Before it was lumped with the western subspecies, the eastern version of the Yellow-rumped Warbler was (and may someday again be) called the Myrtle Warbler. Personally, I prefer to call them Butterbutts. Whatever you call them, they are near ubiquitous along the coast in the northeastern United States this time of year as they feed up on a variety of berries including bayberries, from whose genus, Myrica, the Myrtle Warbler gets its name.

I spent a good portion of my Sunday morning along the coast in Queens at Jacob Riis Park and Fort Tilden and I don’t think I was ever out of earshot of the familiar chip note of the Butterbutt. At first I looked through the hordes trying to find something better but I eventually gave in and decided to just appreciate what I was seeing. And, really, early morning light and wood-warblers combined with the reds and yellows of fall make for an enjoyable and aesthetically pleasing digiscoping opportunity.


Ever wonder why they are called Butterbutts?


The best thing about Yellow-rumps is that they have essentially no fear of humans.


Though much more muted than their crisp breeding finery, I find the subtle shading of autumn Myrtle Warblers somehow satisfying.


This one really seemed interested in the giant spotting scope pointed in its direction. Or maybe it was seeing its own reflection in the lens?


Butterbutts. What’s not to like?

I love autumn.

Written by Corey
Corey is a New Yorker who lived most of his life in upstate New York but has lived in Queens since 2008. He's only been birding since 2005 but has garnered a respectable life list by birding whenever he wasn't working as a union representative or spending time with his family. He lives in Forest Hills with Daisy and Desmond Shearwater. His bird photographs have appeared on the Today Show, in Birding, Living Bird Magazine, Bird Watcher's Digest, and many other fine publications. He is also the author of the American Birding Association Field Guide to the Birds of New York.