A Yellow-rumped Warbler Takes A Bath

One of the best ways to attract a greater variety of birds to a backyard setting is to add water.  While only certain birds visit seed feeders, they all must drink and bathe.  I have found that a few strategically-placed (and regularly cleaned) bird baths fashioned from shallow terracotta saucers attract warblers and other insectivorous songbirds up close, affording longer looks at these beautiful though often flighty creatures.

Recently, I snapped a few photos, through the window, of a Yellow-rumped Warbler enjoying a morning bath.  

Yellow-rumped Warblers (Setophaga coronata) are perhaps the most familiar warbler across the North American continent, where they breed in northern coniferous forests during the summer months before moving south in great numbers to fill the southern half of the continent.  Dubbed "Swarm Warblers" by expert birder Pete Dunne, this apt description only hints at the sheer number of fluttering, feeding, chipping Yellow-rumps that overwhelm favorable foraging habitat during the winter months.  Their ability to switch from a diet of mainly insects during the summer breeding season to a diet of berries in the winter allows these warblers to spend the winter farther north than any other warbler; nearly all other warblers migrate much farther south for the colder months, following a steady supply of insects.  

A neighborhood a few blocks away from our house is planted extensively with non-native Chinese Pistache trees which produce small berries during the winter months that these little warblers go absolutely nuts over.  The trees are filled with dozens - swarms - of these beautiful winter warblers!  My neighborhood lacks these enticing trees, but the warblers still seem to appreciate my selection of bird baths.

Take a look at this fun sequence of photos!


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