Within 2 minutes of hitting the trail yesterday morning I realized to my abject horror that I had left the most important winter resident off of yesterday’s feathered extravaganza.
For the next 6 months if you hike anyway even remotely chaparral-ish you will be surrounded at all times by these lively little lads and lasses. Constantly flitting, watch carefully for the yellow flash of rump as they take off for the next branch. The vividness of the yellow on the wing, neck and head will vary, but that bright rump is always there. This time of year they are mostly brown-streaked, the handsome black and white comes out in the Spring.
Yellow-rumps are voracious eaters, and one of the few warblers who can switch easily from insects to fruit when necessary. They are uniquely equipped with a digestive system that can handle the berries of Wax Myrtle and bayberries. They will even eat some types of wild seeds, and I have spotted them at my feeder trying to get at the sunflower seeds. They can pick insects in flight, or will drag juicy morsels out of tree bark.
No wonder they are absolutely everywhere. Again, apologies to you the reader and especially to my loyal hiking companion, Dendroica coronata