Cape May Warbler
Dendroica tigrina
Family: Parulidae (Wood Warblers)

Cape May Warbler
Cape May Warbler
Picture Info

The Cape May Warbler has chestnut cheeks, yellow rump, black crown, yellow underparts with black streaks. The female is similar, but lacks the distinct chestnut cheeks found on the male and she is paler. The best field marks are the white wing patch. Both male and female in the fall are duller. The Cape May measures 5 - 5 1/4" in length with a wingspread of 7 1/2-8 1/2".

The Cape May is a migratory bird and follows the ellipical migration route and passes through certain areas only once a year.

As in all warblers, the Cape May does not stand still for telescopes and cameras. They land on a branch, snatch an insect, then glance around and fly off to another branch.


I have noticed that they tend to be territorial in that they will chase away other warblers that are on the same tree. When chasing other warblers, you can hear their see-see-see-see song. My backyard has approximately 7 pine trees (spruces, hemlocks, etc) and I have seen so many Cape Mays between the dates of May 9-20, 1997 that I can still hear their song.


The song of the Cape May Warbler is a very high pitched, thin see-see-see-see. It can be confused with other warblers such as the Black-and-white Warbler.


Migratory. Winters in Caribbean, Mexico and West Indies and breeds in Canada.


The nest is round and made up of grasses and twigs and lined with hair and feathers. The nest can be found on a branch of a spruce or fir anywhere from 30-60 feet above ground. Throughout the month of June, as many as 5-8 eggs which are an off-white color spotted with brown and gray. The female incubates the eggs and it's unknown when the first egg hatches and when first young leaves the nest.

Natural Feeding Habits:

This bird's diet is mostly insects such as caterpillars, spruce budworms, ants, flies, small bees, spiders and crickets. They will dart in the air and search among the needles of pines for their food. They also consume the juices of grapes by poking a hole in the grape with their bills.

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