Saturday, January 5, 2008

Audubon Yellow-Rumped Warbler

Audubon Yellow-rumped Warbler in San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary

Of the two subspecies of Yellow-rumped Warblers, we in Orange County have the Audubon Yellow-rumped Warbler. It has yellow under the chin, unlike the Myrtle Yellow-rumped Warbler from back East which has white under the chin. The Orange County resident Audubon Yellow-rumped Warbler or "Butter-Butt" as it is affectionately called by some birders is abundant year-round. It is often the bird you hear chipping as it forages in the trees high above your head. Or the bird on the park lawn or in the bushes.

Audubon Yellow-rumped Warbler up a tree in Huntington Central Park

Audubon Yellow-rumped Warblers are beautiful, but very common birds in Orange County. They can be found foraging in the trees, in the bushes, or on the grass. Yellow-rumped Warblers eat insects and fruit--mostly berries. In addition to picking insects off the leaves, flowers, and grass, the Yellow-rumped Warbler will also--on occasion--flycatch or hover in order to catch insects. They approach close to humans if the humans are quiet and will feed on suet and fruit at backyard feeders. I used to watch them on my patio as they foraged on the Cape Honey Suckle. They can digest even very waxy berries. This includes the bayberry and the wax myrtle. This last is where the Myrtle Yellow-rumped Warbler gets its name.

Courtesy of US Fish and Wildlife Service

They can approach very close as I discovered as I walked around the parking lot outside my office. Although many flew away when I walked, one day an Audubon Yellow-rumped Warbler followed me on walk, flying from tree to tree to keep up with me.

Audubon Yellow-rumped singing at San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary

Yellow-rumped Audubon Warblers can be seen just about any place in Orange County where there are trees, lawns, or hedges. I have seen them at my home and at Huntington Central Park on both sides of the park, Mason Regional Park, and many other places.

Audubon Yellow-rumped Warbler foraging at Huntington Central Park

Audubon Yellow-rumped Warblers eat insects and occasionally fruit. They pick insects off trees, shrubs, and grass and also do some flycatching. Rarely, the come to feeders. A good place to look for Audubon Yellow-rumped Warblers is open, grassy areas that border thickets, trees and hedges.

Audubon Yellow-Rumped Warbler taking a bath. Only yellow showing is his yellow rump.

Yellow-rumped Warblers are monogamous during mating season. They breed in thick conifer forests, and so they disappear from during Spring during breeding season. Their numbers are increasing nationwide. So when you see a small bird flitting through the trees or foraging on the ground, look closely. It may be the Audubon Yellow-rumped Warbler.

Yellow-rumped Audubon Warbler at Huntington Central Park

External Links and Resources

Yellow-rumped Audubon Warbler taken in Huntington Central Park

Usual detailed article.

Lots of good detailed information.

Detailed Pacific Coast article from Seattle Audubon on the Yellow-rumped Warbler.

South Dakota Birds and Birding: Yellow-rumped Warbler
Good information. Lots of pictures.

USGS: Yellow Rumped Warbler

Short article on the Yellow-rumped Warbler.


Visual Resources for Ornithology: Yellow-rumped Warbler

Lots of pictures of the Yellow-rumped Warbler. Remember, the one with the yellow under the chin is our Orange County Audubon Yellow-rumped Warbler. The one with the white under its chin is the eastern bird.


Internet Bird Collecton: Des Jardin--Audubon Yellow-rumped Warbler

Audubon Yellow-rumped Warbler. Another well-done video by California photographer Des Jardin.

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