Bird of the Week, August 31, 2012
Hermit Warbler


 

Hermit Warbler by Bill Hubick

 

Because it lives in the tops of some of the tallest trees on the planet, the Hermit Warbler is more easily heard than seen. This flashy, yellow-headed warbler’s nesting behavior is still largely unknown due to the dizzying height of its nests, which are placed as high as 120 feet. The species feeds by gleaning insects from the middle and outer portion of tree branches, often hovering to capture its prey.

 

Though Breeding Bird Survey data show that Hermit Warbler populations have remained stable since the late 1960s, the species faces threats due to loss and management of habitat on both the breeding and wintering grounds.

 

Since Hermit Warblers breed only in coniferous forests with a well-developed canopy, they are negatively impacted by logging. Hermit Warblers also hybridize with, and in many cases are being displaced by, the closely-related Townsend's Warbler, which has led to its disappearance in places where it formerly occurred.  Recommended conservation measures for the Hermit Warbler include longer logging rotations to keep more of the larger trees, and managing coniferous forests for closed canopies on the bird's breeding and wintering grounds.

 

 

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Photo: Bill Hubick; Range Map, NatureServe