Greetings to my readers! A week ago I was standing out in my woods surrounded by a multitude of Halloween decorations. My non-wildlife blog will get an in depth look at that event, but I mainly point this out as a comparative perspective. See, I was standing out in my woods surrounded by creations of the dead IN MY T-SHIRT. October 21st and it was perfect out even in the dead of night. The week before a rainy, chilly, windy mess of a day. Now fast forward a week to today. Once again, standing in the woods surrounded by a multitude of Halloween decorations. This time in someone else’s haunted trail and more pertinent to the lead in – IN 2 SHIRTS, 2 COATS and GLOVES. Talk about one hell of a temperature swing for out here in the Midwest. Think it was even trying to flurry a bit towards the middle of the day. Other than a training run tomorrow, think I’ll just stay in and get caught up on my blog quota for the rapidly closing end of the month.
As a lead in, let’s take a look at a very colorful bird.
That there is a Yellow-Rumped Warbler. This pretty specimen was shot while on a trip out to the Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado back in May 2014. Technically it was an add on from a trip to the Denver area for the Teacup Dog Agility Nationals. Linda bribed me with a trip through the park in order to convince me to head out there. I’ve have now tried two times to get the White-tailed Ptarmigan up on the Tundra trail – both coming up empty. Making the best of it, I did get some other specimens in the park, which included the one you are seeing here. Note, I intend to continue going back there until I get that bird checked off my list!
Hit the jump to see and read a bit more about this colorful Warbler!
The Yellow-Rumped is not a new bird to the blog. In fact, they have been featured a couple of times on the blog due to having more than one classification. Specifically, there is the Audubon and the Myrtle variety. As mentioned, each of these has already been shared on the blog – Audubon was featured in January of 2014 based on a Yellowstone National Park encounter (link here). The Myrtle variety was featured in July 2012 post covering birds discovered in Baraboo, Wisconsin (link here). Unfortunately, neither of those series were able to show the yellow crown they sport on the top of their heads. Good news, you can definitely spot it in this series of shots. On the other hand, unlike those other posts, you cannot see their key characteristic, the actual yellow patch on their rump, which were very prevalent in the other two series.
If you took a gander at those other sets of pictures, you probably already figured out the particular specimen captured here is of the Audubon variety. This is easily distinguished between the two by the yellow throat. The Myrtle has white chin/throat. Both will have the yellow shoulder spots, the yellow crown and, of course, the yellow patch on their rump. Their very bold eye rings also helps to quickly get it in the Rumped family. For such a beautiful bird, it happens to be one of the more common Warblers to get. They are prevalent across the US, Canada and Central America.
Cornell’s website comments on their ability to manage their diet with a combination of berries and insects. They also point out their unique ability to consume the waxes found in bayberries and wax myrtles. Its ability to use these fruits allows it to extend further into Canada, sometimes as far north as Newfoundland.
Although not a new bird to the list, I do like this series of pictures and thought you might enjoy them as well. If you are nice and eat your vegetables, I might just hunt down the Myrtle species and let you get another look at them as well. Until then stay warm if you are in the Midwest. Going to be some chilly training runs in the not too distant future.
2 thoughts on “The Same but Different”
Gorgeous shots! I gather the myrtle tree is where the Myrtle name comes from–didn’t know that. These are indeed common and very pretty birds.
From a Kenn Kaufman article for Audubon:
It was a long time ago, but I still remember how bummed we all were when we lost the Myrtle Warbler.
I was a kid then, an avid teen birder. Everywhere I went in April 1973, people were talking about the birds we had lost. The Checklist Committee of the American Ornithologists’ Union had just published their first update in years, and for bird listers, the news wasn’t good. Scientists had “lumped” many familiar species. Three flicker species had been merged into one, two orioles into one, and four juncos into one. And the eastern Myrtle Warbler and western Audubon’s Warbler, two of the most common and familiar members of the warbler clan, were suddenly one species with the bland, unflattering name of Yellow-rumped Warbler.
Myrtle and Audubon’s warblers are both fascinating birds, hardy and adaptable, able to spend the winter farther north than any other warblers. (Check these range maps to see just how far north.) Both migrate early in spring and late in fall, before and after the flood of other migrating warblers, when there are fewer leaves on the trees and birds are easier to see. Both are remarkably varied in their feeding habits: They’ll seek insects by clambering on tree trunks, dangling from twigs, hopping on the ground, or flying out to catch them in midair. And when insects are scarce, they switch over to feasting on berries.
Nice Kaufman review – I generally like his articles I read in various magazines. I was not aware they were separate at one time and merged into the yellow ass name. In addition, I wasn’t even aware of what a Myrtle tree was until you mentioned it. I looked it up and learned it is not mentioned the Bible until the age of captivity (that was an odd link trek) and that it stands for … wait for it … Myrtle in Greek – apparently a Greek name. There you have it, a wealth of knowledge about the Myrtle designation. As always, feel free to do your own investigations.
Thanks for the excellent reference and the Myrtle reference!