U.S. warblers in general are more prevalent on the east coast than the west, but here’s one warbler the west coast sees abundantly, even in the winter.
The yellow-rumped warbler can be found in great numbers all over North America. They can winter farther north than most warblers because they have the ability to digest the wax in berry coatings. More info here.
I love to watch warblers — so colorful and perky. They never perch for more than a second–busy hawking insects or foraging. And maybe because we do not have many regular warblers in California, I have a real affection for this one. Whether I am in town or in the country, I get excited when I hear their “check” chipping sound. The bright yellow rump patch is easy to spot.
My favorite warbler entertainment: they gracefully swoop out of a tree, snag an insect that is invisible to me, and then flutter back to the same perch. Diving and flipping through the air, their colors swirl.
Because of their namesake yellow rump, birders affectionately call them “butter butt.” It’s not the most elegant nickname, but I share the affection.
Photo credit: Athena Alexander