Yesterday, Peggy Mersereau emailed me to ask me what I thought of this strange yellow bird she saw while visiting a friend's house. I immediately told her a Prothonotary Warbler and then she got on the phone and we chatted a long while just sharing in her excitement over finding such a great and beautiful bird. She discussed the situation that the bird can't be made public as it was at a private home and the owner did not want multiple lenses pointed at their home as they are in condos and didn't want their  neighbours upset or the parking situation to get out of control.

The next morning the bird went into a public park (Riverfront Park) and stayed viewable from the public area allowing many happy birders to come and see it. To not upset neighbours I have asked birders not to point their cameras at home windows and not to linger long at the site and only to park in marked public parking spots. A few neighbours were still upset but the bird is on public property so we will hope that the situation stays under control. It was nice to see birders being so respectful at the site.

I hope with the snow and cold weather and lack of food that the little bird will survive. The last time I saw this species was in Texas a few years ago. It was a new BC and Metro Vancouver Bird for me. Two years ago we chased one up in Osoyoos where we dipped so it was nice to get this one in my hometown.

It sure uplifted me on a cold and rare snowy Vancouver day.

Funny WA state has a Black-throated Green Warbler (at a park of the same name!) and Oregon had 3!! Prothonotary Warblers as well all at the same time.

This bird is the 11th record for BC and 2nd record for Metro Vancouver. It was BC Bird # 448 for me and a great winter bird for winter listers. It is the first Canadian winter record.

The bird ended up being captured by Wildlife Rescue Association on Dec 6th after ending up in an underground parking garage. I hope it ends well and it survives rehab and is successfully released in the spring when it’s warm.

Prothonotary Warbler in Vancouver - Photos: Melissa Hafting


  1. Awesome! So glad that so many happy birders are getting to see this amazingly adorable bird! I hope it survives this harsh winter weather and happy holidays to you!!

    1. Thanks sweetheart! Merry Christmas looking forward to the young birders' CBC!

  2. Melissa - Many thanks for coordinating our keen birders to view this beautiful warbler! How creative this fluffed up fellow is to find spiders & insects along window sills, light strings & amongst buildings in order to survive. Truly an awesome strategy for an insectivore bird to find food in winter cold when he must have lost his way going south! If only more people had ability to see so many wonders of nature right out their front door! Debbi

    1. Thanks Debbi! I am glad you and Kathryn got to see it!

  3. Glad to hear the bird is now in the care of Wildlife Rescue. I was among many bird folk looking for it on the weekend. In the span of 1.5 hours I saw 3 loose roaming cats near the condos where the bird was last seen. I was worried that it had fallen prey ;0


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