California is well known for its exotic-looking wildlife, and it is especially abundant in colorful birds throughout spring and summer as they flock here for their breeding season.
But, how many yellow birds can you see in California?
Whether you’ve spotted a yellow bird flitting around your garden that you’ve never seen before, or you’re just generally curious about the local wildlife, you’ve come to the right place!
Below, we’re going to look at 29 yellow birds you can spot in California. We’ll explore their identifying characteristics, talk about the best places to find them, and look at their diets.
You’ll also find some amazing facts about them along the way, and we’ll give you some pointers on how to attract these beautiful birds into your garden.
From the commonly seen American Goldfinch to the rarer Canada Warbler, they’re all here for you to see. So, what are you waiting for? Let’s dive in and learn some more about these fabulous yellow birds!
One of California’s most common and beloved birds, the American Goldfinch can be seen in the State all year-round.
Its numbers also increase from April to November as other birds migrate to California for the breeding season from different parts of the world.
Male American Goldfinches are very easy to identify thanks to their bright yellow breast, throat, and upperparts.
They also sport a black cap, have black and white wings, and a gray neck. Females are duller in color, sporting a paler yellow breast and brown plumage all over.
Both sexes are around the same size, measuring 4.5-inches in length and with an average wingspan of 8-inches.
The American Goldfinch can be found in multiple habitats including backyards, parks, and weedy fields.
They nest in all of these areas, constructing a nest made from intricately woven plant material and rootlets held together by spider silk and hidden deep in a shrub.
In this nest, the female American Goldfinch will lay as many as 7 eggs. She’ll then incubate them for two weeks and, once hatched, the mating couple will spend a further two and half weeks raising them.
Like most members of the Finch family, the American Goldfinch feeds almost exclusively on seeds.
They forage around their natural habitat for thistle seeds, sunflower seeds, and aster.
They can also be drawn into your garden with an offering of Nyjer seeds and sunflower seeds, and you can increase your chances of enticing this colorful bird into your yard by planting thistles.
A winter visitor to California, the Tropical Kingbird can be spotted along the coast from October to January.
Come spring, they head further South to Central and South America for the breeding season before heading back to California’s coastline the following fall.
The Tropical Kingbird is a medium-sized songbird, measuring around 8.5-inches in length.
It can be identified by its bright yellow underparts, pale yellow breast, light gray head, and black and white wings.
It also has a sharp, black beak that is perfectly evolved for snatching flying insects out of the air with expert skill.
The best place to spot a Tropical Kingbird is in open country. Here, the female constructs a nest from vines, twigs, and grass high up in the trees.
This same nest is made in their breeding grounds and, once complete, the female Tropical Kingbird lays up to 3 eggs and incubates them for a period of two weeks.
Since their diet is primarily insectivorous, attracting the Tropical Kingbird into your garden isn’t very easy.
They do eat fruit and berries when insects are scarce though, so placing some sliced fruits on your platform feeder could increase your chances of drawing them.
Likewise, planting fruiting shrubs and trees could entice them into your backyard.
Black-Throated Green Warbler
Despite its seemingly confusing name, the Black-Throated Green Warbler finds its way onto this list of yellow birds thanks to its bright face, cheeks, and throat.
It can also be identified by its olive-green wings and upperparts, black and white barred wings, white underparts, and black-streaked white breast.
A small songbird, the Black-Throated Green Warbler measures around 4.5-inches long and has an average wingspan of 7-inches.
Unlike many of the birds on this list, the Black-Throated Green Warbler is most commonly spotted in California during the winter months.
They are particularly abundant in the South of the State at this time, living high up in forests and roosting in small trees.
They also build their nests in this habitat, constructing a nest from bark and twigs expertly woven together with spider silk close to the trunk of a tree.
This nest is lined with soft material such as moss or animal hair and, once complete, the female Black-Throated Green Warbler lays up to 4 eggs.
She incubates them for 12 days and the breeding couple will then spend a further 10 days raising the chicks before they are ready to fly the nest.
The Black-Throated Green Warbler is almost exclusively insectivorous, feeding on beetles, caterpillars, ants, and spiders.
This does mean that attracting them to bird feeders is difficult, but you can draw them to your garden by planting mature trees that will naturally attract insects.
The best time of year to spot a Western Tanager in California is during the breeding season of May to September.
However, they are particularly active at either end of this season as they fly to and from their winter home of Central America and Mexico.
The Western Tanager is one of the most colorful birds you’ll spot in California.
Males can be identified by their bright yellow underparts and neck, orange face, and black wings with white markings.
Females are duller but also colorful in their own right, sporting a yellow-green head and rump along with dark gray upperparts, underparts, and wings marked with white.
Their preferred habitat is open conifer forests where they live high up in the canopy. Here,they construct a nest made from rootlets and large twigs which is held together by weaving small twigs into it.
