Monday, February 14, 2011

Yellow-rumped Warbler (Dendroica coronata)

After we discovered the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius) on the Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum) tree by the woods, we started to stake out the tree. Chickadees and Tufted Titmice visited the tree frequently; that wasn’t strange since they’re here year round. Then we noticed some little birds that stayed mainly around the base of the tree although, occasionally, one would venture higher up the trunk. They seemed un-phased by our presence when they were low on the trunk and would hop around fearlessly, frequently sitting with their back to us. When higher up the trunk, they seemed quite shy and would sit facing us.

I managed to capture this shot of one higher on the trunk but it wouldn’t come around to the front of the trunk where I could see its back.

A close up.

W managed to get a few shot of one of them near the base of the trunk.

Text Color Clearly, it was feeding on sap dribbling down the tree trunk. The yellow patch on its head is visible as is the patch under the wing.

A front view, again showing the yellow patch on its head.

We identified them as Yellow-rumped Warblers (Dendroica coronata). They winter in this area but will fly north to breed. The sap has dried up on the Sugar Maple now. If they’re still in the area, they’re foraging elsewhere now. Next year, we are going to have to keep a closer watch on the maple in the Fall and Winter and, hopefully, we’ll see the yellow patch on the rump.

Click on an image to view a larger image

Identification resources:
The Cornell Institute of Ornithology: Yellow-rumped Warbler (Dendroica coronata)


rebecca said...

Those guys are, literally, the single most common bird where I live right now. There are just tons and tons of them in the dunes, flashing their little butter-yellow butts as they fly around. They hang out there to eat the wax myrtle berries (hence the name of our eastern subspecies, the "Myrtle" Warbler).

JSK said...

I read that they like the wax myrtle berries and that they were very common. We don't have wax myrtles around here so I suspect they spread out and forage in the field. I haven't seen them at the feeders although we see the Pine Warbler at the feeders.
I think we totally missed the boat by not realizing what was going on with that maple tree. We only saw a few birds but that could be because we simply weren't looking. We'll be watching it much more closely next year. :-)

Larry said...

I love Yellow-rumped Warblers, butter butts as we call them. We have the Audubon's subspecies out here in the West. They eat primarily insects during breeding season then expand to fruit in the winter but I have never had any at my feeders. They are insectivores. I believe Pine Warblers are the only wood warbler to eat seeds.

JSK said...

I'm sorry we didn't see the yellow butts. A good reason to be stalking them next winter. I'm not sure there are a lot of berries around here at the moment. I had the impression they may have been migrating and have moved on.

Dave said...

Great post and nice photographs. We occasionally get the odd yellow-rumped up here on Christmas Bird Counts but they're not too common in the winter.