This spectacular bird was seen on a yellow cannon bloom right out my mother’s window.  Didn’t notice us through the screen of the window and just feasted on whatever insect was in the beautiful cannon.  

On researching this siting, Texas is becoming a place of permanent habitation for the little warblers.  Happy we saw one!

A warbler with a truly appropriate name, the Pine Warbler is a characteristic bird of eastern pine woodlands. It is rarely found in deciduous vegetation except during migration.

Pine warblers dine on insects, fruits, and seeds. Their predators include hawks and other birds of prey. At one year, they reach sexual maturity. Mating season is from mid-March through early June. Cup-shaped nests made of bark strips, pine needles, twigs and other fine material are built 25 to 40 feet (7.5 to 12.5 m) above ground near the branch tips of pine trees. Females lay three to five eggs, white with brown spots. Young hatch after about ten days. The young are altricial (born with their eyes closed and bald), but they open their eyes, grow feathers and fledge all within about ten days of hatching. Pine warblers live less than five years.

Pine warblers spend most of their time in pine forests, overwintering in the southern United States with a relatively short migration in the spring to more northern states. However, some pine warblers are permanent Texas residents. The scientific name for this species describes its habitat: dendron (a tree); oicos (inhabitants); and pinus (a pine tree). Pine warblers are among the most abundant warblers in the forest, able to adapt to different types of food available at different times of year. Their more subdued coloring makes them more difficult to see than some of the more brightly colored warblers.

A Pine Warblers Song

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Adult Description

  • Small songbird; large warbler.
  • Yellow throat and chest with dirty dark streaks on sides.
  • Two white wingbars.

Immature Description

Immatures duller. Immature female very dull with little or no olive; grayish brown back, dull whitish underparts with little or no yellow.

Measurements

Both Sexes

Length
5.1–5.5 in
13–14 cm
Wingspan
7.5–9.1 in
19–23 cm
Weight
0.3–0.5 oz 
9–15 g

Cool Facts

  • The Pine Warbler is the only warbler that eats large quantities of seeds, primarily those of pines. This seed-eating ability often brings them to bird feeders where they eat seeds in addition to suet.
  • The Pine Warbler is one of the first warblers to return to the North in spring, arriving as early as February in areas just north of the wintering range. It is one of the earliest breeding warblers too, starting in late April or May in the northern part of the range.
  • Migrant Pine Warblers from the northern part of the range join resident Pine Warblers in the southern United States in winter. Sometimes they form large flocks of 50 to 100 or more.

Habitat


Forest
  • Breeds in a variety of pine forests and plantations.
  • Winters in similar habitats.
Food

Insects

Primarily arthropods; some fruit and seeds.

Nesting

Nesting Facts
Clutch Size
3–5 eggs
Egg Description
Whitish spotted with brown, often with a wreath or band of concentrated spots near large end.
Condition at Hatching
Helpless and downy.
Nest Description

Nest a deep cup of grass, pine needles, twigs, and plant fibers bound together with spider web or caterpillar silk, lined with fine plant parts, hair and feathers. Placed high in pine tree.

Nest Placement

Tree
Behavior

Bark Forager

Forages in middle and upper canopy, slowly searching along branches and bark. Hops along branches. May hang upside down at branch tips. Occasionally comes to bird feeders. Opens seeds by placing them in bark crevices and hammering with bill. Joins mixed species flocks in winter.

Conservation

status via IUCN

Least Concern

Populations increasing in most of range.