The Prothonotary Warbler (Prothonotaria citrea) is one of
only two warbler species in North America that nest in cavities. The
other is Lucy's Warbler of the Southwest, and it is not known to live in
artificial habitats. The Prothonotary Warbler is a user of
birdhouses, and a pair will even use one to raise more than one brood in a
year. Different pairs will also use the same house to raise their
broods in a given season.
bright yellow beauty with blue-gray wings and tail is about 5-1/2"
long. Its song is a ringing "sweet-weet-weet-weet-weet". It
lives in wooded swamplands, flooded bottomland forests, and along streams
with dead trees near them. Sometimes they live in trees actually in
the water. The borders of creeks and rivers seem to be their favorite
nesting places, but nesting over still water is not uncommon. Their
nests are close to the ground.
Prothonotary Warbler's range covers most of the southeastern states, north
to Minnesota, Michigan and New York. It appears occasionally in New
England in the spring and during migration periods may appear anyplace
coast to coast.
which lay their eggs in other species' nests for the other birds to
incubate and raise the young, frequently parasitize the nests of
Prothonotary Warblers. The small entrance hole size of this house
will discourage this practice by cowbirds, which are larger birds.
"Prothonotary" comes from "Protonotary," an official of the Catholic
church who keeps records of certain acts of the Pope and who wears a
bright yellow hood.
peak of the breeding season, many warblers, including this one, may be
seen bursting into the air, and fluttering about singing a canary-like