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Wilson’s Warbler

Posted on May 17, 2016

I was thrilled to come across this Wilson’s Warbler (Cardellina pusilla) when I made a quick birding stop this afternoon on what I knew was already a stellar day for migrant birds. Though I did not have much time to be outside surveying during the work day this bird was literally spotted from my Jeep, and on top of that it cooperated for these photos while it was foraging.

Wilson's Warbler (Cardellina pusilla)-3835

Wilson's Warbler (Cardellina pusilla)-3829

Wilson's Warbler (Cardellina pusilla)-3827

Wilson's Warbler (Cardellina pusilla)-3815

This is a species that RTPI President Twan Leenders does not believe exists. Huh? When I started working for Twan several years ago he had not yet seen a Wilson’s Warbler. It was one of those species…you know, that one or two that elude you time and time again when you are out birding. The Wilson’s Warbler is essentially a May migrant for us, and is rather difficult to see at any other time. It is scarce even during its peak season. Twan is originally from the Netherlands and spent more than two decades working as a biologist across the planet. He had not had many opportunities to see these cute little yellow birds. We finally did find one for him a few years ago, though even this past Saturday during the Noble Proctor BioBlitz Challenge he still claimed they might not be real…about a half hour before I spotted one that he, RTPI Conservation Technician Elyse Henshaw, RTPI Intern Alex Shipherd, RTPI Affiliate Sean Graesser, Frank Gallo, and David Sibley all enjoyed for a few minutes. They do exist!

Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation & Outreach Coordinator