Friday, June 5, 2015

Let's Play a Search Game! Not "Where's Waldo?", but "Where's Warbler?"

We were on the north rim of Grand Canyon last week enjoying a spectacular sunset when I noticed rustlings in the underbrush. I snapped a couple of shots, hoping to see what kind of bird it was, and as I went through the pictures later, I noticed that I had indeed captured a few images of a Yellow-rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronata). You would think that a bird with bright yellow spots would be easy to see, but not when the shrubs are just coming into leaf with yellow sprouts!
So here is our brief little game of "Where's Warbler?" There really is a warbler in each of these three photos. In one of them he is looking right at you. How quickly can you find all three?
Luckily, the warblers hopped out of the bushes to forage in the pine duff, so here are some more easily observed Yellow-rumped Warblers at Point Imperial in Grand Canyon National Park.
Yellow-rumped Warblers are one of the more common of the warbler species, and indeed are pretty much the only kind I've seen so far, both at home, on campus, and on the road in both Yosemite and Grand Canyon National Parks.
The birds have a range that extends from northern Alaska south to Panama. They have more muted colors in the winter; the bright yellow spots are for show during the breeding season.
The warblers eat lots of insects, including some pretty serious forest pests like budworms. In the winter they can switch to berries and other food sources.
All in all, a colorful addition to the landscape when you can actually see them!

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