Sunday, February 27, 2011

Birds in Review Part XX 'A Bird Parade' Yellow-rumped Warbler Plus One

While it is snowing out in my real world, I will turn back the pages of days, towards early spring and share another dear warbler that chooses to return each year to the gardens, fields and forest here. Every new spring day brings about more unfurling green and added bird songs . . . so much that it becomes like a symphony of warbles over the shrubs and trees and a challenge to single out and identify each one. It helps to catch a flash of color . . . a combination of marks that speak to a recognizable form. I can sometimes quickly recall a songbird, when seeing it flitter within the Viburnums or Hawthorne trees, such as the beautiful Yellow-rumped Warbler pictured here. The yellow markings are the most obvious clues. 

One interesting fact about Yellow-rumped Warblers (Dendroica coronata) is that they have a unique ability to digest the waxy coated fruit of bayberries (Myrica spp..) This gastrointestinal trait allows them to expand their wintering sites along the shores in Massachusetts, perhaps into Maine and further north in much of these United States, than one would expect to ever see a warbler in winter. You may even see them at your suet feeders. Formerly known as Myrtle warblers, now I fear too often called merely 'Yellow-rump', they will spend all of autumn, winter and very early spring feasting on bayberries. During most of the spring and summer months they are seen gleaning trees and shrubs for insects. 

Look carefully towards the center of the Viburnum. Do you see what I see? 

Though too far away to get a crisp portrait, I love this pastel-like image of the little masked Yellow-rumped Warbler. His markings are so striking in the spring and summer months. The dotted dabs of yellow plumage join together to form a perfect triangle. 

I wish I could insert a recording of the Yellow-rumped Warblers melodious trills right here.

Yellow-rumped Warbler

This capture portrays a bit of a bandit feeling and you can see how the Yellow-rumped Warbler can at a glance, sometimes be mistaken as the beautiful Magnolia Warbler (Dendroica magnolia) below.

Magnolia Warbler

Magnolia Warbler

Yellow, black and white feathers are seen in both the masked Magnolia and Yellow-rumped Warblers, but they are fashioned together, so to speak, in quite different ways. The stroke of white above and below the masked eyes can at first fool the observer. I am glad I had my camera nearby, when sighting this pretty male songbird, for it was the only time I have been lucky to catch a glimpse of a Magnolia Warbler. 
There is more to come in tones of yellows in the continuing 'Bird Parade.'

Meanwhile . . . 

Winter is still very much with us here in New England.

Robins, Cedar Waxwings and Chickadees are the only birds I have truly sighted today. I have not seen the Bluebirds or Titmice in a few days now. 
It is a great escape from the snow and ice, to look back over spring and summer photographs, finding the images I am sharing throughout my Bird Series posts. 


PatioPatch said...

Dear Carol - your posts are an Ornithologist's dream. I wish I could see these lovely warblers, let alone hear them. Perhaps they sing "You've got the whole world in your hand" as that is what Flower Hill appears to have!
Laura x
p.s. After a long period of monochromatic snow, the colour of Spring must be positively psychedelic!

Edith Hope said...

Dearest Carol, I can so understand the lure of your delightful springtime pictures whilst you are still locked away in snow and ice in New England.

I am rather sad that the Myrtle Warbler is often reduced to its less than complimentary name of Yellow Rump! What a charming spring visitor and with such interesting eating habits. Well worth growing a Myrtle for!

I do hope that a thaw will come soon and you will be wakened once more to the orchestra of birdsong of your springtime guests!

The Violet Fern said...

I especially love the photos of the yellow-rumped warbler with the bright yellow backgrounds - just beautiful. I have always had trouble identifying warblers. I am sure I saw the yellow-rumped warbler in Maine. Actually attracted to my sunflowers? We had quite a few of them stop by during the fall. Different kinds but I can't tell you the others.

sandy said...

I have photographed one here in Maine, but can't find the photo right now. I love the first two shots, the bird of course looks great, but I love the tiny leaves on the limbs.

The snow just stopped here. We had maybe three inches of snow this morning.

Tammie Lee said...

so much beauty and color!! That Magnolia Warbler is so cute.

We also have snow today, winter is truly in the spirit this year! and so am I.

lovely post.

Gardeningbren said...

The photos of the warblers were beautiful and such closeups make one aware of the differences; it is easy to mistake one for the other. Thanks for pointing that out and what get both in your region.

I am a little jealous you are seeing robins now...have been thinking about them lately as I do see the mourning doves cosying up and little antics from the chickadees..."hello let's play". The usual suspects here are those just mentioned, plus Junco's and an unidentified but possible warbler on the maple tree looking for insects.

Snow is going for both of us..won't be long now. said...

I learned a new bird today. I have not been familiar with Warblers and now will be on the look out for them. There are many varieties in our area of Wood Warblers but I guess I never much noticed them. I would have noticed the Magnolia warbler though. That is a very pretty bird. Nice closeups as always.

Cat said...

Dearest Carol, what delightful little warblers! I admire your ability to capture them in photos - they seem very elusive. We have golden cheek warblers here in Central Texas but I don't see them - they're very shy. My heart did soar today when a flock of Cedar Waxwings lighted on my pond for a drink. They were very skittish and would even take flight if I moved while standing in the window. Sending lots of warmth and sunshiney thoughts your way!

