While exploring the lush wetlands and forests of Oklahoma’s Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge, I was delighted to spot the brilliant golden-yellow plumage of the Prothonotary Warbler. This striking bird is named after Catholic protonotaries who wore similar golden robes.

Prothonotary Warbler at Miner's Cove

Prothonotary Warbler at Miner’s Cove

The Prothonotary Warbler breeds in forested swamps and bottomlands of the southeastern United States. However, Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge is one of the few places these birds can be found in the western part of their range. The refuge’s over 6,000 acres of mature bottomland hardwood forest provide ideal cavity nesting sites for this species.

As an “obligate cavity nester,” the Prothonotary Warbler relies entirely on cavities in trees for nesting and breeding. Their presence at Sequoyah is a positive sign of the refuge’s health, diversity, and pristine forest habitats.

In spring and early summer, the best time to observe these birds is in the early morning when they are most active. Visitors may hear their lively, melodious song ringing through the trees before spotting a flash of brilliant yellow.

The Prothonotary Warbler is just one of many unique bird species relying on the habitats protected within Sequoyah. Spotting these birds is a highlight for any visitor and showcases the importance of preserving wilderness areas where wildlife can thrive undisturbed. The vibrant beauty of the Prothonotary Warbler serves as a reminder of nature’s splendor.

Gear Used:

  • Camera: Canon EOS R5
  • Lens: RF100-500 mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM


  • Location: Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge (Oklahoma)
  • Date and Time Taken: August 2, 2022 (06:41 A. M.)
  • Exposure Mode: Manual
  • Aperture: f7.1
  • Shutter speed: 1/500
  • ISO: 4000 (Auto)
  • Exposure Compensation: 0
  • Focal Length: 500 mm

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