A Yellow Rump

I’ve really been enjoying my lunch time strolls along Lever Road in Merville – there’s a good stretch of roadside habitat that includes mixed shrubs and conifers, some older red-alder, a small pond, and open fields along which both warblers and sparrows are active.

I’ve seen quite a few Yellow-rumped Warblers (Dendroica coronata) over the last couple of weeks and while I’ve taken countless photographs either the light hasn’t been quite right, or the bird has been too far away or not posing properly.

Two subspecies are possible on Vancouver Island – the Audubon’s and the Myrtle. Note that these two were “lumped” in the 1970s but may be “split” once again in the future. Check out this eBird update on the current status of the Yellow-rumped Warbler. Sibley has this split on his list of the next top 10 possible splits. If you’re a beginning birder you might want to track your sightings of both subspecies!

This week I got lucky and managed to get a couple of good photographs of a Audubon’s Yellow-rumped Warbler.

Yellow-rumped Warbler (Dendroica coronata)
This gorgeous Yellow-rumped Warbler (Dendroica coronata) is a common summer warbler on Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

The two subspecies are easy to tell apart. Audubon’s has a yellow throat in comparison to the Myrtle’s white throat. In addition, it lacks the white supercilium (like an eyebrow) seen on the Myrtle. Both subspecies have a patch of yellow on their rumps (upper part of the body of the bird where their tails join their backs). Check out the Iona Island Bird Observatory WildResearch blog for a good comparison of both subspecies and a hybrid Aububon’s/Myrtle.

Yellow-rumped Warbler (Dendroica coronata)
A female Yellow-rumped Warbler (Dendroica coronata) – much more subtle colouring and a streaky breast in comparison to the male.

Nice to see that these spring migrants are back and singing again. Spring is a fantastic time of year!