Friday, May 16, 2014

Cape May Warbler

On 13 May 2014, I finally took my first photographs of a male Cape May Warbler. Scott King and I found a pair of birds feeding on a residential street in Northfield. I have seen warblers behaving in a similar fashion before, on pavement, during cold weather after elm and other tree flowers have fallen to to the ground
Why has it taken me so long to capture the image of a male? Cape May Warblers are uncommon birds in South Dakota and, throughout their breeding range, Cape Mays are spruce worm specialists, subject to boom-or-bust population cycles. When there are few budworms, this warbler may not be seen at all. Last year must have been a banner year for budworms. In addition to this pair, I have seen another pair at a local Northfield bird feeder (where they ate grape jelly) and yesterday, 15 May 2014, Gerry Hoekstra and I counted four birds in Carver County, Minnesota.
Spring females, as you can see, are less brilliantly plumaged than the males. Note the yellow line behind her dark cheeks along the the breast streaks. I recently blogged about a South Dakota female and you can check out that post for more information on the species.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful! We've been seeing a few up in Crow Wing Co. too this spring.