Bird-Friendly Communities

Prothonotary Warblers

These charming songbirds need your help!

Birds Need Your Help

Prothonotary Warblers are birds of conservation concern and have seen a 40% decline in population since the 1960s, but these population declines are happening faster than they are losing breeding habitat, suggesting other factors are contributing to declines. These birds, once known as Golden Swamp Warblers, are in great need of suitable places to nest and live. They are forest-dwelling birds that nest in tree cavities and prefer wet forests, like swamps and bottomlands. They are typically found in Louisiana between March and early October.

Audubon Louisiana collaborates internationally with the Prothonotary Warbler Working Group, and locally with Louisiana Bird Observatory (a program of the Baton Rouge Audubon Society), Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center, and Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program to monitor nesting sites to learn more about factors that limit population growth. By banding birds at nesting territories, we can understand details about nesting success, territory turnover, and breeding productivity. Additionally, we are deploying light-level geolocators on a subset of birds; these small 0.5-gram devices, when recovered a year after they are placed on a bird, can reveal where that bird had traveled over the course of a year! 

You can help by becoming a volunteer nest monitor (Sign up here) or helping support our program through a financial contribution (Support here). For more information about our programs or how you can get involved, email us at Louisiana@audubon.org

Become a Citizen Scientist

Volunteers and citizen scientists play an important role in helping us monitor nests and relocate banded birds. Your observations can be used to help researchers understand why populations are declining. 

Here’s how:

  1. Learn About Prothonotary Warblers
  2. Build a Nest Box (Birdhouse)
    • Help us learn about Prothonotary Warbler nesting habits by building a nest box or finding a natural nest site. 
  3. Be Mindful of the Birds
    • When monitoring birds' nests, keep a safe distance. Allow the parents to tend to the nest and avoid putting your scent on or near the nest. Predator-guarded nest boxes can solve this issue as long as boxes are at least four feet away from overhanging branches. Contact us for more information on how to be a responsible citizen scientist. 
  4. Track and Report the Following Information:
    • Number of eggs laid, number of eggs that hatch, and number of chicks that fledge (leave the nest), or report why a nest fails.
    • You can report your discoveries at NestWatch.org or download this spreadsheet to send to Audubon Louisiana at Louisiana@audubon.org.

Our programs are made possible by people like you. We want to hear from you! Send us your findings and photos. Don't forget to connect with us on social media and watch for updates on when and where our next nest box building workshop will be held. 

How you can help, right now