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Cape May Warbler in November!

Photo: Tom Sheley

Tom Sheley, who is the proprieter of the Wild Birds Unlimited store on Riverside Drive in northwest Columbus, brightened my email inbox by sending along two photos of an unexpected November feeder visitor.

This male Cape May Warbler, Setophaga tigrina, is visiting feeders in a Worthington, Ohio backyard well after most of his compadres are back in their Caribbean wintering haunts. Given that the weather here today was in the 40's and rainy, I would think this little tiger-striped beauty may be lamenting his decision to linger, if he is still about.

Photo: Tom Sheley

Tom made these images on November 8, and normally the last straggling Cape May Warblers are gone from Ohio by mid-October. It'll be interesting to see how long this bird toughs it out.

In spite of their primarily insectivorous diet - although Cape Mays do eat lots of fruit in fall and winter - these warblers can be surprisingly hardy. There are probably 15-20 early winter records, and a few Cape Mays have toughed it out at feeders well into January.

Out of the norm birds often show up at feeders, such as Tom's beautifully photographed Cape May Warbler. If you ever spot anything that seems out of the ordinary at your feeders, such as a warbler in winter, please let me or another birder know.


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