This nest is formed into a cup-shape and lined with hair, soft grass, and pine needles. Once built, the female Western Tanager lays up to 4 eggs and incubates them for two weeks.
The Western Tanager’s diet mainly consists of insects, especially during the summer months.
However, they will also eat fruit and can be attracted to bird tables by placing sliced oranges on a platform feeder.
Additionally, planting autumn-fruiting shrubs and trees in your backyard will increase your chances of attracting this colorful bird.
Although the Magnolia Warbler is a pretty rare sight in California, it can be spotted in October as it begins its long migration to the Caribbean and Central America for winter.
The Magnolia Warbler can be identified by its bright yellow breast and underparts which are streaked with black, along with its black and white wings, black face, and white eye stripe.
These markings can be seen on males, while females are grayer on their upperparts and do not have black streaking.
The best place to spot a Magnolia Warbler is in open parks or forests.
Here, they roost and nest on low tree branches, building a nest from weeds and grass that are woven together in a loose construction.
In this nest, the female Magnolia Warbler lays up to 4 eggs which she incubates for 12 days.
Once hatched, the mating couple will spend 9 days feeding and raising them before the chicks are ready to fledge.
Like many members of the Warbler family, the Magnolia Warbler is exclusively insectivorous, feeding on crickets, grasshoppers, beetles, caterpillars, ants, and spiders.
With this in mind, it is quite rare to see a Magnolia Warbler on your bird feeders. However, you can increase your chances of enticing them into your garden by planting native shrubs.
This doesn’t only attract insects, but gives them a safe place to rest during migration.
The Evening Grosbeak can be spotted from April to August in California, however, it isn’t a very common sight as this bird is unfortunately considered a vulnerable species.
If you do think you’ve spotted an Evening Grosbeak, you’ll be able to identify it by its yellow upperparts, underparts, and breast. It also has a black tail, black and white wings, and a distinctive yellow eye stripe across its black face.
This yellow eye stripe is only present in males. Female and juvenile Evening Grosbeaks are mostly gray in color, but retain a small yellow patch on the neck.
Mountain ranges and forests make up the Evening Grosbeak’s prefered habitat, and here they build nests high up in pine trees – often as high as 100 feet above the ground.
These nests are made from rootlets, twigs, pine needles, moss, and grass constructed in a loose fashion.
The female Evening Grosbeak lays up to 5 eggs in this nest and then incubates them for a further two weeks before they hatch.
The Evening Grosbeak will rarely stray outside of its chosen habitat during the summer, however, it will venture further afield in search of food as fall starts to roll around.
You can attract the Evening Grosbeak to your bird feeders by offering a good variety of berries and seeds for them to feed on.
Evening Grosbeaks also have a particular taste for maple buds and small fruits, so you can increase your chances of attracting this bird into your backyard by planting maple trees and fruiting shrubs.
Female Painted Bunting
While the male Painted Bunting is famous for its patchwork of brightly colored feathers, the female Painted Bunting isn’t nearly as showy.
She does, however, sport beautiful yellow-green feathers across her entire body, with a bright yellow patch on the belly.
Measuring around 5-inches long, the Painted Bunting is considered a small songbird.
The female Painted Bunting isn’t a very common sight in California, and most are spotted during the winter months.
Those that remain in the State over winter do so if the temperatures are warm enough, while others will flock to the Caribbean, Central America, and Southern Florida.
If you do want to try and spot a female Painted Bunting, the best place to visit is semi-open habitats such as woods, fields, and farmland. Here, they nest deep in dense vegetation five feet from the ground.
The female is solely responsible for building the nest and will use a mixture of grass, plant materials, twigs, and bark to form a strong structure.
She’ll then weave horsehair and cobwebs throughout to strengthen before laying up to 4 eggs.
These eggs are incubated for a period of 10 days and, once hatched, the mating pair will take turns feeding them for the following 10 days.
After this, the young chicks are ready to fly the nest.
The Painted Bunting lives on a diet of insects and seeds, and it can be attracted to your garden by offering a good variety of seeds.
This includes black sunflower seeds and millet, which are among their favorites.
They can also be attracted to your garden by planting dense vegetation, as this offers them somewhere to rest and shelter during the winter.
The Wilson’s Warbler is one of the most commonly spotted yellow birds in California during the summer months.
It is particularly abundant in May and September as it stirs from its breeding grounds and starts preparing to migrate to Central America and Mexico for winter.
It’s also one of the easiest birds to identify thanks to its distinctive, colorful markings.
These tiny birds measure around 4.5-inches and have an average wingspan of 6 inches. They also sport bright yellow feathers across their underside, breast, and face.
Their upperparts and wings are black and streaked with yellow, and they have a jet black cap.
These colors and markings are the same across both sexes, although the female Wilson’s Warbler has a duller-black cap.
