Cape May Warbler

Hey guys, welcome back. Today’s bird is the Cape May warbler. This warbler is unique amongst its warbler cousins in a couple ways. First up is its appearance. Breeding birds are an assortment of colors and patterns. They sport a green back, yellow belly covered in thin dark streaks, and their yellow face has an orange patch on the side. In fall, birds are the same, just less colorful. Unlike some other warblers, they are not sexually dimorphic, meaning males and females look alike.

Cape May Warbler1

The thing that make them truly unique is their tongue. It is curved and somewhat tubular, which enables them to drink nectar! Nectar makes up a good portion of their food in the winter, which they spend in the Caribbean and along coastal Central America. They sometimes even visit hummingbird feeders. In summer, however, they breed in northern New England and Canada where they specialize in eating the spruce budworm caterpillar. In the US, look for them during migration, mostly east of the Mississippi.

Cape May Fall1
Cape May warbler in fall, Magee Marsh, Curtice, OH

This is a warbler that I, for what seems like forever, was trying to track down. When I lived in NYC and worked in Central Park, only a couple ever stopped by the park every year, seemingly in fall. One had been spotted in the North Woods, which was part of the section of the Park I worked in, and I had been searching for days. One of the regular birders alerted me that one was seen near the Harlem Meer, a pond at the extreme northern end of the park. While searching, I happened upon a clay-colored sparrow, which I mentioned in my last post. After finding the sparrow I stayed in the area and then right near an old 1812 fortification known as Nutter’s Battery, I spotted the Cape May warbler. Two life birds in the span of about 15 minutes. Not too bad. I’ve since seen many a Cape May warbler! Their unique color pattern is always a welcome sight! Next up, we have our second (of two) eastern nuthatches. See you then!

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