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Nashville Warbler (Oreothlypis ruficapilla)

Posted on Nov 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving! Many Thanksgivings ago I was watching my bird feeders at my parent’s house in Connecticut while waiting for family to arrive and dinner to begin on a cool, rainy day. While looking out the window I spotted, naked eye, an oddly shaped and surprisingly brightly colored bird on a tree branch. I grabbed my binoculars very quickly and had a good look at a warbler inspecting the feeding area and all of the bird commotion below it. It had a yellow body, dark green on the back and wings, a gray hood and very bright white eye rings. It was a Nashville Warbler! Their wintering range is typically far south in Mexico or Central America, and one could only reasonably expect to spot them in the U.S. in a place like California or Texas at that late point of the autumn season. The bird moved on, not wanting to take a shot at the suet with all of the other frenzied activity. I was unable to get a photo but the picture here is another Nashville Warbler we recorded on a Christmas Bird Count in Fairfield, Connecticut, some years ago.

Nashville Warbler (Oreothlypis ruficapilla) Fairfield

It seems that out of range warblers are trying to stay in the Northeast more and more frequently, fighting through December cold and winter snows where there are pockets of warmth along the coast and abundant food sources, and climate change only helps them survive. What is the most unexpected bird you’ve ever seen on Thanksgiving?

Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation & Outreach Coordinator