songs in order to refresh my memory.
NORTHERN PARULA WARBLER
The Parula Warbler is a bluish warbler.
It has a yellow throat and breast
and two conspicuous white wing bars.
The male has a dark band across the breast.
BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER
The Black-throated Green Warbler has a bright yellow face
a black throat
and an olive-green crown.
BLACK and WHITE WARBLER
The Black and White Warbler is striped lengthwise with black and white.
It has a striped crown
and white stripes on the back.
The Blackpoll Warbler is striped
The male has white cheeks
and a black cap.
The female is less heavily streaked and is greenish-gray above and white below.
BLACK-THROATED BLUE WARBLER
The upper parts of the male are clean-cut
and blue-gray in colour.
Throat and sides are black
and the belly is white.
Magnolia Warblers are black and yellow.
The upper parts are blackish.
There are white wing patches on the wings and tail.
Underparts are yellow with heavy black stripes.
Yellow-rumped Warblers have a bright yellow rump.
The male in spring is dark blue-gray above.
There is a yellow patch before each wing.
The female is brownish.
CAPE MAY WARBLER
Cape May Warblers are yellow below and striped with black.
They have chestnut cheeks,
a yellow rump
and a black crown.
The Chestnut-sided warbler has chestnut sides
and a yellow cap.
The male is dark-looking with a chestnut throat,
and chestnut upper breast and sides.
There is a large spot of pale buff on the cheek.
The female is paler, more washed-out.
The Blackburnian Warbler has a “fire throat.”
They are black and white
with flaming orange on the head and throat.
Males are black
with bright orange patches on the head and throat.
Females are olive-brown
with yellow patches on the wings and tail.
Bright yellow breasted warbler lacking other conspicuous field marks.
The breast is dimmly steaked.
There are white wing bars.
The Palm Warbler is brown above,
yellowish or white below
and narrowly streaked.
The chestnut cap is seen in spring.
The Yellow Warbler is the yellowist of all warblers.
Even the tail is largely yellow.
Males have rusty breast streaks.
Females do not.
The Orange-crowned Warbler is a dingy warbler without wing bars or other distinguishing field marks.
It is olive-green above
and greenish yellow below.
The breast is faintly streaked.
The Nashville Warbler has a white eye-ring
and a yellow throat.
The head is gray
contrasting with an olive-green back.
The male has a black mask
and a yellow throat.
Females do not have a black mask.