#59 is a butterbutt

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There were warblers in the maples out by the pond this morning, but what kind?

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Maybe 8 or 10 flitting around, hard to see, mostly making chip noises, sometimes trilling faint tuneless trills.

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Later, comparing photos with internet photos and descriptions, and checking local eBird checklists, I thought they might be Yellow-rumped Warblers. But I didn’t have a photo of the defining feature, the yellow rump patch.

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Bird Watcher’s Digest: One of the best-known warblers in the United States—and easily the most widespread and numerous in winter—the yellow-rumped warbler is a paradox: Its plumage and its habitats are very variable; yet, it is relatively easy to identify whenever you find it. The yellow-rumped warbler is 5 to 6 inches long, with a sharp thin bill and slightly notched tail. In breeding plumage, the eastern male is blue-gray with a white throat and belly, black streaking on the back, a black face patch, two white wing bars, black bib, and yellow spots on the crown, shoulders, and rump. Spring females are browner and duller than their mates. Immatures and fall adults are brown above, with brown-streaked underparts and little or no yellow visible. The one constant in all plumages is the bright yellow rump.

Looks like its plumage winter.

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I went out to the pond at lunchtime and tried a few more photos. I thought I saw the yellow patch but I did not get a photo. They don’t hold still very long!

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Finally, 4:15 p.m… bingo!

“I got your butt,” I told this little bird.

Breeding in the far north, the eastern race of the yellow-rumped warbler is known in most of the country only as a migrant or winter resident. Migrants can be found in woodlands, hedge-rows, thickets, and even along beaches as they stream through in large flocks. Winter birds congregate wherever they can find berries, their principal cold-weather food. In Florida, yellow-rumps are known to drink the juice of broken or fallen oranges, and throughout their winter range they will consume weed seeds large and small. Some yellow-rumps come to backyard feeders where they eat a variety of fare.

I learned a new bird today! and it was one of the challenging (to me) warblers. Also, it is backyard bird #59.

A Facebook friend said birders nickname the Yellow-rumped Warbler “butterbutt.” I love that.

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