A Rare Bird at Any Time of Year

Yellow-throated warbler at suet feeder in St. John’s, Newfoundland, 9 Dec 2022 (photo by Felip1 via Flickr Creative Commons license)

16 December 2022

A yellow-throated warbler (Setophaga dominica) would not be rare in Pittsburgh in early May but to see one in Canada in December is amazing.

This bird was photographed in St. John’s, Newfoundland on 9 December by Phillip (Felip1).

It’s not a very sharp picture but enough to identify him: a Yellow-throated warbler. He showed up for some suet early this morning.

I was half-expecting him. He had been visiting a suet feeder a couple of hundred metres away from us a few days ago. And one of the flickers had chopped up lotsa suet for him from the suet holder above. Those flickers are pigs but the other birds appreciate it.

Even though it is mid-December, the weather’s been mild and there are a half-dozen warblers who have apparently decided to try their luck to spend the winter around this town, St. John’s, Newfoundland, when all their relatives decamped a couple of months ago for more southern climes.

Felip1: Late Warbler, 9 December 2022

Pennsylvania is typically the northern limit of the yellow-throated warbler’s range and it’s a short-distance migrant to Florida and the Caribbean. St. John’s, Newfoundland is not even on the map (red arrow points toward it) but Newfoundland is about as far as Florida if you’re migrating from PA in the wrong direction.

Yellow-throated warbler range map from Wikimedia Commons. red arrow points toward St. John’s, Newfoundland which is off the edge of the map

The presence of this bird, one of half a dozen warblers in St. John’s in December, might be an after effect of Hurricane Fiona … and might not.

In any case its splash of yellow is a happy sight on a dreary day.

(photo by Felip1 on Flickr, Creative Commons non-commercial License)

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