Woodland Birds, Pacific Northwest
The Yellow Rumped Warbler is a year-round resident on Vancouver Island. It is no surprise that this warbler is one of the most familiar warblers of North America; this bird is one of the first to arrive in the spring and the last to leave in the fall, and during the winter months it is the most abundant warbler in North America. They were formerly classified as two distinct species, today the Audubon’s and myrtle warblers are both called yellow rumped warblers.
The Yellow Rumped Warbler can be found throughout North America in brushy coniferous and mixed forests, suburban parks, and agricultural areas. The Audubon’s variation is most common in western regions while the myrtle plumage is more common in the north and east. Together, the birds’ summer range includes all but the very northern regions of Canada and Alaska as well as the mountain west and Pacific Northwest. In winter, these birds migrate to the southern and southeastern United States as well as Mexico and as far south as Guatemala and the western Caribbean. Year-round populations can be found in eastern Arizona and along the Pacific Northwest, including Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Washington and Oregon.
Yellow rumped warblers can be gregarious and their high pitched, whistling trill song is easily recognizable. The pitch remains fairly constant for the 2 to 3-second song that may consist of up to two dozen syllables. The Audubon’s song is lower in pitch than the myrtle’s. Both species use sharp “chek-chek-chek-chek” and “psit-psit-psit” calls.
While yellow rumped warblers are typically found as solitary birds or in pairs, it’s not uncommon to find many of them in a small area, especially during migration. They will form mixed flocks with other small birds in the winter, and they can easily be seen foraging on the ground or in trees while they hunt for insects.
Yellow rumped warblers are monogamous birds and a mated pair can produce 2 broods of 3 to 5 eggs each during the breeding season. The female incubates the eggs for 12 to 13 days, and both parents will feed the young for an additional 10 to 12 days.