The best place to spot a Wilson’s Warbler is along forest edges or thickets near a source of water such as a river or stream.
Here, they build nests on or close to the ground hidden in shrubs and constructed using sedge, leaves, moss, bark, and grass.
This is woven into a cup-shape and lined with a soft material such as animal hair or softer grasses.
Once complete, the female Wilson’s Warbler lays up to 5 eggs and incubates them for 11 days.
The mating couple then raise their chicks together for a further 10 days before they are ready to fly the nest.
Wilson’s Warblers are exclusively insectivorous, feeding on a plethora of insects including larvae, ants, beetles, caterpillars, and spiders.
This does mean that attracting them to your garden is difficult as they won’t visit feeders. However, you can attract them by planting native trees and shrubs which, in turn, will attract insects.
Female American Redstart
Just like the Painted Bunting, markings and colors differ quite dramatically between sexes on the American Redstart.
While the male can be identified by its bright orange patches that contrast magnificently with its jet black feathers, the female is covered with olive-green feathers, has a white breast, and sports yellow highlights across her body.
Both sexes are around the same size, measuring 5-inches and with an average wingspan of 7-inches.
Although not a very common sight in California, you can spot the female American Redstart at the end of its migration period; September and October.
The best place to spot this colorful little bird is in deciduous forests, although they have also been known to visit backyards and help themselves to snacks offered from feeders.
In these deciduous forests, the American Redstart builds its nest close to the trunk of a tree or in a large, dense shrub.
Its nest is made from grass, bark, and a mixture of other plant materials and, once ready, the female lays up to 5 eggs.
She’ll incubate these eggs for two weeks and the couple will raise their chicks together for a further two weeks once hatched. After this, they’re ready to fly the nest.
Throughout the summer months, the American Redstart is almost exclusively insectivorous and will rarely stray from its deciduous forest home.
However, come fall, they’ll start feeding on fruits and berries including magnolia and serviceberry. They can also be attracted to your garden by planting these shrubs, or other fruit-bearing trees and bushes.
Another bird that spends the breeding season in California, the Western Kingbird is mostly spotted in the State at either end of its migration season – March and October.
Outside of these months, they spend their days in Central America and Mexico, although a small number overwinter in South Florida.
Measuring around 9-inches long and with an average wingspan of 15-inches, the Western Kingbird is one of the larger birds on our list. It’s not only its size that it can be identified by, though.
The Western Kingbird can be identified by their yellow underparts that run in an ombre-effect into a white breast. They also have gray faces and caps, brown and white wings, and distinctive horizontal black eye stripes.
The best place to spot a Western Kingbird is in its breeding ground of open habitats such as woodlands and parks.
They can often be found perching on utility lines and fences too, giving them the perfect vantage point to spot any flying insects and snatching them out of the air in mid-flight.
They also nest in these habitats, choosing a spot in a shrub or tree and constructing a nest from grass, twigs, and other plant material.
The female is solely responsible for building this cup-shaped nest and, once complete, will lay as many as 7 eggs.
These take almost three weeks to incubate and hatch and almost the same amount of time to raise and fly the nest.
While it’s quite rare to spot a Western Kingbird in your garden, and even rarer to see one on your bird feeders, you can attract them by leaving an area of your yard to “go wild”.
This will attract insects which they’ll feed on. They also eat fruit, so planting hawthorn or elderberry will also increase your chances of attracting the Western Kingbird.
The Hooded Warbler is one of the most striking birds you’ll ever see, and it is resident in California all year round.
Named for its jet black cap and throat that are joined across the neck to form a “hood”, this bird also has a bright yellow face and breast, and yellow-green wings that are tinged with dark gray.
While the Hooded Warbler is resident in California all year round, some may migrate to other destinations for winter, especially if the temperature starts to drop too low.
These destinations include the Caribbean and Central America.
The best place to find a Hooded Warbler is in its preferred habitat of mixed forests with dense undergrowth.
Here, they construct a cup-shaped nest made from grass and bark, placed deep in a shrub. In this nest, the female Hooded Warbler lays up to 4 eggs and incubates them for 12 days.
The mating couple then raises their chicks together for a further 9 nine days before they are ready to leave the nest.
As members of the Warbler family, the Hooded Warbler is exclusively insectivorous.
This means that you won’t see one feeding from your bird feeders, but you can attract them to your garden by planting native plants and shrubs. These will attract insects and offer the Hooded Warbler a place to shelter.
Another striking bird, the Yellow-Headed Blackbird can be spotted in California during the summer months.
Like most migratory birds, it is most active at either end of its migration season (March and October) as it searches for food to stock up its energy reserves before the long flight to warmer temperatures.
Measuring around 9-inches long and with an average wingspan of 17-inches, the Yellow-Headed Blackbird is one of the largest birds on our list.
