Habitat for the Golden-cheeked Warbler (Seophaga chrysoparia)
Much of the typical habitat of the Texas Hill Country is characterized by scrubby oak and juniper woodlands. The mature sections of this forest are the only areas in the world where the endangered Golden-cheeked Warbler lives and breeds, nesting from March through August. In the winter, the bird migrates south into Central America.
Warblers need a combination of mature Ashe juniper and hardwood trees in their nesting habitat. Typical nesting habitat is found in tall, dense, mature stands of Ashe juniper (blueberry cedar) mixed with trees such as Texas (Spanish) oak, Lacey oak, shin (scalybark) oak, live oak, post oak, Texas ash, cedar elm, hackberry, bigtooth maple, sycamore, Arizona walnut, escarpment cherry, and pecan.
The Golden-Cheeked Warbler is suffering from habitat loss. As Austin and the Hill Country area grow and become more urbanized, the natural habitat for the Golden-Cheeked Warbler is broken up. There are fewer sites to nest in central Texas as the juniper-oak woodlands are cleared.
The Ashe juniper trees are a crucial component of Golden-cheeked Warbler habitat. Generally, trees required for nesting habitat are at least 15 feet tall with a trunk diameter of about five inches at four feet above the ground. The essential element is that juniper trees have shredding bark, at least near the base of the tree. Their nests are an open cup woven of strips of juniper bark, spider silk, fine grass, hair, and down.
For more information on the Golden-Cheeked Warbler click here.