When we bought our new house last July, I looked up at our massive backyard bur oak and longed for spring. I hoped that the tree would drip with warblers one day. The gnarly old landmark of our street has that presence about it that I speculated would pull in migrating birds from miles around. At least, that is what I hoped and dreamed, on a hot, decidedly unbirdy Saturday in mid-summer.
We're on the backside of spring now, and the old bur oak did not disappoint. This past weekend, it was full of yellow-rumped warblers, affectionately known as "butter butts"- perhaps half a dozen at a time, foraging for insects amongst the young leaves and the long, stringy catkins of oak flowers.
Don't see the yellow patch on the bottom? Well, that's because it is actually on the back of the bird, which you can't see when your craning your neck straight up.
Here's a shot of a yellow rumped warbler from Sanibel Island that I captured in March, 2008, where you can barely see the yellow patch just below the tip of this bird's right wing.
Yellow-rumped warblers, along with a slew of other interesting species, are passing through Ohio right now. In fact, the major wave of colorful birds has probably already subsided. I was glad that I was able to give a few individuals respite in our backyard.