Its size is one clear identifier, but it can also be identified by its namesake bright yellow head as well as its yellow breast.
The rest of its body is covered with jet black feathers, and it has a small black eye mask.
The best place to find a Yellow-Headed Blackbird is in prairie wetlands. Here, they nest in the reeds, using long, wet stems that are expertly woven together and attached to the reeds.
This creates a nest that is suspended securely above the water. In this nest, the female Yellow-Headed Blackbird lays up to 5 eggs and incubates them for two weeks.
Once hatched, the parents raise their chicks for two more weeks until they are ready to fly the nest.
Throughout the summer, the Yellow-Headed Blackbird feeds almost exclusively on insects.
Come fall, however, they start to feed on seeds and can be attracted to your garden by offering sunflower seeds.
The Dickcissel is another of California’s migratory birds, spending the spring and summer in the South of the State before heading to Central America, Mexico, and South America for the winter.
Measuring around 6-inches long and with an average wingspan of 10-inches, the Dickcissel can be identified by its jet black throat patch and bright yellow breast.
It also has a matching bright yellow eye stripe across its gray head, while the wings are a light brown color. Unusual for birds, there isn’t that much of a difference in colors or markings between the sexes.
However, the female Dickcissel is slightly duller in color and does not sport the black throat patch.
To spot a Dickcissel, you’ll need to take a trip to their preferred habitat or prairies, meadows, and grasslands.
Here, they build a nest in a variety of places from close to the ground in thick shrubs to almost 4 feet high up in the trees. These nests are made from grass, leaves, and weeds and lined with animal hair and fine grass for insulation and comfort.
The female Dickcissel then lays up to 6 eggs in this nest and incubates them for two weeks. Once hatched, the parents will raise their chicken for another 10 days before helping them fledge.
In terms of food, the Dickcissel has an omnivorous diet and feeds on seeds and insects.
Like most birds, insects make up the majority of their food during the summer but they’ll also eat any seeds, grasses, and weeds they can find.
You can also attract the Dickcissel to your garden by offering a good variety of seeds in fall, as this will give them much-needed energy ahead of their migratory journey.
Another of California’s resident birds, the Lesser Goldfinch can be seen in the State all year-round.
Like most birds, they are busiest during the spring and summer months, but they can be seen in multiple habitats throughout fall and winter as well.
The Lesser Goldfinch is quite easy to identify thanks to its bright yellow underparts and breast, as well as their gray upperparts, dark brown cap, and brown and white wings.
These colors can be found on the male Lesser Goldfinch, while females have olive-green backs and sport a pale yellow underneath. Both sexes are similar in size, measuring around 4-inches long and with a 7-inch wingspan.
There are loads of different places you can spot the Lesser Goldfinch. They have been noted in forests, woodlands, thickets, fields, parks, and gardens.
They also nest in all of these habitats, constructing a nest from leaves, bark, and other plant material and forming it into a cup shape using spider silk.
These nests are placed deep in shrubs or high in trees and, once complete, the female Lesser Goldfinch will lay up to 6 eggs.
She’ll then incubate these for two weeks and, with the help of the male, raise them for another two weeks. After this time, they are ready to fly the nest.
Like all members of the Finch family, the Lesser Goldfinch feeds mostly on seeds, and will happily spend its days foraging on the ground looking for sunflower or Nyjer seeds to feast on. It also feeds on fruits and buds including alder, willow, cottonwood, and willow.
Attracting the Lesser Goldfinch to your garden is quite easy as they are extremely food-driven.
An offering of Nyjer seeds and sunflower seeds is almost guaranteed to entice them to your feeders. You can also increase your chances by planting fruiting shrubs such as coffeeberry and elderberry.
The Prothonotary Warbler is a beautiful little bird that can be identified by the bright yellow feathers that cover the majority of its body.
It also has blue-gray wings that contrast beautifully with its plumage and a jet black beak.
Measuring 5-inches long and with an 8-inch wingspan, the Prothonotary Warbler is a small songbird and, like most birds, females are duller in color than males.
While not very common in California, the Prothonotary Warbler can be seen in the State during their migration periods.
This little bird breeds throughout the Eastern States and, come winter, they take to the skies and head to South America and Mexico.
You’ll have to go on a bit of a hike to spot a Prothonotary Warbler as they are secretive birds that rarely venture out of their preferred habitat.
This includes wet woodlands and forest edges near a source of water such as a river, lake, or stream.
Here, they set up their nests in abandoned woodpecker holes, packing them with moss before forming a cup-shaped nest inside made from leaves and grass.
Once satisfied with the build, the female Prothonotary Warbler will lay as many as 7 eggs and spend the next two weeks incubating them.
As soon as they are hatched, both parents will spend the following ten days feeding and raising them until they are ready to fly the nest.
