Yellow Warbler Birds Bring Spring Sunshine

Updated: Oct. 23, 2023

Look and listen for a vibrant migrating yellow warbler in spring. Learn what yellow warblers eat and what their nests look like.

 What Does a Yellow Warbler Look Like?

Yellow WarblerRoland Jordahl
Yellow warbler

Warblers are small songbirds. A male yellow warbler is bright lemon yellow with chestnut/orange streaks on its breast. Females are a less vibrant, soft yellow color. They measure 5 inches long with a wingspan of 8 inches.

Check out more spring warblers you should know, and learn how to attract them to your yard.

What Do Yellow Warblers Eat?

flying yellow warbler catching an insectCourtesy William Canosa

Warblers feed mostly on insects, insects, such as caterpillars, beetles and leafhoppers, so they generally aren’t attracted to feeders. Instead, entice them to your garden by adding a water feature like a birdbath or, even better, a natural looking pond with flowing water. They also may eat a few wild berries.

Yellow warbler vs goldfinch: Here’s how to tell the difference.

Yellow Warbler Song

252449503 1 Chantal Taunton Bnb Bypc2020Courtesy Chantal Taunton

Listen for the cheerful sweet, high and clear notes of yellow warblers. The song sounds like sweet-sweet-sweet, I am so sweet! The bird may repeat its lovely song up to 10 times per minute.

Bird songs provided by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Learn how to identify palm warblers and pine warblers.

Yellow Warbler Nest

yellow warbler nestCourtesy Joey Reichoff
A female feeds baby birds in the nest.

The female builds a tidy nest out of plant fibers in a low shrub and lays four to five eggs. Yellow warblers tend to like willow trees. They often nest in them, too. These nests are cup-shaped and made of grasses, bark and plant matter.

Meet the yellow-rumped warblers.

Habitat and Range Map

Bnbugc March21 TrishasniderCourtesy Trisha Snider

While many warblers spend their time at the tops of trees, yellow warblers prefer dense shrubs. Increase your chances of attracting one by providing backyard shelter, like small, low trees and bushes. These birds prefer open woods, streamsides, orchards and willow thickets in wet areas.

With the largest breeding range of any warbler species, these birds are common in most of North America and as far south as Peru.

Yellow Warbler Bird Species

Range maps provided by Kaufman Field Guides, the official field guide of Birds & Blooms.

Next, don’t miss 9 breathtaking Blackburnian warbler photos.