Rare and Colorful Visitor Wintering at Secor


Story and Photo by Art Weber
Metroparks Nature Photographer


Secor Metropark is hosting a rare and colorful visitor this winter that’s making regular visits to the Window on Wildlife.

A pine warbler is thumbing its nose at the notion that all warblers migrate much further south to avoid winter. Insects dominate their diets and, well, they’re much easier to find where winters are warmer.

The thing about pine warblers is that, while insects are a big part of their diet, they also eat fruits, nuts, and seeds. They may be the only warbler that visits backyard feeding stations to feast on such high protein natural foods as sunflower seed and suet. Those are the foods this visitor is heavily relying on to survive our winter.

“A pine warbler is a rare but not wholly unexpected winter visitor,” Jay Wright, Metroparks Toledo’s Director of Conservation Science.  

Elliot Tramer, who is retired as a professor of biology at the University of Toledo and a co-author of “Birds of the Toledo Area,” calls it “a rare winter visitor. We've had one visit our backyard feeder during just three of the 28 winters we've lived near the oak openings, so it's a notable happening.”

Pine warbler is a name they’ve come by honestly. The Ohio Division of Wildlife says they “are always found around pine trees, and even migrants will forage in conifers if they are available.”

We don’t see many pine warblers in any season here, even though they have a summer presence in southern Ohio, and are occasionally observed in our Oak Openings pine plantations.

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