Townsend’s Warbler

Setophaga townsendi
Range Map

Townsend’s Warblers breed in forested lands with large coniferous trees on the Pacific northwestern coast and mountains of North America from Alaska south into Washington, Oregon and Idaho. They stretch their winter homes along the western coast of North American from Washington to northern Baja California (Mexico), and several inland locations from southeastern Arizona to Central America.

Their nests are shallow cups placed atop a branch in a conifer, built with grass and lined with moss. Sometimes females dismantle a newly constructed nest and moving it to another tree. Observers don’t fully understand why they do this. Townsend’s Warblers will sometimes cross breed with their closely related cousins, the Hermit Warbler.

Today, researches view the Townsend’s Warbler as monotypic (i.e. no subspecies).

I sometimes see these birds at my Southern California home during migration, but to date my favorite encounters with this and several other warbler species (and other birds) have been atop Santa Rosa Mountain in souther Riverside County (California).

When first I met the Magnolia Warbler in south Texas, I mistook it for the more familiar Townsend’s Warbler. On their respective breeding grounds, their ranges do not overlap, with the Townsend’s keeping to western North America, and the Magnolia to the east.


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