Friday, June 6, 2014 Yellow-rumped Warbler pair

Seward, Alaska

YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS are easier to hear than see, now that the leaves are fully unfolded and fluttering in the breeze. The males might be detected by tracking their relatively slow, rolling warble, but the quiet females are elusive. I was lucky to watch this pair chase after one another at Exit Glacier, pausing briefly to snatch up a small insect here and there in a tangle of branches and foliage. There are few birds more erratic than warblers; a real photographic challenge.

The range of this white-throated subspecies AKA "Myrtle Warbler" includes eastern USA but the breeding range extends north through Canada's boreal forest all the way to Alaska. The yellow-throated "Audubon Warbler" is common in the Lower 48 western mountainous region but not in Alaska. Where the ranges overlap, they hybridize. Some references (including the website) refer to the Myrtle as the eastern variation and the Audubon as the western, but they are forgetting about all the Myrtles nesting in the vast boreal forest of Canada and Alaska.

Try to find these fairly large, strikingly patterned warblers while they are still singing, unless you prefer to wait for a really big challenge!

Happy Birding!
Carol Griswold
Seward Sporadic Bird Report Reporter

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