[CT Birds] Cape May Warbler

greg hanisek ctgregh at yahoo.com
Fri May 7 13:28:57 EDT 2010

>From Greg Hanisek
5/7 Watertown, corner of Sand Bank and Aunt Olive roads, adult male singing vigorously in large Norway Spruce. This species has been traditionally hard to find in CT, but it's also one that can be targeted to some extent because of micro-habitat preferences during migration at our latitude. There are virtually no native spruces here for this spruce-loving species, but it is attracted to the large Norway Spruces that have been planted around homes, in cemeteries, in parks and other places. Cape Mays don't occur exclusively in these trees, but when they're not in a Norway (or other non-native) Spruce, they can be in any kind of deciduous tree. The spruces help focus the search.
The bird I saw was in a small group of Norway Spruces near a house. It was mid-morning and other migrant activity in the immediate area was minimal. The high-pitched song led me to the bird, which took awhile to view. They can stay maddeningly concealed among the spruce boughs. I can only attribute my ability to still hear these high-pitched songs at 60+ to a youth not misspent listening to heavy metal. It's burned into my mind because in NJ the road leading to our house was lined with these graceful trees, and I'd get multiple Cape Mays in them most springs and fall. Best numbers were always in fall: such as c 10 on Sep 25, 1988, and c 8 on Sep 7, 1983.

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