Return of Bird of the Week: Townsend’s Warbler

Wickersham's Conscience

Female Townsend’s Warbler, Fairbanks, Alaska

This species has a special place in WC’s heart: not only is it beautiful; it was the logo bird for the late, lamented Alaska Bird Observatory, appearing on everything from coffee mugs to stickers to t-shirts. In Interior and Southcentral Alaska, it is associated with stands of mature white spruce. That preference seems more closely associated with nest site selection than foraging, but the species is poorly known for a North American wood warbler, so the conclusion is uncertain.

The remaining white spruce forests of the White Mountains in central Interior Alaska are its northernmost breeding area; in migration to it returns to the central mountains of Mexico and as far south as Costa Rica. It’s probably most common in the forest plateaus of British Columbia and into western Alberta, but is a distinctly western species.

Female Townsend’s Warbler, Fairbanks, Alaska

In its breeding range…

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