Butter-Butt Warbler

I was on a job-site a few weeks back that included a substantial marsh area in Laurel, Maryland, and while I was there, I saw a cacophony of great bird species.  Expecting to have similar results I was back on this job for an 8:00 AM meeting.  I arrived on-site a 7:00 AM with my best lens, hoping to get some great shots of waterfowl and other birds before my meeting.  Nothing doing.  I had a lot of flybys but nothing came into land and forage in the complex interspersion of the marsh.

I did however watch as several Yellow-Rumped Warblers (Setophaga coronata) flitted about feeding on insects and berries.


There are two types of yellow-rumps, and the Maryland version is known as the “Eastern Myrtle Warbler” diagnostic as having a white throat.


Yellow-rumps breed throughout Canada and Alaska and overwinter from Maryland south into Central America.  They are common spring an fall migrants, but uncommon to rare in the winter here.  As they pass through Maryland twice each year, they are found in every County, but more common on the eastern shore, as they are able to digest the wax of bayberry, and also like wax myrtle, eastern red cedar and poison ivy berries.


In this photo you can see the “butter-butt” patch of yellow that gives this bird it’s name, the yellow-rumped warbler.


The yellow-rump is one of the last warblers to migrate in the fall and one of the first to return in the spring.

In autumn and winter they will feed in loose flocks of a few to several birds and constantly chirp a “contact call” that keeps the flock together, and which was what I observed early this morning.