Last Updated on March 22, 2023 by Lily Aldrin
Have you ever spotted a bright yellow flash darting through the trees or hovering over a patch of wildflowers?
If you’re in Ohio, chances are you’ve encountered one of the state’s many species of yellow birds.
These sunny-colored creatures are a common sight in Ohio’s forests, fields, and wetlands, adding a burst of color to the landscape and captivating birdwatchers with their distinctive calls and behaviors.
From the iconic Evening Grosbeaks to the elusive and rare Prothonotary Warbler, Ohio is home to a fascinating array of yellow birds.
So, let’s take a closer look at thirteen of these vibrant avian species and discover what makes them so special.
|Cape May Warblers|
Types of Yellow Birds in Ohio
1. Prairie Warblers
During the months of April through November, Prairie Warblers may be seen migrating through Ohio on their way to other states for the winter.
The feathers of a Prairie Warbler’s back appear olive greenish, while those of the bird’s stomach and neck are yellow.
Both the side streaks and the dark under-eye semicircle are black.
Prairie Warbler females aren’t as brightly colored as males.
Breeding in the eastern and southern United States, Prairie Warblers migrate south for the winter to warmer climates across the Caribbean, the coasts of Central America, and Florida.
Some species stay throughout Florida year-round, and they are recognized as distinct subspecies due to their bigger size.
Insects, snails, and spiders make up the bulk of the prairie warbler’s diet, despite the name suggesting otherwise.
You may recognize them by the way their tails bob as they scurry around the treetops in search of food.
Prairie Warblers built their nests in secret, in bushes and trees, from leaves and plant material coated with plumage and fur.
A maximum of five eggs are laid, and after 2 weeks, the young have hatched and are ready to leave the nest.
The best time to see a dickcissel in Ohio is from the middle of May through the end of August when the birds are there for the mating season.
Currently, they can be found on just 1% of listings.
The male Dickcissel stands out from the crowd thanks to his bright yellow breast and black neck patch.
The contrast between their grey head and bright yellow brow line is striking.
The female has the same patterns as the male, albeit her skin is much less vibrant.
But she doesn’t even possess a black neckband, and the yellow on her breast is barely visible.
After breeding in the Midwest and Great Plains of the United States, dickcissels go south towards Central America, Mexico, and perhaps northern South America.
Dickcissel is common in open areas with grass, including prairies, meadows, lightly grazed pastures, tall grasses, and roadside ditches.
The diet of the dickcissel consists mostly of seeds and insects.
For summertime sustenance, they gorge on insects, including caterpillars, grasshoppers, crickets, and beetles.
During the off-season, they might eat things like grasses, weeds, seeds, and even human-cultivated grain.
Dickcissels build their nests approximately four feet high in dense, low-lying vegetation, including trees, bushes, and grasses.
The leaves, weeds, and grass that go into the large nests are softened by animal dander and tiny grass.
It takes around two weeks for the eggs to develop after the female lays them.
After about 10 days, the young may take to the skies on their own.
3. Orange-crowned Warbler
Migrating Orange-crowned Warblers may be seen throughout Ohio in the months of May and October.
Their yellow-olive coloration, which is brighter yellow near the Pacific Coast, makes Orange-crowned Warblers seem less vibrant than other species of warblers.
Their bright orange crest is seldom seen.
Breeding across Canada and the western United States, Orange-crowned Warblers then migrate to the East and Mexico and Gulf coasts.
In addition to being observed during migration, these birds may be found in every state in the United States except the Northeast.
Although Orange-crowned Warblers are sometimes seen in low bushes, their breeding habitat is open woods.
Spiders and insects make up the bulk of their food.
In addition to insects, they will consume seeds, fruit, and berries and are frequent visitors to bird feeders in people’s yards.
The nests of Orange-crowned Warblers are typically lower to the ground or on the ground and constructed from branches, dried leaves, and twigs and lined with animal hair and fine grass.
A clutch may consist of anything from two to six eggs.
4. Yellow-headed Blackbirds
During the month of May, you might well be lucky enough to see one of Ohio’s common Yellow-headed Blackbirds.
Male Yellow-headed Blackbirds have white spots on their wings which contrast beautifully with their glossy black bodies and brilliant yellow breast and heads.
