The return of individual birds to a specific area in successional years, i.e. philopatry, is a remarkable behavioural trait. Here we report on the remarkably reversed: the complete absence of returning individuals of a migratory passerine with otherwise pronounced philopatry. At a high latitude study site in Abisko in northern Sweden none of the banded adult willow warblers (Phylloscopus trochilus) returned to breed 2011-14. This is in stark contrast to our southern study sites, where 15-38% of adults return and also to all other reports in the literature. We investigated three parameters known to influence philopatry; nest predation, breeding success and breeding density, and predicted that absence of philopatry should co-occur with low breeding success, low breeding density or high nest predation. The results did not corroborate this, except that breeding density was lower at Abisko (64 pairs/km2) than at the southern sites (144-106 pairs/km2, 101 pairs/km2). Instead, we suggest that the absence of philopatry is caused by an influx of individuals of a nomadic breeding strategy and that this range expansion is enabled by milder climate and increased availability of habitats in the north.