Breeding Bird Atlas 2 Additional Accounts


Kentucky Warbler

Geothlypis formosa

Henry Davis Minot claimed in the late nineteenth century, “The Kentucky Warbler may stray to New England, though I know of no instance of its so doing. It has been known to breed in Eastern New York,” (Minot 1877). Reginald Heber Howe and Glover Morrill Allen brought the conspiracy one step further in 1901. “In Dr. Holder’s List of the Birds of Lynn (p. 2) he includes this species as then in the collection of the Lynn Natural History Society. As we have been unable to see this specimen we make but this mention of it,” (Howe & Allen 1901). What they missed in their research was the sighting by F. H. Mosher, Edward Howe Forbush’s assistant, in Medford on May 31, 1898 (Forbush 1929). During the twentieth century, there was a slow northward breeding range expansion of this species, and increased sightings of the species began to occur in Massachusetts (Veit & Petersen 1993). As of Atlas 1, any breeding of the Kentucky Warbler in Massachusetts was hypothetical at best. Despite the fact that the species had become markedly more common as a migrant, with a few birds even appearing in the summer, positive breeding evidence was lacking. Two wandering males did apparently attempt to establish territories and attract mates during Atlas 2, earning the species two Probable blocks on Cape Cod, but Massachusetts still awaits a Confirmed nest in the state.