The females appear brown, not black, and the yellow on their heads is less vibrant.
In comparison to the Red-winged Blackbird, they are much bigger.
The reeds of western and prairie wetlands are home to breeding Yellow-headed Blackbirds.
Throughout the summer, they wander over the nearby farmland, marshes, and meadows in search of insects.
After the mating season is through, flocks of Yellow-headed Blackbirds may be seen making the long journey south toward Mexico and the farms and countryside of the southwestern United States.
Blackbirds with yellow heads eat insects in the summertime and grains and seeds in the wintertime.
The Yellow-headed Blackbird weaves together long, damp stems and then attaches them to cattails or reeds in a nest built out over the water.
There is a two-week incubation period for their 2 to 5 eggs, and then another week or so before the young birds are ready to leave the nest.
Planting sunflower seeds in your garden can bring in Yellow-headed Blackbirds.
5. Evening Grosbeaks
Evening Grosbeaks are a threatened species, yet they have been sighted in Ohio during migrating and some have even stayed during the cold season.
The Evening Grosbeak is a massive bird with a large bill and bold yellow and black plumage.
The adult males are easily recognizable by the threatening appearance of the brilliant yellow line that runs across their eyes.
Aside from their yellow bellies and chests, these creatures have blackheads and grayish necks.
In addition, their wings have a white spot.
Male juveniles and females possess gray heads, greenish bills and bodies, white and black wings, and a yellowish tint to the neck.
The southern part of Canada and the western coast of the United States, including northern California, are the only places where Evening Grosbeaks spend the winter.
However, when the cone crop is weak, they will go south to the majority of the United States.
Evening Grosbeaks frequent wooded areas and high altitudes.
During the colder months of the year, they often visit yard bird feeders in search of a convenient food source.
Typically, evening grosbeaks eat flower buds in the springtime, treetop bug larvae in the summer, and garden feeders full of berries, seeds, and tiny fruit in the winter season.
The nests of Evening Grosbeaks may be seen up to a hundred feet from the ground among pine trees.
Nests are haphazardly constructed of materials, including moss, rootlets, twigs, grass, and pine needles.
Attracting Evening Grosbeaks visiting your garden in the cold season by providing them with berries, sunflower seeds, and maple buds; the female lays a maximum of 5 eggs that she incubates for two weeks.
6. Western Meadowlarks
Although Western Meadowlarks are uncommon in Ohio, they may be observed during the summertime.
The Western Meadowlark can brighten your day with its sunny yellow underbelly and beautiful voice.
A member of the blackbird family, the Western Meadowlark is roughly the size of a Robin and is distinguished from other blackbirds by a black V-shaped band over its brilliant yellow breast that goes gray in the winter.
Breeding Western Meadowlarks go south for the winter from the northern United States and Canada.
Those in the Midwest and the West, on the other hand, stay there throughout the year.
Western Meadowlarks are often found in meadows, grasslands, and pastures, where they forage on the ground.
They often do not congregate in shrubby or wooded areas, preferring to search for food on their own or in small groups.
The Western Meadowlark eats mostly insects and some seeds. Their diet shifts from insects to seeds and grains in the wintertime.
Western Meadowlarks build their nests in shallow holes dug into the earth in grassy areas.
The inside is lined with soft materials like grass, and the top could be covered with a roof woven from plant stalks.
Sunflower seeds and split corn can entice Western Meadowlarks to your lawn.
7. Cape May Warblers
During the spring and autumn migrations, Cape May Warblers might be seen across Ohio.
Male Cape May Warblers can be identified by their characteristic chestnut-colored faces, black caps, and yellow collar that frames their necks.
Their upper surfaces are olive yellow, having darker stripes, while their undersides are yellow.
The Cape May Warbler stands out among other species of warbler due to its distinctive tiger-stripe breast and black, unique head.
Unlike male Cape May Warblers, females and juveniles do not have distinctive head colors.
It is common for Cape May Warblers to travel through the eastern United States en route to their nesting grounds across Canada.
They migrate south during the winter, spending time in the Caribbean and a small coastal strip along Central America and Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula.
Cape May Warblers’ nesting sites are in spruce woods.
