Northern Parula Warbler

1/3200s, f5.6, ISO 2000, Canon EOS-1D X, EF800mm f/5.6L IS USM

The northern parula is one of the smaller Northern migratory warblers, often being one of the smallest birds in a mixed feeding flock besides kinglets or gnatcatchers. The northern parula inhabits various habitats depending on season and location. This is primarily a forest-dwelling species, but the northern and southern breeding populations select different habitats. In general, abundance of this species has been found to be positively correlated with increased tree species diversity, canopy height, and percent canopy cover. Northern populations breed in mature, moist coniferous forests. This species constructs its pendulum nests in hanging vegetation and so it is often attracted to suspended clumps of moss or coniferous twigs that are more abundant in moist spruce bogs or hemlock swamps. Southern populations breed in mature, moist, bottomland forest where Spanish moss is prevalent. Outside of the breeding season, the northern parula becomes more of a habitat generalist and may be found in a wide variety of habitats during migration and winter. These habitats may include: pastures; moist, dry or wet forests; and agricultural fields or plantations. The breeding habitat is humid woodland with growths of Old Man's Beard lichen or Spanish moss. Northern parulas nest in trees in clumps of these mosses, laying 3 to 7 eggs in a scantily lined cup nest. Sites located near water sources are preferred and many nests are found at the end of branches suspended over water. Due to their longer breeding season, southern parulas frequently raise two broods, as opposed to northern ones who raise only one. The female hollows out a clump of vegetation in the moss and proceeds to fill the cavity with vegetation fibers, animal hair, grass, or pine needles. These nests average 7 cm (2.8 in) in outside diameter. The incubation period typically lasts 12 to 14 days and the young fledge at 10 to 11 days. Breeding maturity is attained the following year.
Shawnee Forest, Ohio