Bird of the Week: Golden-cheeked Warbler

Golden-cheeked Warbler

Few birds have captured the imagination of Texans like the Golden-cheeked warbler. This diminutive songbird winters in the mountain forests of Central America, but its breeding range falls entirely within thirty-three counties in central Texas. Golden-cheeked warblers require a very particular habitat: mixed oak and juniper woodlands, like those found in the deeply dissected canyons of the Balcones Escarpment. This reliance on a specialized habitat has made the species extremely vulnerable to human encroachment, particularly given the rapid development of the Balcones Escarpment region. It has been at the top of the U.S. list of endangered species since 1990. The warbler’s beauty, uniqueness (it is the only bird to breed entirely within state lines), and vulnerability have made it a symbol of environmental conservation across the state.

Compiled by Owen Moorhead. Sources include the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society.