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Nature in it's glory

Nature in it's glory

Oct 9, 2010

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Yellow-rumped warbler
This lovely species of bird is the first brightly colored bird that I ever encountered here in Edmonton.  Up to this point I had only ever noticed the plainly colored species around me.  In fact, I didn't notice many of the smaller bird species at all.  Since my only interest at the beginning of my bird watching experience, was in hawks.   Raptors continue to be my motivating and main interest when ever I head out on bird watch.

 However, this little bird is responsible for creating in me some excitement and enthusiasm for the discoveries to be made in seeking out the smaller bird species.  Perhaps I only noticed it, because this particular bird  was sporting it's breeding colors at the time.  These birds are much plainer in coloring during the non-breeding season after all. 

Curious bird
The Yellow-rumped warbler, as it turns out, is quite abundant in numbers.  There are two forms of this species, one is called the Myrtle, which has a white throat while the other is the Aububon's which sports a yellow throat during breeding season.  As you can see in the picture above and to the right, the males of both species assume a wonderful combination of  black, blue gray, white and yellow during their spring molt.

At this time both males and females also develop a bright yellow spot on the top of their heads.   All species, male and female alike, have yellow patches on their flanks and display a yellow patch of feathers at the base of the tail during every season, which is why they are called Yellow-rumped warbler.  As you can see in the pictures below this warbler looks quite different when it is not sporting its courting color.

Fall and winter color
During the spring these birds can be found anywhere from Alaska to Central America, while in winter they can be found in the southern states and onward to the West Indies.  As a species the Yellow-rumped warbler is highly adaptable and so does not seems to have a preferred habitat.  This is great as far as I'm concerned, since it means there is no need to travel somewhere special in order to see them.   Not that I mind traveling.   Here in Canada, their breeding range stretches cross country during the spring and summer months.  They are the first to arrive in spring and the last to leave in fall.


The first time I saw a Yellow-rumped warbler it was alone, but I have also seen it in pairs and in small groups.  Their diet consists mainly of insects, which helps out mankind immensely, but also includes seed and berries.  In fact they can eat some fruit and berries that other birds are unable to digest, like the wax myrtle berry for example.  They forage both on the ground and in trees and bushes for insects.

Yellow rumped Warbler back view
This bird species is almost hyperactive and therefore difficult to photograph.  Which created a bit of a photography challenge and a learning curve for me.

They flit from branch to branch and tree to tree very fast and tend to hide under the leaves.  Well perhaps they are not hiding so much as foraging for insects, but it makes seeing them clearly quite difficult.  This is where a fast shutter speed comes in quite handy, especially if you don't have a tripod for your camera.

I was lucky enough to shoot these photos when this warbler was relatively inactive.  Of course on both  occasion it was late morning and so perhaps well past it's breakfast time.  If you wish to learn more about this bright species of warbler just follow the links as usual. 




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