With such an exotic sounding name, many would expect this bird to be of Latin descent, hailing from the warm tropics of central or South America.

While it does make its winter home throughout the Caribbean and parts of Mexico and Central America, this small warbler is anything but exotic in our neck of the woods.  At least during the spring and summer months.  Here in Canada, it is estimated that we are treated to roughly 27% of the Northern Parula breeding population, so if you are lucky enough, you just might get to spot one of these lovely birds.

 

Where to Find the Northern Parula

You could draw a line down the middle of the United States and Canada and define anything east of that line as Northern Parula range.   During the summer breeding season, this bird is found east of central Texas to the Atlantic Ocean, stretching into Ontario, Quebec and the Canadian Maritime Provinces.

During the winter months, these small warblers call a few Caribbean islands and the small countries that makeup Central America home.  In the southern United States, these birds can be found nesting in hanging Spanish moss, while the northern contingency opts for the similar-looking old man’s beard lichen.

northern-parula-perched

By Dan Pancamo – Flickr: Northern Parula, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16168898

How to Identify the Northern Parula

These small songbirds are a treat to behold, sporting a bluish-gray hood and wings with a vibrantly-colored yellow chest.  The chest is also denoted with a black-red band that runs underneath the neck of the bird whose eyes are marked each with white crescents.  Depending on the angle, they can further be identified by their pair of white wing bars and green-colored back.

Vocals

Their song is a mix of rising buzz-type notes, followed by a high-pitched by the abrupt ending.  These birds have several different variations of their songs and calls, but all are very high pitched and released at a very high tempo.