Donna said...

I went right to my ipod and the app iBird and was able to listen to the wonderful song...would love to see these birds around our gardens...there is a melt coming and soon we will be hearing choruses of birds..then I will finally sleep peacefully

Masha said...

It is such a joy to see these beautiful birds in your garden, which, I want to add, looks lovely in winter too.

Country Gal said...

Love your photos ! The Robin is my favorite . They will be here soon again when the weather warms up a bit more, I love their chatter and song early in the morning as the sun rises and in the eve as the sun is setting ! Have a great day !

jeansgarden said...

Carol, I've very much been enjoying these visits to spring! So much to look forward to. Here in southern PA, spring is feeling close by (we've been having temperatures up in the 50s and snow is melting fast), but it's not quite here yet. -Jean

Andrea said...

Hi Carol, the warblers still look lonely? hehe, or maybe they just really look like that. I love the 2nd to the last photo with those icicles still clinging to the twigs. Oh how i love to see that in person!!! haaaay!

Carol said...

Laura, Thank you for this sweet comment! It really is amazing when spring finally comes and all the sounds return too.
Dearest Edith, I so agree . . . but what can one do! The folks who come up with these names clearly have not any refined sensibilities. Thank you so for visiting and sharing with me.
Dear VF, Thank you! It took me some time to finally remember the calls and marks of the various warblers who visit here. My bird books were always handy and now there is another great source.
Thank you Sandy! I hope we will see the end of all this snow soon!
Thank you Tammie, I guess I have been not been living in the moment this winter. These posts have kept me in spring and summer.
Thanks Donna! You are in for some great discoveries in learning more about warblers. There are so many with different songs and beautiful patterns.
Dearest Cat, Thank you! Cedar Waxwings are a bit shy . . . great that you have so many visiting! Thank you for the warm thoughts!
Oh Donna! I am so glad you could do that! I wish I knew how to insert something to play the songs on my post. The birds are beautiful but that is only half of the story. Gosh, I cannot sleep through their songs! LOL
Thank you Masha! Winter can be beautiful too. You are right.
Thank you CG, Sunrise and sunset are pretty magical song times . . . I look so forward to them too!
Thank you Jean! I look forward to temps being in the 50's and seeing the tons of snow melt.
Dear Andrea, I hope all the warblers you see in my posts have mates so that they will come back! I suppose never seeing icicles would make you want to see them, but believe me seeing them for months each year can be a bit much. ;>)

Thank you all for visiting and sharing your thoughts with me! I so appreciate your taking the time.

. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

We are always very happy when we see warblers in our tiny urban garden. They seem to enjoy eating our persimmons, and we're glad to share.

sweetbay said...

Dozens of these dapper little birds have been here feeding off the Wax Myrtles all winter, in their more subdued gray and yellow winter garb. They are even more beautiful in their breeding plumage. I especially like images 10-14. Gorgeous shots of the Magnolia Warbler and the Robins in the Crabapple tree too. Before you posted about them I didn't realize that Robins overwintered so far north ~ but obviously there is plenty for them to eat in your garden!

Malinda said...

That's it! I'm moving east so I can see all these lovely birds in person!

Randy Emmitt said...


Have enjoyed this posting, love to see the 'butterbutts' about any time of the year. Great job on the magnolia warbler too! said...

Hi Carol,
Wonderful warbler photos. I find that the yellow rumps are some of the most tame warblers. We had one last spring hanging out about ten feet away in the yard.

I like your new photography blog too!

I just bought a longer lens so I hope to capture some warbler stopping through our landscape this spring. Thank goodness tomorrow is March!


dona said...

Wonderful creatures. And... it snowed a lot there! :O

Curbstone Valley Farm said...

What a charming little bird, and quite spectacular in coloration too! I don't see them here, but we do see the Wilson's warblers occasionally. I had to laugh at that last robin photograph, he looks as if he's glaring at the camera saying "enough with the snow already!" Adorable.

debsgarden said...

I wasn't familiar with this lovely bird. All of the wonderful creatures you feature in your posts must bring you so much joy. I love the way you have built your garden around providing for their needs. You are an inspiration to the rest of us.

Alistair said...

Hi Carol, never know what next you are going to introduce me to, The Magnolia Warbler, marvellous! You still have the snow in New England, day time temps here are now 48/50f, however very soon you will overtake us and be basking in warm sunshine. Keep showing us your wonderful pictures, they always brighten the day.

Ruben said...

It´s a good thing, you can enlarge the photos, otherwise I would not have seen the wobbler in your Viburnum at all! Call me a cheater!! ;-) But, as I continued reading, I saw your enlarged portrait, so it wasn´t really necessary! Fantastic how many birds you have in your gardens!!! Lucky you!!
Have a nice day!

camissonia said...

Gorgeous photos! We don't see robins in our area until spring, but the yellow-rumped warblers (along with white-crowned sparrows and dark-eyed juncos) are harbingers of fall-winter here in Southern California. Your snow-covered winterscape is a sight to behold.

Related Posts with Thumbnails