Unusually for members of the Warbler family, the Prothonotary Warbler isn’t exclusively insectivorous.
Its preference is insects during the spring and summer and this is what they’ll raise their brood on. But, come winter, it will turn its attention to seeds and berries.
Since they are such shy birds, attracting the Prothonotary Warbler to your garden can be difficult and they are unlikely to visit feeders.
However, you can increase your chances of enticing this colorful little bird into your backyard by installing a nesting box. You stand an even better chance if you live near a natural source of water.
The Common Yellowthroat is a remarkable looking bird that can be spotted in California all year round.
Their numbers increase in the State during April – December also, as birds from other parts of North America flock to California for the breeding season.
As you may have guessed from its name, the Common Yellowthroat can be identified by its bright yellow throat and breast.
It also has a jet black mask that is surrounded by a white stripe, while the rest of its body is covered with olive-green plumage.
The black mask is only present in males but, aside from this, there isn’t too much of a difference between sexes.
Both are around the same size too, measuring 4.5-inches long and with an average wingspan of 6-inches.
The best place to try and spot a Common Yellowthroat is wetlands or marshy areas. Here, the female is solely responsible for building the nest, and she uses a mixture of sedges and grass supported over a platform of leaves.
Once complete, she’ll lay up to 6 eggs and incubate them for 12 days. Once the chicks have hatched, both parents will feed their chicks for a further 12 days before helping them fledge.
Common Yellowthroats are exclusively insectivorous and enjoy a diet of crickets, caterpillars, ants, beetles, spiders, and any other insect they can find.
This makes them a tricky bird to attract to your garden as they won’t visit any seed feeders.
You can, however, draw them in by planting native shrubs that will attract insects as well as dense vegetation that they can shelter in.
Female Orchard Oriole
While the male Orchard Oriole is covered with bright red plumage, the female Orchard Oriole looks entirely different.
This bird can be identified by its yellow-green feathers that cover the majority of its body, along with its dark brown and white streaked wings.
Both sexes are around the same size, measuring 6.5-inches long and with an average wingspan of 9.5-inches. This makes them a medium-sized songbird.
Orchard Orioles can be found in California all year round, although they are not very common.
Those that live throughout the rest of North America may migrate to California for the winter, increasing the number of birds in the State, although most will head to Central America and Mexico.
Their preferred habitat is open woodland, although some have been spotted nesting and roosting in shrubland, farms, and along riverbanks.
In all of these locations, the Orchard Oriole’s nest remains the same – a cup-shaped nest formed of long grass and suspended from a tree branch in a hanging, pouch-like fashion.
In this hanging nest, the female Orchard Oriole will lay up to 6 eggs, then spend the next two weeks feeding them.
Once hatched, the same amount of time will be spent by each parent taking it in turns to feed them until they are ready to leave the nest.
The Orchard Oriole has quite a varied diet, feeding on insects throughout the summer but also snacking on flower nectar, fruits, and berries.
This wide appetite does mean that attracting them to your garden is possible, especially if you offer cut oranges, mangoes, and berries. Filling your hummingbird feeders with sugar nectar is also a good way of enticing them in.
Although the Cedar Waxwing can be spotted in California all year round, it is most commonly seen during the winter months.
This is because other Cedar Waxwings from other parts of North America head to California for the winter, bringing the number of birds up with them.
Those that don’t overwinter in California head to Central America and Mexico instead.
The Cedar Waxwing is a medium sized, exotic-looking bird that measures around 6.5-inches and has an average wingspan of 10.5-inches.
Its main identifying feature is its peach-colored crest, and it also sports a distinctive black eye mask. The underparts are a pale yellow color, the throat and upper parts are pale brown, and the wings are dark gray.
There are many places you can spot a Cedar Waxwing including woodlands, grasslands, and towns.
They also nest in each of these habitats, constructing a nest from grass, twigs, and hair then lining it with softer grasses and pine needles. The female Cedar Waxwing will lay up to 6 eggs in this nest and incubate them for 12 days.
The brooding period is much longer for Cedar Waxwings than most other birds, and the parents may take as long as 16 days to prepare them to fly the nest.
Throughout the summer, the Cedar Waxwing feeds on insects. However, all year-round they love nothing more than feasting on fruits and berries including juniper, hawthorn, dogwood, winterberry, and serviceberry.
This makes attracting them to your garden quite easy, and all you need to do is leave out an offering of fruit on a platform feeder. Planting fruiting bushes and trees will also increase your chances of enticing this beautiful bird into your garden.
The Palm Warbler is a tiny bird that measures around 5-inches in length and has an average wingspan of 8-inches.
It can be identified by its bright yellow underparts and breast, yellow face, and rust-red cap. It also has dark brown upper parts and wings, and dark brown streaking across the breast.
