An Orange-crowned Warbler (Leiothlypis celata) clings to a suet feeder at Sharon Woods Metro Park in Columbus, Ohio. I made this photograph on January 27, 2022 and the chicken appeared there in January 15 – 12 days prior. The Orange-crowned Warbler is a hardy species and a late migrant, with tardy people nonetheless passing south by way of Ohio into November. Nonetheless, mid-winter data like this appear to signify birds which might be making an attempt to overwinter. And there may be one other Orange-crowned Warbler elsewhere in Columbus.
Giant numbers of Orange-crowned Warblers winter within the U.S., from the decrease Atlantic coastal plain states south by way of Florida and alongside the Gulf states by way of Texas. As warblers go, they don’t vary very far south, with the southern terminus of typical wintering grounds being northern Central America. So, an Orange-crowned Warbler making an attempt to trip out the chilly season in Ohio does not seem to be to a lot of a stretch.
However not so way back, it apparently was. Excluding December data, which can signify very late migrants, Bruce Peterjohn in his scholarly work The Birds of Ohio lists solely three verified January/February data of Orange-crowned Warblers. Bruce’s revised version appeared in 2001, so we’re solely speaking 20 years in the past. A examine of eBird data for January/February from 2001 to the current reveals about 20 data (and there are others). That is an enormous enhance in data. Both birders have grow to be more proficient at discovering Orange-crowned Warblers or there are merely extra of them to be discovered. I might lean in the direction of the latter.
And it is not simply Orange-crowned Warblers making an attempt to trip out the snow and chilly. This 12 months’s Columbus Christmas Chook Depend documented three different warbler species along with one of many Orange-crowned Warblers, which was within the depend circle. Yellow-rumped Warbler was predictable, as that is our hardiest warbler species and the one one which overwinters in numbers at this latitude. However Black-throated Inexperienced and Palm warblers (considered one of every) have been decidedly sudden. And probably missed was Pine Warbler, considered one of which routinely overwinters at an area cemetery. Nonetheless, the Pine Warbler shouldn’t be an excellent shock because it’s our second hardiest warbler and possibly routinely overwinters in Ohio, at the very least in forested southern areas.
Whereas Orange-crowned Warblers have grow to be almost an annual wintertime phenomenon in Ohio, at the very least ten different species not talked about above have been documented in January/February during the last decade. A variety of them a number of occasions, too. They’re Black-and-white Warbler, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Frequent Yellowthroat (one other semi-hardy species and never utterly sudden), Magnolia Warbler, Nashville Warbler, Northern Waterthrush, Ovenbird, Tennessee Warbler, Wilson’s Warbler, and Yellow-throated Warbler.
I am certain different species will likely be added to the Ohio January/February listing in coming years.