Throwback Thursday: Six Years with a Brewster’s Warbler.

It has been a while since I presented an old Avian Hybrids paper on Thursday. But the next paper, published in 1944 in The Auk, is a gem. It contains six years of observations and no statistics! Sounds like a great read, doesn’t it.

The hybrid in question concerns the so-called Brewster’s Warbler, a cross between Golden-winged (Vermivora chrysoptera) and Blue-winged Warbler (V. pinus). Hybrids between these species were first described as distinct species, namely Lawrence’s Warbler (V. lawrencei) and Brewster’s Warbler (V. leucobronchialis).

Here is the opening paragraph of the paper, written by T. Donald Carter.

In the ‘Auk,’ volume 40, July, 1923, R. H. Howland and I published an account of our discovery of a male Brewster’s Warbler, Vermivora pinus X chrysoptera, mated to a female Golden-winged Warbler, Vermivora chrysoptera. We located his nest and brood and later captured and banded him and three of his young. At the time of the writing we supposed that our story was closed, but it proved to be the first chapter of a six-year acquaintance with this same bird.

The remainder of the paper is a year by year description (running from 1922 to 1927) of the adventures of their Brewster’s Warbler in New Jersey. A fine piece of natural history. I could quote different sections from the paper, but I advice you to read the whole paper. Preferably close to a fire place with a hot beverage.

Click here to read the paper. If you cannot access it, feel free to contact me.


The young of a Brewster’s Warbler. Picture taken on June 10, 1922.


Carter, T. D. (1944). Six years with a Brewster’s Warbler. The Auk, 48-61.

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