Of the 55 species in North America, the Yellow-rumped is probably the most abundant Warbler. It shows up all over the country at some point during the year and winters much farther north than most other Warblers do.
While the Yellow-rumped Warbler should be admired for its hardiness, adaptability and tenacity, it’s often under-appreciated in serious birding circles. Anders and I see so many that we just call them “Rumps” – as in, “Darn. It’s just a Rump.”
In an era of profound worry about habitat loss, climate change and the other perils so many birds face, we should be celebrating the only Warbler that’s able to digest the wax in bayberry fruit.
The ability to switch from eating insects to bayberries is key to the business of winter survival and allows Yellow-rumps to spend cold months in coastal areas as far north as Nova Scotia. Not having to migrate so far to find food contributes to the bird’s overall proliferation.