Golden-winged warbler populations have shown such a dramatic decline in recent years that the bird is currently being considered for listing as threatened under the Federal Endangered Species Act. Only four of these little songsters were banded at the museumís station in 2010.
The golden-winged warbler prefers a certain stage of brushy plant growth, such as that found in open woodlands, abandoned fields, and pasture edges. The species may make its home in an area of such growth for many years, moving on when plant life grows beyond the brushy stage. However, the loss of this type of habitat to development and reforestation makes it increasingly difficult for the birds to find similar habitat in new areas.
Another factor affecting the population of this warbler is the increasing range of the related blue-winged warbler. The blue-winged warbler seems to be more aggressive in maintaining its territory, pushing the golden-winged warbler out of preferred nesting areas. Hybridization between the two warbler species is also contributing to a decline in pure forms of both birds. Pennsylvania is home to important populations of the golden-winged warbler, and may be critical for overall tracking of the speciesí stability.
Photo: Robert Royse