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Lucy's Warbler in Oregon:
Only Second Record in State History!

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Sheila Chambers first discovered an unusual, small gray bird in her bushes in January 2004. After looking through her field guide, she thought it might be an Oak Titmouse. Then the bird came to her hummingbird feeder right outside her dining room window.

Once Sheila was able to get a better look, she identified a Lucy's Warbler, the only small gray warbler with a rufous rump.

Sheila, of Harbor, Oregon, notified her state's ornithological society and did a little research. She discovered that her warbler is only the second record of a Lucy's Warbler in the state of Oregon. Lucy's Warblers breed in the southern half of Arizona and normally winter in Mexico. Sheila was worried about what the tiny warbler would eat. She wrote, "All she had to eat here was the sugar water in the feeders. She frantically hunted for insects in the grass while the cold rain was pouring down... I decided to try putting peanut butter on the perch of the feeders. It took her a while to discover it, but finally one day as she was poking about trying to lick up more sugar water from the perches, she got some peanut butter stuck to her beak. She liked it and gulped it right down."

For the rest of the winter Sheila kept the base of the hummingbird feeder coated with peanut butter or suet mixes (as shown at left).
Photos by Sheila Chambers

A Chestnut-backed Chickadee discovered the suet treasure and kept Sheila busy trying to maintain a constant supply for the warbler.

As might be expected, Sheila’s discovery created quite a stir. Sheila hosted visitors from all over Oregon, and even a few from California, who were eager to see this special bird. Sheila wrote, "It is amazing how far people will travel just to see a tiny, gray bit of lost fluff." As of March 31, 2004, the warbler was still visiting Sheila's feeders.

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