Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Spring Air Brings First Warblers!
Yesterday, amidst the 6" of freshly fallen spring snow, a dozen or so Yellow-rumped (Myrtle) Warblers flitted around our yard from suet feeder to suet feeder. The males are in their gorgeous breeding plumage: Deep blues and greys with bright yellow splashes on their heads, chest and on their butts (hence the casual term "butterbutt").
The females (below) are more drab, but still a beautifully-marked bird. And, perhaps more importantly: A very welcome reminder that warbler migration is actually underway and we'll be seeing more species over the next few weeks. It's been a long, long winter!
At first glance, the females might appear brown or grey, but they have bluish streaks throughout the feathers (visible in the above photo). They're really a beautiful mix of colors.
In addition to our suet feeders, they're feasting on peanuts. Both Yellow-rumped Warblers and Pine Warblers have a wider diet than many other warblers, allowing them to be some of the earliest returning migrants.
And, for my international viewers joining in on Wild Bird Wednesday, the Amer. Ornithologists' Union (AOU) has not followed the IOC (International Ornithological Congress) in re-splitting the four "yellow-rumped" warblers into individual species. Here in The States, we still have the "Myrtle" in the eastern half and the "Audubon" west of the Rockies.