Yellow patches are all you need to recognize Fidget when he is flitting about in the forest. Burgess describes him as a “black and gray bird with a yellow cap, yellow sides, and a yellow patch at the root of his tail” (Burgess, p. 132, Living Book Press edition). You may have noticed that he is called a Myrtle Warbler in Burgess’ classic “The Burgess Bird Book for Children.” Cornell Lab has a really helpful section on why Burgess would have referred to him as a Myrtle Warbler:
The Yellow-rumped Warbler has two distinct subspecies that used to be considered separate species: the “Myrtle” Warbler of the eastern U.S. and Canada’s boreal forest, and “Audubon’s” Warbler of the mountainous West. The Audubon’s has a yellow throat; in the Myrtle subspecies the throat is white. Male “Audubon’s” Warblers have more white in the wing than the “Myrtle” Warbler. Female Audubon’s have less distinctly marked faces, lacking the dark ear patches of the “Myrtle” Warbler. Intermediate forms occur where the two subspecies’ breeding ranges overlap, such as in the Canadian Rockies.
These regional differences are considered to be subspecies now instead of a complete separate species. It is always interesting to see Audubon’s name attached to a bird, isn’t it? You can find a picture here in order to see the differences in coloring.
Watch a great video by Lyco Birds here on Youtube. Bobby does a good job of showing the variations of coloring and field markers for identification. Our Fidget has very dark black markings around the face, but you can find Yellow-rumped Warblers with brownish, lighter markings as well. Since these are one of the most prevalent species of Warblers, it’s good to know how to identify them in the field.
As quickly as the Warblers arrived, they left. In Burgess’ classic “The Burgess Bird Book for Children,” Peter finds a Warbler that stays in the Green Forest, the Northern Parula. He notices Sprite by finding his nest which looks like a bunch of moss hanging from a tree. Cornell Lab explains that Northern Parulas actually depend on moss in order to build their nests and habitat loss affects their ability to breed in certain places (source). The particular mosses that they depend on are Spanish moss in the Southern United States and Beard Moss in the Northern United States.