The golden-winged warbler is a colorful songbird that nests in the Eastern United States. They breed in tangles and shrubby habitats with a lot of cover. They nest on the ground usually using a plant to support the nest. The nest is typically made up of leaves, grasses, bark and other vegetation. The birds will often fly with food to fake nest sites to keep predators from locating the nest. They typically produce one brood per year. Once the youngsters fledge the family will typically move to a more mature forest habitat for the remainder of the summer then head down to Central and northern South America for the winter.
The population of the Golden-winged warbler has been decreasing by roughly 8% per year for the last 45 years. Like many bird species habitat loss is one of the primary causes of their population decrease. In particular the loss of shrub-scrub habitat for breeding has had a devastating effect. Females are also very sensitive to human disturbance and may abandon the nest when there are people around. Finally the golden-winged has also been hybridizing with the similar blue-winged warbler creating two unique plumages, the Brewster's and Lawrence warblers. The golden-winged warbler is very important here in Minnesota because approximately half of the remaining world population nests in northern Minnesota. The top photo was taken during migration in the southern part of the state and the bottom was taken on breeding territory in northern Minnesota.