Up and down, over and around – the yellow-rumped warblers are tearing through my backyard like wind-up dolls.
They arrived at the very end of December for the first time in at least 14 years. Their absence doesn’t mean anything is wrong. This species of warbler is flexible when it comes to wintering sites so it doesn’t always return to the same spot every year.
The first day I saw as many as nine, but now two or three a day. Mainly looking for insects, the warblers aren’t showing any particular tree preferences.
They seem just as satisfied on the leafless maple tree as on the olive or fig trees as long as they find something live to eat. The cracks in the railroad ties provide snacks too. Winter seems less dreary when I’m watching them dart around or perch, calling out their high sweet chirps.