New York State Avian Records Committee

a committee of the New York State Ornithological Association

Gallery of New York Rarities
Audubon's Yellow-rumped Warbler
Text by Willie D'Anna and Photographs by Betsy Potter

Goat Island is justifiably famous as it sits at the brink of Niagara Falls. Birders also know it for the gulls that amass by the thousands nearby during late fall and winter. Local birders also realize the importance of the site as a migrant trap - one of the very best in Western NY. Betsy Potter and I were searching for early neotropical migrants at Goat Island when we encountered great numbers of "Myrtle" Yellow-rumped Warblers (Dendroica coronata ). Betsy spotted a Yellow-rumped with a bright yellow throat and for the next 40 minutes I studied it in the scope while Betsy tried to obtain video. The bird stayed high up in a couple of large deciduous trees permitting prolonged, if distant study.

Several characters collectively distinguish this individual as belonging to the Audubon's race: 1) the bright yellow throat with rounded corners; 2) the plain grayish face with white eye-arcs but no white above the lores and no large black facial patch; 3) a large white patch on the wing coverts, indicative of a male; 4) white on four outer tail feathers and larger black tail corners. Intergrades of the Audubon's and Myrtle races of Yellow-rumped occur but this individual showed no intermediate characters that would suggest such a possibility. There are less than 20 records of this race in the State (Lauro 1998).

Audubon's Yellow-rumped Warbler (Dendroica coronata auduboni), April 27, 2002
Goat Island, Niagara Falls, Niagara County, NY
Video grabs copyright of Betsy Potterę 2002

References for YRWA:
Lauro, T. 1998 in Bull's Birds of New York State. E. Levine, editor. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, N.Y.
Dunn, J. and K. Garrett 1997. Warblers. Houghton Mifflin Company. Boston, New York.

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