Yellow-rumped WarblerDendroica coronata (Linnaeus)
Status Common in summer, uncommon in winter. Breeds. Arrival of migrants is not difficult to determine in coastal areas, where the birds often arrive in flocks, excitable and noisy, and in bright spring plumage. First arrivals have occurred throughout April (average 19 April, earliest 2 April). Summer birds are widely distributed in coniferous or conifer-dominated woods. Peak numbers of migrants, often in large flocks mixed with other species, have occurred throughout October. Some of these flocks remain into winter in favoured localities, especially in years when bayberries (Myrica pensylvanica) are abundant. They are most regular in winter in coastal areas of the Southwestern Shore.
Description Length: 13-15 cm. Adult male: Top of head, rump, and patch on each side of breast yellow; cheek patch black; throat and belly, and spots near end of outer tail feathers white; back blue-gray, streaked with black; breast and sides black, the feathers tipped with white; two white wing bars. Adult female: Similar but much paler and upperparts brown. (See Remarks for a description of "Audubon's Warbler.")
Breeding Nest: Fairly compact, and composed of twigs, grass stems, plant down, strips of bark and similar materials, with a lining of hair and feathers. The site most frequently chosen is the limb of a large spruce, on which it is saddled well out from the trunk, partially concealed among the clusters of small shoots; lower heights are most common. Another favoured site is close to the trunk of a small spruce in an open, sunny clearing, such as a woodland pasture. An unusual site was the limb of a large apple tree in an orchard remote from coniferous woods. Another strange location was the thick foliage of an old Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) growing over the wall of a farmhouse at Lower Wolfville; admirably concealed, its discovery was possible only because the bird was seen to enter between the leaves.
Eggs: 3-5, sets of 4 and 5 being about evenly divided; grayish white, spotted with various shades of brown. Of 24 nests examined, 12 had sets of four, 10 held five, and 2 contained sets of three that were both second attempts. Nest construction begins in early May and complete sets are laid by about the end of the month. There are indications that sometimes two broods are raised.
Range Breeds north to the limit of trees from Alaska to Labrador, and south to Virginia in the mountains, northern Michigan, southern Saskatchewan and Alberta, and south in the western mountains to Guatemala. Winters in the southern United States, coastally from Nova Scotia and British Columbia, south to the Greater Antilles and Panama.
Remarks This warbler's bright yellow rump is conspicuously worn by both sexes, including immatures (except in juvenile plumage), throughout the year. Only two other of our regular warblers have this characteristic: the Cape May and the Magnolia Warblers. However, these two also have strongly streaked yellow underparts which the Yellow-rumped Warbler lacks.
The breeding population in Nova Scotia belongs to the subspecies Dendroica coronata coronata, formerly known as the "Myrtle Warbler," as distinct from "Audubon's Warbler," a group of subspecies occupying western North America, which has a yellow rather than white throat, lacks a distinctly darker face patch and shows more extensive white on the male's wing. A bright male "Audubon's Warbler" was closely observed among migrant Yellow-rumped Warblers on Sable Island on 4 May 1967 by Christel and Norman Bell, a first for Atlantic Canada. A second bird, a singing male, was seen briefly but adequately on Seal Island by Ian McLaren on 26 May 1983.
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