While the Palm Warbler isn’t a year-round resident in California, it can be spotted in October as it flocks to Florida for winter.
Depending on the temperature, however, some may stay in California until the middle of January, returning shortly after for the breeding season.
The best place to find a Palm Warbler is along forest edges, in weedy fields, or in scrubby areas between spring and fall.
They build their nests on the ground in these areas, using a mixture of sedge, fern, and grass woven into a cup shape and lined with soft materials such as animal hair and feathers.
The Palm Warbler often mixes with other species of birds for protection in these areas as well, including Juncos and Sparrows.
Just like most other species of Warbler, the Palm Warbler is exclusively insectivorous.
This means that they aren’t going to be tempted to visit your bird feeders regardless of the variety of seeds you’re offering. This doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to entice them, though.
The best way to attract Palm Warblers to your garden is by planting native shrubs, plants, and trees. These will attract insects and, in turn, draw the Palm Warbler to your backyard.
Not to be confused with the Hooded Warbler, the Hooded Oriole can be found in California from March to September, visiting the State for the breeding season.
As with most species of bird, there are differences in colors and markings between the sexes.
The male Hooded Oriole can be identified by its bright yellow feathers that cover the majority of its body, along with a black breast and face.
The placement of these black markings, along with their black wings, give the illusion of a yellow hood, hence the name “Hooded Oriole”.
Female Hooded Orioles, on the other hand, are a paler yellow with gray wings.
They also don’t have the same black markings as the male. Both sexes are around the same size though, measuring 7-inches in length and with an average wingspan of 10-inches.
Summer visitors to California, the Hooded Oriole nests in dry, open areas and has a particular fondness for building its nest near palm trees.
These nests are built as high as 20 feet off the ground and fashioned into a hanging basket made from grass, bark, and soft plant material. These are often suspended from the underside of palm fronds.
Come winter, the Hooded Oriole heads South Central America and Mexico, although some may remain present all year along the Gulf Coast.
However, some have stopped migrating in winter due to rising temperatures and because food is now so readily available at feeders.
One sure fire way to attract the Hooded Oriole to your garden is by leaving out sliced oranges and sugar water.
Bizarrely, they have also been known to feast on jelly, so leave some of this on your platform feeder to increase your chances of enticing this colorful bird into your yard.
The Nashville Warbler can be identified by its bright yellow underparts and breast, olive green wings, and dark gray cap and face.
It also has a white eye ring and some have a small red patch on the very top of their head.
There isn’t much difference in markings between males and females, although females and juveniles are generally duller in color. Both sexes are the same size, measuring around 5-inches and with an average wingspan of 7-inches.
Summer visitors to California, the Nashville Warbler is most commonly spotted in the State from April to October, with either end of this time frame being its busiest time of the year.
Come winter, the Nashville Warbler takes to California’s skies and heads further South, with most spending the colder months in Mexico.
While in California, the Nashville Warbler sets up home in deciduous forests and scrubby areas.
Here, they build a nest close to the ground but very well hidden in a dense shrub. They use a mixture of moss, grass, and bark and weave their nest into a cup-shape using softer plant material.
In this nest, the female Nashville Warbler lays up to 4 eggs and spends 12 days incubating them before they hatch. The chicks will be cared for by both parents for another 10 days before they are ready to fly the nest.
Like most Warblers, the Nashville Warbler feeds exclusively on insects during the summer.
Come fall migration, however, it builds up its energy levels by feeding on suet placed in bird feeders. So, if you’d like to attract the Nashville Warbler to your garden, be sure that you’ve plenty of suet on offer!
Another small yellow songbird, the Yellow-Rumped Warbler measures around 5-inches in length and has an average wingspan of 8.5-inches.
Males can be identified by their gray and white feathers that cover their entire bodies, along with flashes of yellow under each wing and a bright yellow throat.
Females are brown rather than gray, but retain the yellow marks, albeit in a paler shade.
The Yellow-Rumped Warbler is one of the most commonly spotted birds in California throughout the winter months, and their numbers increase as birds from other parts of North America migrate South for the winter.
Some remain all year-round as well, making this one of California’s resident bird species.
The best place to spot a Yellow-Rumped Warbler is in coniferous forests, although they venture to different habitats during the winter months and can be found in open areas, parks, and gardens with fruiting shrubs to feed from.
During the breeding season, however, they stay exclusively in the security of coniferous forests.
Here, the nest is built exclusively by the female Yellow-Rumped Warbler. She uses a mixture of pine needles, grasses, and twigs to construct the nest and then lines it with moss, hair, and soft grasses for added insulation and comfort.
She’ll then lay up to 6 eggs and incubate them for two weeks. Once hatched, both parents will feed and raise the chicks for a further 10 days before they’re ready to leave the nest.
Although the Yellow-Rumped Warbler feeds almost exclusively on insects, particularly during the summer, they can be attracted to your garden with a variety of foods.
