Wetland Habitats Used By Songbirds Wet Meadows Shallow Water Marshes Scrub/Shrub Wetlands Forested Wetlands
What Is A Songbird? A bird belonging to the Order Passeriformes, in which the vocal organ is developed in such a way as to produce various sound notes. Songbirds evolved about 50 m.y.a. in the western part of Gondwanaland that later became Australia, New Zealand and Antarctica. They then spread around the rest of the world. More than half of all species of bird are passerines. ~5,400 species Twice as diverse as the largest of mammal orders, the Rodentia
American Dipper Order Passeriformes-Family Cinclidae
American Dipper (Cinclus mexicanus) A chunky bird of western streams America’s only truly aquatic songbird because it catches all of its food underwater in swiftly flowing streams by swimming and walking on the stream bottom. Availability of suitable nest sites appears to limit its populations Similar to waterfowl in the fact that it molts its wing and tail feathers all at once in the late summer. The bird is flightless at this time.
Nest Type Two-part domed or ball-like structure with side entrance. Built close to fast moving water, on crevice, cliff, or under a bridge. Will use a nest box
Cerulean Warbler Order Passeriformes-Family Parulidae
Cerulean Warbler (Dendroica cerulea) Small bird of the deciduous forest treetops. It nests and forages higher in the canopy than most other warblers. One of the species of highest concern in the eastern United States because of a small total population size and significant declines throughout its range. Under consideration for listing under the Endangered Species Act. Listed on the Audubon Watchlist.
Cool Fact About The Cerulean Warbler The female Cerulean Warbler has an unusual way of leaving a nest after sitting on it a while. Some people call it “bungee- jumping”. She drops from the side of the nest, keeping her wings folded to her sides, and opens her wings to fly only when she is well below the nest.
Common Yellowthroat Order Passeriformes-Family Parulidae
Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas) A skulking masked warbler of wet thickets. Far more frequently heard than seen. Its “wich-i-ty, wich-i-ty, wich-i-ty” can be heard from the Yukon to Newfoundland, and from southern Florida to southern Mexico. Not threatened or endangered, but is decreasing in many areas. Local nonmigratory populations in some areas face potential extinction from habitat loss and disturbance.
Eastern Wood-Pewee Order Passeriformes-Family Tyrannidae
Eastern Wood-Pewee (Contopus virens) One of the hallmark species of the Eastern deciduous forest. An inconspicuous dull brown bird of the middle canopy. Despite its abundance, this bird could be easily overlooked in not for its persistent “pee-ah-wee” song. Populations declining throughout range, but not listed as of concern anywhere.
Interesting Tid-Bit One potential cause of the decline of Eastern Wood-Pewee populations is the overpopulation of white-tailed deer in the Eastern forests. In areas with high deer density, the intermediate canopy is disturbed by browsing, affecting the foraging space of the flycatcher.
Fish Crow (Corvus ossifragus) One of the few birds found exclusively in the United States. Common bird of the southeastern coast. It has been expanding its range inland and up river valleys, using urban areas in its spread. It is very similar to its more familiar relative the American Crow, and can be distinguished reliably only by voice.
Hooded Warbler Order Passeriformes-Family Parulidae
Hooded Warbler (Wilsonia citrina) Small bird of the eastern hardwood forests. Prefers forests with some shrub under story. Strongly territorial on its wintering grounds. Males and females use different habitats: males in mature forests, and females in scrubbier forest and seasonally flooded areas. If a male is removed, a female in adjacent scrub will mot move into the male’s territory. Status: Common and increasing in some areas.
Kentucky Warbler Order Passeriformes-Family Parulidae
Kentucky Warbler (Oporornis formosus) Bird of the deciduous forests of the southeastern United States. Their loud song can be heard far more frequently than the brightly-colored bird can be seen. It stays near the ground and the lower levels of the forest, and nests on the ground. Status: May be declining slightly in much of its range.
Cool Fact About The KY Warbler Unlike most songbirds, a male Kentucky Warbler appears to sing only one song type. He will sing the same one throughout his life. Although counter-singing males do not match each other’s song types the way many bird species do, a male may match the pitch of a competitors song.
Louisiana Waterthrush Order Passeriformes-Family Parulidae
Louisiana Waterthrush (Seiurus motacilla) A bird of forest streams. Looks more like a thrush or sparrow than the warbler it is. Can be recognized by its loud ringing call and constant bobbing of its tail. Status: Little evidence of changing numbers. Not well censused by Breeding Bird Survey
F.Y.I. The Louisiana Waterthrush occasionally takes naps during the middle of the day. Unlike when it sleeps at night, a napping waterthrush does not tuck its bill behind a wing. Instead, it pulls its neck into its body, squats down and covers its legs with its body feathers, and shuts its eyes.
Marsh Wren Order Passeriformes-Family Troglodytidae
Marsh Wren (Cistothorus palustris) A common and noisy inhabitant of cattail marshes. The Marsh Wren sings all day and throughout the night. Status: Declining in eastern portion of range, increasing in western.
Red-winged Blackbird Order Passeriformes-Family Icteridae
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) One of the most abundant birds in North America. Found in wetlands and agricultural areas across the continent. The black male can hide the brilliant re shoulders or show them off in a dazzling display. The striped female looks strikingly different than the male and could almost be mistaken for a large dark sparrow.
Bad Leroy Brown Of The Bird World The male Red-winged Blackbird fiercely defends his territory during the breeding season. He may spend more than a quarter of all the daylight hours in territory defense. He vigorously keeps all other males out of the territory and defends the nests from predators. He will attack much larger animals, including horses and people.
Swainson’s Warbler Order Passeiformes-Family Parulidae
Swainson’s Warbler (Limnothlypis swainsonii) One of the most secretive and least observed of all North American birds A skulking bird of the southern canebrakes and rhododendron thickets. If it weren’t for its loud, ringing song, the presence of the species in many areas would go completely undetected. Status: Difficult to assess population numbers, but extreme habitat specificity puts species at risk from habitat loss, both on breeding and wintering grounds. Listed on Audubon Watchlist.
Swamp Sparrow Order Passeriformes-Family Emberizidae
Swamp Sparrow (Melospiza georgiana) Can be found in a variety of wetland habitats and is not confined to swamps. The Swamp Sparrow has longer legs than other members of its genus; this adaptation allows it to wade in shallow water to forage. The Swamp Sparrow sometimes ticks its head under water to try to capture aquatic invertebrates. Status: Populations appear to have held stable or increased slightly between the 1960’s and early 1990’s. Long-term prospects will depend on wetland conservation.