During migration, meanwhile, they may be seen in any environment, but they are most often seen in grassy areas and woodland margins, where they can forage insects.
The spruce budworm is their primary summer food source, but they also consume nectar and fruit and visit hummingbird feeders when the weather becomes cold.
Cape May Warblers build their nests in spruce forest areas, the truck, and at great heights.
The nest is a cup-shaped structure consisting of twigs, pine needles, and bark that is covered with pet hair, plumage, and other pliable plant matter.
They may hatch a maximum of nine eggs at a time.
8. Pine Warbler
When birds migrate north in the springtime and south in the autumn, you could see a Pine Warbler across Ohio.
In April, they appear on 6% of lists on average.
Pine warblers are tiny, fat birds that are olive-backed and have white stomachs and grayish wing bars.
It’s possible for females to have a tanner overall appearance and a whiter abdomen.
Originally from the northern United States, Pine Warblers now migrate to the southeast.
Many people spend the whole year in the southern United States.
As their name implies, Pine Warblers are typically found in pine woods, and they are generally found in rather high tree canopies.
In warmer months, they consume things like seeds and fruit, whereas, in cooler months, they eat things like spiders, beetles, caterpillars, and other insects and larvae.
Like any reasonable person might assume, Pine Warblers build their nests among pine trees.
They are wrapped using spider silk and covered with feathers and animal fur, and constructed from twigs, bark, pine needles, and grass.
It takes approximately two weeks for their eggs to hatch and then another week and a half for the kids to escape the nest after they’ve been laid.
Tube feeders and platform feeders stocked with peanut hearts, broken corn, millet, sunflower seeds, and suet will bring Pine Warblers toward your garden.
Grapes, bayberries, sumac, and Virginia creeper are just a few of the natural vines and fruits that would do well to grow.
9. Blue-winged Warbler
From April through October, 4 to 5 percent of summer checklists throughout Ohio include sightings of blue-winged warblers.
The wings of blue-winged warblers have a bluish-gray tint, thus the name.
The adult has a black eye line that extends from the long bill all over the eye, giving it a furious appearance, and a yellow-green head.
Their underbellies and breasts have a brilliant yellow color; females are somewhat lighter but are sometimes hard to tell apart from males.
Both adults and youngsters possess two white wing bars, although the juveniles’ are much thinner and harder to see.
The Blue-winged Warbler is a little songbird that spends its breeding season in the eastern United States (excluding the South) and its winters in the Caribbean, Mexico, and Central America.
The Blue-winged warbler lives in brushy, unused areas such as meadows and grasslands, as well as along forest borders and in thickets.
They like to live in grassy, forested environments at higher elevations.
Blue-winged Warblers eat insects and spiders they discover them on plants and trees.
In order to find insect larvae to provide for their young, they would even dangle inverted from tree limbs.
Blue-winged Warblers typically build their nests low to the ground, in dense shrubs, or in the underbrush.
Cup-shaped skeletons of leaves serve as nesting materials.
A clutch of 4 to 7 eggs from the female takes around 13 days to hatch.
10. Wilson’s Warbler
Migrating Wilson’s Warblers might be seen across Ohio, mostly between the months of May and September.
Female Wilson’s Warblers have a smaller black hat than males do, although both sexes of this little spherical yellow warbler have a huge black crown.
Wilson’s Warblers could be found across the United States during the winter, although they are native to the Pacific Northwest, Canada, and Alaska.
These birds spend the winter across Central and South America.
The Wilson’s Warbler is a little, colorful bird that may be seen hunting insect larvae, insects, and spiders in thickets and along streams at the borders of forests.
Wilson’s Warblers build their nests of sedges and leaves on the ground under nearby trees or bushes.
Soft grass and animal fur line a cup-shaped basket of bark, grass, plant material, and moss.
Approximately five eggs are laid, and after about 11 days, the chicks emerge from the nest.
Wilson’s Warblers may be attracted to your garden by planting native trees and shrubs, however, they are not feeder birds.
11. Canada Warbler
The spring migration month of May is the most likely option to see a Canada Warbler throughout Ohio, with 13% of checklists including this species.
The Canada Warbler and the Magnolia Warbler are quite alike in looks and distribution.
