I recently received a comment on our Attracting More Birds at a Glance. J.M. said she knew warblers are berry and insect eaters, but I had listed that some warblers could be attracted to peanut butter, suet, oranges, raisins and mealworms. She wanted to know if there was a misprint or did warblers really come to suet and peanut butter. This gives me a chance to talk about one of the easiest warblers to attract to bird feeders, the Yellow-rumped Warbler.
The Yellow-rumped Warbler is one of the first birds to start eating berries in the autumn. When foraging for fruits this bird is able to digest bayberries and way myrtle berries. The wax on these berries makes them hard to digest for most birds. These birds can winter farther north because of this ability.The Yellow-rumped Warblers are found throughout the United States at some point during the year. If you want to see a beautiful male Yellow-rumped Warbler you must get “warbler neck” as the males will forage higher in the trees than the female. These warblers are very versatile foragers. You may see the birds gleaning insects from the leaves and then fluttering after insects like the flycatchers and kingbirds. These warblers are opportunistic. They have been seen picking insects out of seaweed, skimming the top of water for insects, raiding spider webs for a bite and even hunting through piles of manure.
In the fall, the Yellow-rumped Warblers will forage with other warbler species. They will forage peacefully with Black-throated Green, Palm, and Magnolia Warblers. However they try to dominate the Blackburnian and Pine Warblers.
The Yellow-rumped Warblers, with their diverse diet will sample your suet, any fruit you offer and have a bite or two of peanut butter. In return, these little birds will entertain you with their antics. I think that is a great trade, how about you?