I’ve been counting birds at the Stirling Street Bog for over a year now. Last October when I first moved here to Andover I counted several warblers there in the month of October. I presumed the bog would be full of warblers next spring and summer, but I was wrong. The warblers I saw last year were just migrating through. So, this autumn I have been waiting for them. Finally a cold front moved through on the night of October 5th. When I woke up on October 6th, I was greeted by the sound of a white-throated sparrow singing, “Oh Sweet-Canada, Canada, Canada,” outside my window. While drinking coffee on the back porch and watching birds, I saw a black-throated green warbler in the tree next door. That’s when I knew I’d better grab my bins and camera and get down to the bog. Sure enough, there were birds everywhere!
Yellow-rumped warblers are affectionately know as Butter-butts because it looks like someone placed a little pat of butter on their rumps in the area right above their tails.
Yellow-rumps come in two varieties: Myrtle, predominately on the east coast; and Audubon’s, predominantly out west. The Myrtle has a white throat and the Audubon's has a yellow throat but they do overlap in territory and during migration.
Yellow-rumped warblers are closely associated with coniferous trees during the breeding season. It seems to me that I often see them around water. They often act like flycatchers, picking insects off the ends of branches or snatching them from the air. Because they can and do eat berries, they are often one of the first warbler species to migrate north in springtime.They make a little “tic” sound as they glean insects and it is often one of the ways that I find them. Yellow-rumped warbler was one of the first warbler species I ever saw and learned to identify. I saw my first one in Florida in January of 2003, and then I saw them again in my back yard in Maine of that same year. Since then I have seen them in 11 states.
These yellow-rumps here are all seen in fall plumage. While not quite as colorful as their breeding plumage, I still think they are adorable and I am so happy to see them at the bog again. They are only here for a short time and soon they will be gone again until next year.