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Are You Seeing Tiny Birds with Yellow Spots?

Today, I had a co-worker ask me, “Is it possible that I saw a bird called a dick-shizzle?”

I don’t think they were using Snoop Dog speak to talk birds, I think he mean dickcissel.  It is possible to see them, but it’s a bit early, but in migration anything can happen.  He said that it had yellow on either side of its chest and yellow on top.  I knew exactly what he saw:

A yellow-rumped warlber. These early arriving warblers have already passed through the southern US but they’re hitting Minnesota hard as they work they way north to their breeding grounds.  This is the time of year that I would expect them, but because we’ve had a cold snap with rain and snow, they are having a challenging time finding food, part of the risk of an early return.  They eat insects, but they are scarce, they’ll go for seeds, buds and fruit.  You might even see them flitting around the bird feeder going for suet or sunflower seeds.

This bird has a couple of different names, one is “Butter Butt” because it looks like there’s a pat of butter on their rumps, the other is “Myrtle Warbler” because there are two different types of yellow rumps, an eastern version (the Myrtle) and a western version (the Auduobn’s).

They’re very noticeable as they dart around tree branches and flit around on the ground flashing periodic patches of yellow.  Their call note in flocks almost sounds like a kiss, you may have noticed it while walking around your neighborhood.

Yellow-rumps are the last warblers to leave in the fall and the first to arrive in spring.  These tiny, hardy birds are the warning that all those crazy colored warblers that birders go ga ga for are about to arrive.  Enjoy them while they last.


9 comments to Are You Seeing Tiny Birds with Yellow Spots?

  • Beez

    Ah-ha! Those are what I saw on campus this week! I was wondering- pretty noticeable little guys.

  • Very informative post. You learnt me something. Thank you. Never seen them over here in Central NY. Very pretty species.

  • I have seen tons of yellow rumped warblers this week all congregated around Minnehaha creek in the west metro. A few ruby crowned kinglets are hanging out with them too. They seem to be finding enough insects around the creek, but not much away from the creek in the woods.

  • ed

    YRWA just arrived in my So. Mpls backyard – simply beautiful birds – gregarious too – never tire of watching them.

  • hahaha love the Snoop Dog reference! Cool-looking bird.

  • Joanna

    Out for a walk up Hennepin with my kid, and we were able to identify one of these guys, thanks to this post!

  • “Is it possible that I saw a bird called a dick-shizzle?”

    That may be the greatest birding question ever asked.

  • He asked the dick-shizzle question in all seriousness…I don’t think he’s very aware of Snoop Dog.

    Glad people found the post helpful and glad people are having a chance to view this awesome little bird.

  • Phil Sturm

    Thanks for this post. I had a flock of these in Uptown outside my apartment and I couldn’t figure out what they were. All I could remember was “blue with a yellow spot on their butt”.