Wilson's Warbler

(Cardellina pusilla). Patient Number 21-1585.

Date of admission: September 24, 2021.
Reason for admission: Shoulder injury.

Patient History:
Wilson’s Warblers, measuring in as one of the smallest warblers of western Canada, are partial to the mountain meadows, thickets, and shrubby habitat that Alberta provides. Their average length is 3-5 inches, and they weigh in at a surprising 5-10 grams. Male Wilson’s Warblers are known for their distinctive black cap, and bright yellow body. Females can often be more olive in tone.

Recent studies show that there are actually 6 distinct breeding groups of Wilson’s Warblers. Each is segregated according to breeding and wintering grounds with eastern Canadian breeders wintering in the Yucatan Peninsula, and Pacific Northwest breeders spending the coldest months soaking up the sun in Nevada, coastal California, and Mexico.

Warblers will often feed close to the ground, searching actively among the foliage of bushes, and especially the undersides of leaves. Their diet mostly consists of berries, and a variety of insects; bees, wasps, beetles, caterpillars, spiders, and aphids, which they often catch mid-flight.

Wilson’s warblers are typically monogamous, though can be known to pair with more than one female in particularly isolated populations. Breeding begins as early as March on the West Coast, with the pair building a nest close to the ground, and constructed of moss and plant material. The female will then incubate 4-6 brown speckled eggs, for 11 to 15 days, with the young fledging’s hatching at 8 to 13 days. Both parents will feed the offspring.

This male Wilson's warbler was brought into AIWC from Airdrie at the end of September, after being found hopping around with no tail feathers. An exam showed he was likely caught by a cat and was also suffering from a wing injury. He is currently receiving the best care possible at AIWC and is making good progress. Thank you for helping us keep him forever wild!


Wilson's Warbler

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