A Worm-eating Warbler was present at Fox River Parkway South in Waukesha Wisconsin on April 29, 2014. This gloomy morning gave way to some decent views and nice action of the bird searching and finding food on the forest floor. I viewed the bird twice at about 6:30 a.m. and then again 10:30 a.m. Other birders were fortunate to see this uncommon visitor to this part of the state that is viewed by only a few birders each year. I hope it hangs around for awhile yet for others to enjoy too! Other highlights were Nashville, Pine and Yellow-rumped Warblers and a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher. Photographs were taken on April 29-30th, 2014.
Binomial name: Helmitheros vermivora
Size: 5.25” long, 8.5” wingspan
Weight: .46 oz.
Habitat: Breeds in deciduous forests sometimes mixed with conifers on steep hillsides with a dense understory. Winters in mature tropical forests found in Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.
Diet: Spends a lot of its time near or on the ground. It searches through leaf litter and low vegetation and uses it long narrow bill to access the food it prefers, which is small larvae of moths (worms), spiders, slugs, and arthropods.
Nesting: The cup sized nest is located on the ground near the truck of a deciduous tree, often on a slope near water. The nest is constructed of leaf parts and lined with moss and grass material. Usually 3-6 white to pinkish eggs are laid in the nest. The female incubates the eggs and stays tight on it. Young usually leave the nest within 10 days unable to fly but they survive. When intruders like chipmunks, squirrels and other small animals approach the nest, it sometimes waits until contact is made to be flushed from the nest as it blends in well with the forest floor. If that happens the female leaves the immediate nest area with distracting motions.
Cool Facts: Song of the Worm-eating Warbler is similar to that of the Chipping Sparrow but shorter in length. Plumage of both sexes are similar.