Chestnut-Sided Warbler

Setophaga pensylvanica
Range Map

The Chestnut-Sided Warbler is a striking bird. They winter from just north of the Yucatan peninsula and south through Panama. In spring, they migrate north and spend the breeding season from the Great Lakes north to southern Canada and east to New Brunswick and Pennsylvania. Some birds settle along the Appalachian Mountains as far south as western Tennessee.

These birds do not stay in old growth woodlands. Instead, they prefer young regrowing woods, both when breeding and on their winter grounds. These birds have benefitted from western man’s clearing of long established woods and increased their range since the days of Audubon, Wilson and Boneparte.

My introduction to the Chestnut-Sided Warbler happened during my first visit to south Texas in the spring of 2020, when the pandemic limited my opportunities to meet migrating birds on South Padre Island. Spring 2021 was a better experience for me. With the pandemic restrictions calmed substantially, I met more of these intriguing warblers along with other species.

Today’s science views this species as monotypic (no recognised subspecies).

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