Suet, raisins, sunflower seeds, and peanut butter will all be well-received by the Yellow-Rumped Warbler, and you can increase your chances of attracting it by planting autumn and winter fruiting bushes.
Female Summer Tanager
Male and female Summer Tanagers couldn’t look any more different from each other! While the male is covered with bright red feathers and sports just a few streaks of black on each wing, the female Summer Tanager sports bright yellow feathers with black-streaked wings.
Each sex has a chunky beak that almost looks too big for its head, and these birds are around 6.5-inches in length.
Another of California’s summer-visiting bird species, the Summer Tanager can be spotted throughout the State from May to July.
As soon as their breeding season has ended and their chicks have flown the nest, these colorful birds start their long migration back to South America for the winter.
While in California, however, the Summer Tanager can be found living in open woodlands.
Here, the female constructs a nest from grass, weeds, and other plant materials, choosing an area near the end of an overhanging tree branch to place it.
These nests don’t look very well constructed but they are safe enough and, once ready, the female will lay up to 4 eggs.
These eggs are incubated by the female Summer Tanager for a period of 10 days.
Once the chicks have hatched, the parents take it in turns to feed their young, caring for them for another 10 days before they are ready to fledge
Summer Tanagers feed exclusively on insects throughout the summer, and they are experts at catching and feeding on bees and wasps.
They also have an incredibly clever way of stopping themselves from getting stung in the process.
They’ll snatch a wasp or bee out of the air in mid flight, carry it over to a tree branch, and use the bark to rub its stinger off. Once safe, they’ll swallow it down!
Come fall, the Summer Tanager feeds on fruits and berries and it can be attracted to your garden by planting fruiting shrubs and trees.
Another member of the Warbler family, the Orange-Crowned Warbler spends its summer in California and is most commonly spotted at either end of its migration season.
However, some will remain in California all year-round, especially if temperatures haven’t dipped too low.
One thing that you may be surprised to learn is that, despite their name, most Orange-Crowned Warblers don’t have an orange crown at all.
They also aren’t as brightly colored as many other Warblers, and sport yellow-green feathers all over their body along with dark gray and white-tipped wings.
In terms of size, the Orange-Crowned Warbler is a small songbird that measures around 5-inches long and has an average wingspan of 7-inches.
The best place to spot an Orange-Crowned Warbler is in open woodland. Here, they nest in low vegetation and dense shrubs, building a nest from twigs, plant stems, and dead leaves.
This nest is lined with soft material, such as animal hair, and the female Orange-Crowned Warbler then lays up to 6 eggs.
Their diet mainly consists of insects including spiders, caterpillars, and flies. Come fall and winter, however, the Orange-Crowned Warbler will feed on seeds, fruits, and berries.
They can be attracted to your garden by filling your feeders with a good selection of different seeds, as well as suet and peanut butter. They’ll also visit hummingbird feeders filled with sugar water nectar.
While both sexes of Scott’s Oriole are yellow, the male sports the brighter plumage. Its entire underside is covered with bright yellow feathers and this extends onto the top of the wings, while the rest of its body is covered with jet black plumage.
The female Scott’s Oriole, on the other hand, are covered with pale yellow feathers and have olive-green upper parts.
Both sexes are around the same size, measuring 9-inches in length and with a 12-inch wingspan.
The Scott’s Oriole can be spotted in California for just a few months a year, visiting the State from April to June.
Once their short breeding season has ended, they’ll head further South to Mexico, where some remain all year round.
The best place to spot a Scott’s Oriole in California is in arid areas across higher elevations. Here, they build a nest no more than 7 feet off the ground made from grass, yucca leaves, and cactus fibers.
The Scott’s Oriole also hunts and feeds in this area, picking insects out of the air in mid flight with expert precision.
Interestingly, they are also capable of feeding on the toxic Monarch Butterfly, and are able to find those with the least toxins!
You can attract Scott’s Orioles to your backyard during their short Californian stay by offering slices of orange or filling hummingbird feeders with sugar water nectar.
This gives them a n additional boost of energy ahead of their migration to Mexico in June.
While the Western Meadowlark is a year-round resident in California, it is most commonly spotted from October through March.
This is mainly due to the fact that other birds from different parts of North America flock to California’s warmer winter temperatures.
Members of the Blackbird family, the Western Meadowlark can be identified by its dark brown upper parts, black-dotted white underparts, and bright yellow breast and throat.
It also has a jet black v-shape marking across the breast, giving it the appearance of wearing a necklace. In the winter, their bright yellow chest turns gray, but the necklace remains in place.
You’re most likely to spot a Western Meadowlark in meadows, grasslands, and open fields. Here, they forage on the ground for food, usually in small flocks.
They also nest in these areas, choosing small depressions in the ground and filling them with a soft material such as animal hair or grass.
