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Pine Warbler

Setophaga pinus ORDER: PASSERIFORMES FAMILY: PARULIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

A bird true to its name, the Pine Warbler is common in many eastern pine forests and is rarely seen away from pines. These yellowish warblers are hard to spot as they move along high branches to prod clumps of needles with their sturdy bills. If you don’t see them, listen for their steady, musical trill, which sounds very like a Chipping Sparrow or Dark-eyed Junco, which are also common piney-woods sounds through much of the year.

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Songs

Male Pine Warblers sing a fast trill of 10–30 notes usually on one pitch, lasting a couple of seconds. The Pine Warbler is one of few North American songbirds that may sing at any time of year, including while migrating. The male usually sings while foraging or, during breeding season, from high branch tips of pines. The song is very similar to both Chipping Sparrow and Dark-eyed Junco songs, but tends to be a bit slower and more musical.

Calls

Males and females make sharp, short call notes. The males, and possibly the females as well, use a rattle call for territorial defense and other aggressive encounters.

Other Sounds

Pine Warblers may aggressively snap their bills at each other or at other species.

Search the Macaulay Library online archive for more sounds and videos

Backyard Tips

The only warbler that regularly eats seeds, the Pine Warbler will eat millet, cracked corn, sunflower seed, peanuts, and suet from elevated feeders in winter. It may also eat fruits from bushes and vines, like bayberry, flowering dogwood, grape, sumac, persimmon, and Virginia creeper. Find out more about what this bird likes to eat and what feeder is best by using the Project FeederWatch Common Feeder Birds bird list.

Find This Bird

The best way to find Pine Warblers is to narrow them down by habitat and voice. Head for a pine forest in the eastern United States (check a range map for specifics), and then listen for a clear, steady, trilling song. Chipping Sparrows and Dark-eyed Juncos sound very similar and can occur in the same habitats, so be aware you might find these birds instead. Pine Warblers tend to stay high in pines and can be obscured by tufts of needles, but a bit of patience is likely to be rewarded.

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