Tag Archives: butterbutts

I like butterbutts and I cannot lie

Butterbutt!

I was peering up into the tree shade, trying to figure out what all the little brown birds were when this one turned to flash his signature “butterbutt” in my direction: Yellow-rumped Warbler!

I did not invent the butterbutt nickname; it’s a birder thing. I was lucky enough to learn it on a field trip a couple of years ago.

You can see a bit of yellow under the wings too. These birds have more striking colors in summer breeding season, but we only see them here in winter.

They were attracted to this tree because of its ripening berries. (I’m not sure if it’s a banyan or some other type of fig, gotta work on that ID.) It stands near the freshwater pond at Indian Riverside Park

This bird has one berry in its mouth and one clutched in its right foot.

YRWs are fairly large compared to other warblers and can digest waxy fruits that other warblers can’t. This allows them to “winter” farther north than most other warblers. In summer they mainly eat insects.

Yellow-rumped Warblers flit through the canopies of coniferous trees as they forage. They cling to the bark surface to look for hidden insects more than many warblers do, but they also frequently sit on exposed branches and catch passing insects like a flycatcher does. In winter, Yellow-rumped Warblers join flocks and switch to eating berries from fruiting shrubs. Sometimes the flocks are enormous groups consisting entirely of Yellow-rumped Warblers.

I could only find Yellow-rumped Warblers in this tree, not other birds. This one came quite close and was easy to photograph.

While foraging, they were making chek calls like this.