Subject: WINTERING STATUS OF TOWNSEND'S & YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS Date: Jan 18 08:52:53 2000 From: Kraig,Eric - kraige at oclc.org
Sounds like habitat could be a determining factor in winter warbler abundance. The question is: What aspects of habitat favor the different species? I think we can safely say that myrtle/willow scrub on the immediate coast is preferred by the Yellow-rumped (Myrtle) Warbler. Michael Dossett indicates that Yellow-rumped (Audubon's) prefer open brush. Nick Pharris reports them in deciduous(?) growth near Capitol Lake. Anyone else? Where do you see yellow-rumps in the winter? Are they alone or in flocks?
Most of my Townsend's sightings are in the Lacey-Northeast Thurston County area. I see them often, both in my backyard/neighborhood and at work in downtown Lacey. Both areas are mixtures of second-growth Doug fir and what you might call "dry" Puget Sound scrub, dominated by Scouler willow, madrona, and sticky laurel. I was amazed by Wayne Weber's stats from the CBC - I would never have guessed that yellow-rumps were more often counted than Townsend's, but this was based on my owned "habitat" bias. In this apparently preferred habitat, it's not uncommon to see groups of 4-6 Townsend's; I've seen large pure flocks of Townsend's occasionally, one of which contained at least 70 birds.
Are there other local hotspots for Townsend's? In what sort of habitat are we seeing them in the winter?