Black and White Warbler

Migration is waning for warblers, and the next few days might be your last chance to see black-and-white warblers this year.

I spotted a few black-and-white warblers this morning in the Ledge Savanna, scurrying between trees and fallen logs. This is characteristic behavior for these birds, as they forage for insects among dead wood and sapsucker swells. These warblers behave more like nuthatches in the way they cling, slide, and hop along trees. Their long hind claw and heavy legs help them to nimbly maneuver through forest habitats.


Despite living in deciduous and mixed forests with plenty of perches and foraging throughout the canopy, black-and-white warblers are ground nesting birds. They build their nests near the base of trees with a composition of forest products. Leaves, bark, and pine needles make up the bulk with moss and dried grasses for a fine lining.

Black-and-white warblers are thought to be good indicators of forest quality, as they typically nest in extensive and mature blocks of forest. The birds breed almost exclusively in the northern half of the state, though they have been known to breed in the forest interiors of the Baraboo Hills and the Kettle Moraine State Forest.

You might be able to find the birds at Faville Grove in the Ledge Savanna, along the Crawfish River, or in Faville Woods.

Written by Drew Harry, Faville Grove Land Steward

Photo by Kenneth Cole Schneider, Flickr Creative Commons