Preferred Foraging Levels of Warblers
Each species of warbler who visits Monticello Park has a preferred level at which it feeds. Ovenbirds usually feed on the ground, while Blackburnian Warblers usually forage in the canopy. Knowing at what level to look can help you to locate and identify warblers. The level at which a warbler species forages in the spring might be different than the level at which it forages in the fall.
Below is a list with seven levels where warblers feed: ground; trunks and limbs; understory; understory and mid-story; mid-story; mid-story and canopy; and canopy. As you can see, some warblers feed at more than one level.
You sometimes will see a warbler at a level other than the one in which it is listed. Waterthrushes and Ovenbirds usually stay on the ground, but they sometimes perch on a branch and sing. At Monticello Park, many warblers drop down into the stream to bathe and drink, including the ones who spend most of their time in the canopy. The list is based on where they usually forage.
During the spring, one clue about the level where a warbler is likely to be seen comes from its song. Warblers with loud, low-pitched songs, such as the Kentucky and Ovenbird, are likely to be found close to the ground where sound does not carry well. Warblers with high-pitched songs, such as the Cape May and Bay-breasted, are likely to be found closer to the canopy where sound carries well. By studying a warbler's song, you can learn clues about the level at which to look for it.
TRUNKS AND LIMBS
UNDERSTORY AND MID-STORY
MID-STORY AND CANOPY