Birding Notes

Reflections on birds and other wildlife on the edge of a southern woodland

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Yellow-rumped Warbler

October 22 – another beautiful, clear, sunny fall day, breezy and cool, with a big blue sky marbled in high white clouds – I first heard the sharp chip! calls of several Yellow-rumped Warblers in a row of young water oaks along the road. Because it was late in the morning with the sun high and bright, I couldn’t quite see one among the still-thick leaves on the oaks, but a day or two later several Yellow-rumped Warblers searched for insects in low branches in our front yard, and I was able to get a good look and watch them for a while – small, streaked, rather drab little birds with a faint flush of yellow on their sides, and the distinctive flash of yellow on the rump, especially vivid when they fly – which they do often, chasing each other in big swoops from tree to tree. I used to know them as Myrtle Warblers, before they were classified together with their western counterparts as Yellow-rumped (or butter-butts, as birders often call them), and though the more general name is descriptive, “Myrtle Warbler” appeals much more to the imagination and captures something of their shrub and forest-loving habits.


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