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BIRD OF THE WEEK
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Setophaga occidentalis
POPULATION: 2.6 million
HABITAT: Breeds in western conifer forests; winters in Mexican and Central American highlands in pine-oak forests.
The Hermit Warbler’s species name, occidentalis, means “of the west,” and is indicative of the bird’s breeding habitat in the coniferous forests of Washington, Oregon, and California. This bright little warbler can be tricky to spot; like the Cerulean Warbler, it spends most of its time high in the canopy.
Although still considered fairly common, the Hermit Warbler is vulnerable to habitat loss due to the destruction of northwestern forests throughout its breeding range. Populations of many other bird species in this region have declined precipitously, including Northern Spotted Owl, Marbled Murrelet, and Varied Thrush.