As Town Biologist Aaron Given puts it, ‘the first of a wave of buttery goodness’ has arrived on Kiawah. This week, Town biologists banded the first two Yellow-rumped Warblers (Setophaga coronata) of the season. Yellow-rumped Warblers are one of the most common warblers in North America, and in the winter they are one of the most abundant birds on Kiawah. In fact, the sheer number of Yellow-rumped Warblers on Kiawah over the winter season is one of the things that make this bird so impressive.
Yellow-rumped Warblers are aptly named and easily identified by the little yellow patch of color on the rump and on the sides of this mostly brown bird. Their short, thin bills and relatively short wings make them efﬁcient at catching insects, their primary food. Once known as Myrtle Warblers because of their diet preferences, you can typically ﬁnd many feeding together in our native wax myrtle trees. In fact, they are the only warbler able to digest the waxes found in bayberries and wax myrtles. Its ability to use these fruits allows it to winter farther north than other warblers.
Spend a little time with our Naturalists on a Back Island Birding Tour or the new Birding for Beginners to see Kiawah’s ‘Butter Butts’ in action. Call the Nature Center at 843.768.6001 to make your reservations.