However, their backs are a dark gray color, and the black “necklace” worn by males doesn’t really reach below the breast.
Their upper bodies, necks, and stomachs are all yellow.
Females and juveniles look the same but are paler overall and lack the distinctive ‘necklace’ of their adult counterparts.
The eastern side of the United States is a good place to see a Canada Warbler during migration.
They migrate to western South America during the winter.
Canada Warblers feed on insects and spiders and may be found in rhododendron-filled conifer woods as well as aspen and poplar woodlands.
Because of a steady decline in population, they are harder to locate.
Canada Warblers construct their cup-shaped nests low to the ground in shrubs or ferns out of the grass, leaves, bark, and other plant materials.
They may lay a maximum of 6 eggs at a time, and it takes around 12 days for the eggs to hatch before the baby birds can fledge.
12. Summer Tanager
During the months of April through September, which is the mating season for Summer Tanagers in Ohio, you may almost always notice one of these colorful birds.
Bright red in color, the male Summer Tanager has a very broad and hefty beak.
Females and young individuals are mostly yellow with some greenish on their backs.
The Summer Tanager is a bird that overwinters in South or Central America but spends its breeding season in the eastern and southern United States.
Summer Tanagers hunt flying insects like bees and wasps in open forests.
They kill insects by wiping the stinger off with their bare hands after thrashing them against a tree.
Female Summer Tanagers construct grass and plant-based nests near the tips of low-hanging branches.
While the nest’s construction is lacking, it can nevertheless accommodate approximately 4 eggs.
About 10 days after laying their eggs, the young will emerge from the nest.
Planting berry bushes and fruit trees in your garden can entice Summer Tanagers to stay.
13. Prothonotary Warbler
Prothonotary Warblers are mostly yellow, with their wings and tails being bluish-gray.
They possess white beneath their tails and are rather big for warblers, in addition to their other distinguishing features, like their broad black beaks.
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The eastern United States is home to the breeding grounds for the Prothonotary Warbler, which then migrates south toward Mexico and northern South America for the colder months.
Prothonotary Warblers are little birds that may be found near moist and streams forests, where they forage for spiders, insects, and snails.
During the colder months, they supplement their diet with fruit and seeds.
Prothonotary Warblers often build their nests in old woodpecker cavities in water-side trees.
The male will line the hole with moss before the female builds the nest from leaves, grass, and some other plant matter to form a cup.
It takes approximately 2 weeks for their clutch of 7 eggs to hatch and another week or so for the kids to fledge.
In conclusion, Ohio’s yellow birds are truly a wonder to behold.
From the stunning brightness of the Summer Tanager to the striking and rare beauty of the Prothonotary Warbler, these birds are not only visually appealing, but they also offer unique insights into the complex world of avian behavior and ecology.
As we explore the diversity of these thirteen species, we gain a deeper appreciation for the natural beauty of Ohio and the importance of preserving its ecosystems for generations to come.
Whether you’re a seasoned birder or simply an admirer of nature’s wonders, Ohio’s yellow birds are sure to captivate and inspire.
So, grab your binoculars, head outside, and let the beauty of Ohio’s yellow birds take flight.
Are there any rare or endangered yellow birds in Ohio?
Yes, the Prothonotary Warbler is a rare and declining species in Ohio and is listed as endangered by the Ohio Division of Wildlife.
Where can I go to see yellow birds in Ohio?
Yellow birds can be found in a variety of habitats across Ohio, including forests, wetlands, and grasslands. Popular birding spots in Ohio include the Lake Erie shore, the Shawnee State Forest, and the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
What do yellow birds eat?
Yellow birds have a varied diet that can include insects, seeds, nectar, and fruit.
How can I attract yellow birds to my backyard?
Planting native flowers and shrubs, providing a source of water, and offering bird feeders with nyjer or sunflower seeds can help attract yellow birds to your backyard.
What is the most iconic yellow bird in Ohio?
The American Goldfinch is perhaps the most iconic yellow bird in Ohio, known for its bright yellow plumage and acrobatic flight patterns.
When is the best time to see yellow birds in Ohio?
Spring and summer are the best times to see yellow birds in Ohio, as they migrate through or nest in the state during these seasons.