Some of these nests are constructed with a roof over the top, usually made from plant stalks, adding extra protection for the parent, eggs, and chicks.
Omnivorous birds, the Western Meadowlark feeds mostly on insects during the summer before turning its appetite to seeds in winter.
This beautiful bird can be attracted to your garden with an offering of cracked corn or sunflower seeds.
Female Baltimore Oriole
Although the Baltimore Oriole can be found in California all year round, it remains one of the State’s rarest bird species.
Males and females are different in appearance, with male Baltimore Oriole sporting bright orange and black feathers and white wing bars. Females, on the other hand, have yellow underparts, gray-brown wings, and brown-yellow backs.
Both sexes are around the same size, measuring 7-inches long and with an average wingspan of 10-inches.
The best place to find the Baltimore Oriole is in open woodland or forest edges near a source of water.
Here, they nest high up in the trees, building a nest from twigs, plant stems, and grasses.
They rarely venture out of this habitat during the breeding season as the forest provides them with everything they need, including insects and fruits to feed on.
Unfortunately, Baltimore Orioles are considered a pest in some areas due to their destruction of fruit crops including cherries, raspberries, mulberries, oranges and bananas.
Luckily, this hasn’t impacted their numbers too greatly and they aren’t considered vulnerable or threatened.
Their love of fruit makes them quite an easy bird to attract to your garden. Simply placing slices of oranges on a platform feeder or hanging them from a tree should be enough to entice them in.
You can also increase your chances of attracting the Baltimore Oriole into your garden by planting fruiting shrubs and trees.
The Yellow Warbler is a small bird that measures an average of 5-inches long and has a wingspan around 7-inches.
As its name suggests, it can be identified by its bright yellow feathers that cover the majority of its body along with the dark brown streaks across the breasts.
Markings and colors are the same between sexes, although females and juveniles are paler than males.
Summer visitors to California, the Yellow Warbler can be spotted in the State from April to October.
They spend their breeding season here and, come fall, start their long migration South to Central and South America for winter.
While in California, the Yellow Warbler can be found nesting in forest edges and thickets near a source of water.
They can also be found in wetlands and, in all of these habitats, they construct their nests in shrubs or small trees.
These nests are made from grass, bark, and other plant materials and woven together into a cup-shape using spider silk.
This nest is then lined with a softer material, such as animal hair, and the female Yellow Warbler lays up to 7 eggs inside.
These are incubated for 12 days and, once hatched, the parents spend the next 10 days raising their chicks and preparing them for leaving the nest.
Throughout the summer, the Yellow Warbler’s diet consists of insects including beetles, spiders, caterpillars, and wasps.
Come fall, they will feed on fruit and buds, and can be drawn to bird feeders stocked with suet and peanut butter.
Gardens with fruiting bushes are also likely to be visited by Yellow Warblers, so make sure you include these in your planting scheme if you want to entice this beautiful bird into your yard.
The last entry on our list of yellow birds you can find in California is the Canada Warbler.
This is also one of the rare birds you can spot in California, although some are seen every year during the migration season.
The Canada Warbler looks remarkably similar to the Magnolia Warbler and, to make things even more interesting, they have a similar range.
They can be told apart, however, by the Canada Warbler’s gray-black back and the jet black necklace that the male sports.
They also have a bright yellow throat, breast, and underparts. In terms of size, the Canada Warbler measures around 5.5-inches in length and has an average wingspan of 7-inches.
Although rare, you’re most likely to spot a Canada Warbler in California’s conifer forests, aspen forest, or poplar forests. Here, they build a nest close to the ground from leaves, grass, bark and other plant material.
These nests are woven into a cup shape and, when complete, the female Canada Warbler will lay up to 6 eggs. She’ll then incubate the eggs for 12 days and, once hatched, they’ll be raised by both parents for just 8 days before they are ready to leave the nest.
The Canada Warbler’s diet consists exclusively of insects, and they can be seen foraging on the ground for bugs and spiders. They’ll often flip over small rocks and leaf litter in pursuit of a meal!
Since they are so rare, it’s quite difficult to attract the Canada Warbler to your garden.
If you really want to try, however, it would be a good idea to include conifer trees in your planting as well as native shrubs that attract insects.
There you have it – 29 yellow birds you can find all over California. Many of these can be attracted to bird feeders with an offering of seeds, suet, or peanuts.
To attract others, you’ll need to plant fruiting bushes, native plants, or let an area of your garden “go wild” so it attracts insects.
This might seem like a bit of an effort but, if one thing is for certain, seeing a new feathered friend hopping around your garden is worth every bit of effort you put into attracting them there.
Whatever you choose to do, next time you see a small bird with yellow markings that you can’t quite place, make sure you open this list – you may have just spotted something you’ve never seen before.