There are many bird species in Massachusetts, and today we’ll be learning how to identify yellow birds in Massachusetts. With many famous species, including the yellow warbler and Wilson’s warbler, it can be difficult to tell one bird from another because they’re all fairly similar.

In today’s article, we’ll learn about their behavior and their defining characteristics.

Yellow Warbler

Setophaga petechia is a completely yellow bird that lives across the entire United States, including the state of Massachusetts. There, we can find them in open woodlands where they primarily eat insects.

You can spot these birds in the woods, following the male’s song. They usually whistle when they hide atop tall trees. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to attract them with bird feeders.

Many bird watchers rely on this method when they want to spot a bird, but these birds only eat insects. However, if there are plenty of insects in your yard – they might be attracted to that. They’re not afraid of approaching the human habitat if there’s food.

Both males and females are entirely yellow. These birds are small and round, with the males proudly flaunting a puffy chest, while the females are usually more slender. There’s a dark blotting on their wings.

Yellow Warbler

Learn more about: Yellow And Black Bird Identification

Wilson’s Warbler

Out of all birds of Massachusetts, the Cardellina pusilla is by far the most interesting-looking one. Very similar to the yellow warbler with one stark difference – male Wilson’s warblers have a completely black cap on the top of their heads. It literally looks like they’re wearing a black cap.

Except for that, they’re entirely yellow – their chest and their sides are intensely yellow, while their wings have some dark blotting. Females look exactly the same, except for the black cap on the top of their heads.

These birds can be seen in Massachusetts during their yearly migration, but this species is unfortunately in a steep decline, and that makes them an endangered species. They live in shrubs, nesting on the ground and eating insects.

If you want to see them, you’re going to have to be quick – they don’t spend too much time in a single area when migrating, jumping from state to state very quickly. They usually breed in Canada, but you can find them in the spring.

They’ll start migrating and you could track them using the male’s song. Spending time near bodies of water, look for them on the edges of the forest as they forage on the lower levels – making them easier to spot than some other species.

Remember that these birds are not only tiny but very lively, jumping from branch to branch – so even if you hear one, it’ll be difficult to spot it.

Wilson's Warbler

Palm Warbler

The third warbler species on this list, the Setophaga palmarum is a species you can spot in Massachusetts during their breeding and migration periods. They live in open woodlands, and they feed on insects just like the other two warblers.

They’re a bit less yellow than the other species! The male has a yellow chest, belly, and the entire bottom side, but their backs and wings are a grey-olive color. The tops of their heads are scarlet.

The females of these small yellow birds in Massachusetts have the same scarlet cap on their heads and a yellow chest, but their belly is more white than yellow. They’re also more round, while the males are more slender.

Unlike the other species on this list, the palm warbler isn’t that active when it comes to flying and it spends quite a lot of time on the ground. They spend most of their time in Canada, but since Massachusetts is so close and the climate is so similar, it’s not odd for them to breed there too.

If you want to see them, you should look at the ground, not the trees – their tail wagging often gives them away. You also shouldn’t write off groups of birds – these little guys often group with sparrows and juncos when foraging, so you might catch them in such a diverse group.

Unlike our last entry, they’re not that jumpy and active, so if you find one, you’ll be able to get a good look before you move on.

Palm Warbler

Prairie Warbler

Lastly, we have the Setophaga discolor, and even though this species isn’t that common in Massachusetts, it’s not impossible to find a few of them. They nest in shrubs and they mainly eat insects. Despite their name, they don’t live in prairies that much.

An adult prairie warbler is a small yellow bird with dark wings and a small rusty patch on the back of its neck. They have black botting on their bellies and around their eyes, creating small rings.

The females are actually more yellow, often with less black marks than males. The dark coloring on their backs and their wings are usually less apparent too, so they’re easier to spot because of their lively coloring.

You’re most likely to spot these birds during breeding season – they live in scrubby forests, and you can listen for the male’s song, similar to a buzzing, to locate the bird. They’re easy to spot because of their coloring.

Prairie Warbler

Read more about: What Kind Of Bird Is Yellow And Black & Goldfinch Or Yellow Blackbird?


What birds are yellow in New England?

The yellow warbler, Wilson's warbler, prairie warbler and the palm warbler are all passing or temporarily living in New England at some point. This is most common during their yearly migration of seasonal breeding. You can find them all if you listen to the male's song.

To End

All four species mentioned in this article are common passengers in Massachusetts during their yearly migration. You can spot them in the shrubbery, scrubby forests, and open woodlands. They all eat insects, so attracting them with a bird feeder isn’t an option, unfortunately.

An upside is that these birds are vividly yellow, which usually makes them easy to spot in a dark forest. You should listen to the male’s song to find and identify any of these common birds in Massachusetts.

You have to be quick, however, as they migrate quickly and won’t stick around for long.

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