Audubon's Warbler Watering Hole
On the Grand Canyon's North Rim, along highway 67 the meadows have little watering holes here and there...well more like mud holds in this case, filled with the sloppy footprints of the local bison herd. One morning while driving the road, witnessed a great many small birds, seemingly swarming, around just such an area. Between the insects and the water, this is the perfect morning stop for a number of bird species. In this case it was predominately swallows on the scene, but there was also a pleasant mixture of other small forest birds, such as finches, sparrows, and this little warbler.
It took a good while to identify 'her', as this is a female yellow-rumped warbler. What makes the ID so difficult is that 4 different sub-species exist, although perhaps they really should be unique species. Since 1973, the American Ornithologists' Union has elected to merge these passerine birds as one species. There is a pending proposal to recognize the yellow-rumped warbler as four species rather than as different subspecies. This particular specimen would be known as the "Audubon's Warbler". Its not believe that they are probably a hybrid of the eastern and western varieties of Yellow-rump. In North America, the discovery of a hybrid zone between the two forms in western Canada led the American Ornithologists' Union in 1973 to recognize them as a single sub-species.
Audubon's warbler has a westerly distribution. It breeds in much of western Canada, the western United States, and into Mexico. It is migratory, wintering from the southern parts of the breeding range into western Central America. The breeding habitat is a variety of coniferous and mixed woodland. Audubon's warblers nest in a tree, laying four or five eggs in a cup nest.