Often the smallest bird you will find in a mixed flock, these birds stand out with their small pointed bills, white eye arcs, and yellow breast.
MEET THE NORTHERN PARULA
The northern parula (Setophaga americana) is a small 11 cm long bird with mainly blue-grey upperparts, with a greenish back patch and two white wing bars. The breast is yellowish in color fading to white towards the belly. During summer the male has bluish to rufous breast bands and prominent white eye crescents.
Female birds are duller when compared to males and lack the male’s breast bands.
Juvenile females are almost entirely yellow.
Northern Parula breeds in southeast Canada and across the western half of the United States. They tend to winter further south, in Florida, southern Mexico, as well as the Caribbean.
Northern parulas can often be found in and around hardwood forests, pine-oak woodlands, cypress, and hardwood swamps, wherever Old Man’s Beard lichen or Spanish moss, a favored nesting material, thrives, especially near water. During winter they use a wide range of wooded habitats.
As an insectivorous bird, Northern Parula dines on a variety of insects and spiders.
The northern parula starts nesting around May to June building a nest usually made from a hollowed-out tangle of hanging Old Man’s Beard and or lichen in either a deciduous or coniferous tree. The interior is often lined with finely shredded moss, fine grasses, plant down, or animal hairs. The female lays 4-5 white or cream eggs with brown specks within, which are incubated for around 12 to14 days. The chicks fledge 11 to12 days after hatching.
This species has a large breeding range with the population having undergone a slight increase over the last decades and is not presently threatened.
YOU CAN WATCH AND LISTEN TO THIS BIRD RIGHT HERE IN THE VIDEO BELOW: