Status: Rare casual spring and fall migrant west.
Documentation: Photograph: 17 May 2015 Oliver Reservoir, Kimball Co (Brogie 2016).
Taxonomy: No subspecies are recognized (Pyle 1997).
It has been suggested that this species and Nashville Warbler are conspecific (Phillips et al 1964), or at least comprise a superspecies (Mengel 1964).
Spring: There are 10 reports, six accepted:
17 May 1998 male Bushnell Cemetery, Kimball Co (Brogie 1999)
17 May 2015 Oliver Reservoir (cited above)
18 May 2008 Oliver Reservoir (Silcock 2008)
18 May 2008 West Lawn Cemetery, Gering, Scotts Bluff Co (Silcock 2008)
22 May 1995 Morrill, Scotts Bluff Co (Gubanyi 1996)
4 Jun 2005 Wind Springs Ranch, Sioux Co, female (Silcock 2005).
Additional reports follow. An experienced observer was reasonably confident in the identification of a male briefly observed 2 May 2015 in Dundy Co. A report of one at Oliver Reservoir 21 May 2016 was not accepted by NOURC as “lacking in detail” (Brogie 2017). One was heard for 20 minutes in Carter Canyon, Scotts Bluff Co 5 Jun 2020 by a veteran observer (eBird.org), but tangible evidence was not obtained. Additional reports are of more than one bird first seen at the North Platte Fish Hatchery, Lincoln Co 26 April 1964 and again on 29 April by several observers, including at least one experienced observer familiar with the species (Gates 1964). There is an old report without observation date or other details of one seen by Aughey along the Republican River in Hitchcock Co (Bruner et al 1904); Sharpe (1993) questioned whether Aughey had ever visited this site.
Fall: There are seven accepted records:
25 Aug 2019 West Ash Canyon, Dawes Co (Mlodinow, eBird.org; Brogie 2020)
26 Aug 2002 near Bushnell (Silcock 2002)
26-27 Aug 2000 immature female Oliver Reservoir (Dinsmore and Fontaine 2000; Jorgensen 2002)
27 Aug 2000 adult female southwest Kimball Co (Dinsmore and Fontaine 2000)
31 Aug 2002 immature/female Oliver Reservoir (Brogie 2003)
3 Sep 2000 adult male Oliver Reservoir (Dinsmore and Fontaine 2000; Jorgensen 2002)
4 Sep 2002 immature or adult female Oliver Reservoir (Silcock 2002).
Comments: Status and possible sources for Nebraska Virginia’s Warblers were discussed by Dinsmore and Fontaine (2000). This species breeds in the Rocky Mountains north to southern and southeastern Wyoming, where the nearest breeding to Nebraska is in the Laramie Mountains and along the North Platte River to Natrona Co (Faulkner 2010). It is fairly common in Colorado, breeding in eastern foothills (Andrews and Righter 1992). It has recently been discovered breeding in the Black Hills of South Dakota (Tallman et al 2002, Drilling et al 2018), and it is a rare transient in southwest Kansas, vagrant elsewhere in the state (Thompson et al 2011).
NOURC: Nebraska Ornithologists’ Union Records Committee
Photograph (top) of a Virginia’s Warbler in Kimball Co 17 May 2015 by Paul Dunbar.
Andrews, R., and R. Righter. 1992. Colorado birds. Denver Museum of Natural History, Denver, Colorado, USA.
Brogie, M.A. 1999. 1998 (Tenth) Report of the NOU Records Committee. NBR 67: 141-152.
Brogie, M.A. 2003. 2002 (14th) Report of the NOU Records Committee. NBR 71: 136-142.
Brogie, M.A. 2016. 2015 (27th) Report of the NOU Records Committee. NBR 84: 138-150.
Brogie, M.A. 2017. 2016 (28th) Report of the NOU Records Committee. NBR 85: 128-142.
Brogie, M.A. 2020. 2019 (31st) Report of the NOU Records Committee. NBR 88: 124-134.
Bruner, L., R.H. Wolcott, and M.H. Swenk. 1904. A preliminary review of the birds of Nebraska, with synopses. Klopp and Bartlett, Omaha, Nebraska, USA.
Dinsmore, S.J., and J. Fontaine. 2000. Virginia’s Warblers in Kimball County. NBR 68: 137-139.
Drilling, N.E., E.D Stukel, R.A. Sparks, and B.J. Woiderski. 2018. The Second Atlas of Breeding Birds of South Dakota. SDGFP, Wildlife Division Report 2017-02. South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks, Pierre.
Faulkner, D.W. 2010. Birds of Wyoming. Roberts and Company, Greenwood Village, Colorado, USA.
Gates, D. 1964. Thirty-ninth Annual Cooperative Spring Migration and Occurrence report. NBR 32: 66-81.
Gubanyi, J.G. 1996. 1995 (Seventh) Report of the NOU Records Committee. NBR 64: 132-138.
Jorgensen, J.G. 2002. 2002 (sic; =2000). (12th) Report of the NOU Records Committee. NBR 70: 84-90.
Mengel, R.M. 1964. The probable history of species formation in some northern wood warblers (Parulidae). Living Bird 3: 9-43.
Phillips, A.C., J.T. Marshall, Jr., and G.B. Monson. 1964. The Birds of Arizona. University of Arizona Press, Tuscon, Arizona, USA.
Pyle, P. 1997. Identification Guide to North American Birds. Part I, Columbidae to Ploceidae. Slate Creek Press, Bolinas, California, USA.
Sharpe, R.S. 1993. Samuel Aughey’s list of Nebraska birds (1878): a critical evaluation. NBR 61: 3-10.
Silcock, W.R. 2002. Fall Field Report. August-November 2002. NBR 70: 130-167.
Silcock. W.R. 2005. Summer Field Report, June-July 2005. NBR 73: 94-113.
Silcock, W.R. 2008. Spring Field Report, Mar-May 2008. NBR 76: 50-71.
Tallman, D.A., Swanson, D.L., and J.S. Palmer. 2002. Birds of South Dakota. Midstates/Quality Quick Print, Aberdeen, South Dakota, USA.
Thompson, M.C., C.A. Ely, B. Gress, C. Otte, S.T. Patti, D. Seibel, and E.A. Young. 2011. Birds of Kansas. University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, USA.
Silcock, W.R., and J.G. Jorgensen. 2021. Virginia’s Warbler (Oreothlypis virginiae). In Birds of Nebraska — Online. www.BirdsofNebraska.org
Birds of Nebraska – Online
Updated 17 Mar 2021