Yellow-rumped Warbler Eating Bayberry Fruit
Yellow-rumped Warblers (Setophaga coronata) are so strongly associated with shrubs in the genus Myrica (bayberries and wax-myrtles) that the eastern subspecies is called the Myrtle Warbler. Unique among warblers, it is able to digest the waxy covering on fat-rich myrtle berries, which are a vital fall and winter food source for them. The ability to eat northern bayberry (Myrica pensylvanica, in the photo above) is the prime reason that these warblers can overwinter so far north in the coastal areas of New England, where bayberry is abundant, while most other warbler species spend the winter much further south. Yellow-rumped Warblers breed in the higher elevations of western Massachusetts in the summer, and can be found throughout coastal areas of the state during migration and in the winter. This female was photographed along the Rhode Island coast in October.
Location: South Kingstown, Rhode Island