Living Bird Magazine
A boldly marked warbler with a color pattern all its own, Golden-winged Warblers are slim, silvery gray birds with golden flashes on the head and wings. They breed in wet, shrubby tangles of the Upper Midwest and Appalachians, and spend winters in open woodlands and shade-coffee plantations. They have suffered severe population declines in the last half-century. They often hybridize with Blue-winged Warblers, producing a range of distinctive forms.More ID Info
Your best bet for spotting this increasingly rare species is to visit a shrubby, open area where there are known breeding birds. (Minnesota is the stronghold of the remaining Golden-winged Warbler population.) Try to visit during May and June. Males are very vocal and active then; they make long, conspicuous flights, perching near the top of a sapling to sing boldly. Look for males and females hopping about in shrubs in search of food (females forage closer to the ground). Males are fairly responsive to pishing, which may encourage a Golden-winged Warbler to pop just its face out of protective cover. On migration in late April and early May, look for these uncommon migrants at woodlots and other migrant traps that draw in large numbers of other migratory songbirds.