This week is our fourth MAPS period. We banded the first fledgling of the year, a Myrtle Yellow-rumped Warbler who inspired our weekly article. Read on and meet Mywa, an opinionated Myrtle Warbler fledgling who chats up one of our banders about breeding research.
Morning chat with Mywa
A small brown, streaked bird is hopping on a branch over my head. It must be a few weeks old, fresh out of the nest.
“Hello little one”, I greet him. “What brings you to my banding table?”
The bird points an angry wing towards the woods where I’ve been working. “What are those nets, in there? They’re near my home!”
“I know”, I say. “That’s precisely the point. We’re trying to help you.”
I open my banding binder on the table. “Come see.”
The bird is wary, but finally jumps down on the far edge of the table. “Okay. What am I looking at?”
“See this data?” I run my finger down lines of numbers. “We collect information about the local birds.”
It opens wide eyes. “About me, too?”
“No, you’re not in there. We haven’t caught you in our nets yet.”
The bird huddles farther. Clearly, it has zero interest in getting caught in our nets.
The first fledgling of our MAPS season, a Yellow-rumped “Myrtle” Warbler, banded at RESI on July 1st, 2019.
“What do you do with this information?” it asks nonetheless.
“We try to protect your home and keep your family safe. We tell people what you need from the forest so your parents can raise you, and so you can come back next year and have a family of your own. Pretty neat, huh?”
It bobs its head, frowning as it’s thinking about what I just said.
“Summer’s the time to gather information on parents and baby birds like you”, I go on.
The bird hops towards me, puffing its chest. “Fledgling,” it says in a haughty voice. “I’m a fledgling, not a baby.” It shows me growing wings and a short tail. “I can fly almost as well as my parents!”
I bite my cheeks, repressing a laugh. “Right you are. And are you a boy or a girl?”
The bird throws impatient wings up to the sky. “We’re not called boys and girls, we’re males and females!” it corrects me again. “I’m a male Yellow-rumped Warbler, from the Myrtle subspecies. My name is Mywa. When I grow up, I’ll get my yellow rump, crown and flanks just like Daddy!”
This young fellow is quite better educated than I thought he’d be. His parents must read to him.
An after-hatch year Yellow-Rumped “Myrtle” Warbler shows off its golden crown and flanks
“Alright, Mywa. Want to be in the binder and help out, then?”
Mywa nods, hopping closer. “What do I do?”
“Nothing. I’ll put this band on your leg and take some measurements. That’s it!”
He’s already stretching out his leg. A minute later, he’s admiring his shiny band. “Cool! I can’t wait to show Mom and Dad! Actually… they’re probably looking for me. I should go home now. Thanks for the band!”
Quite the sassy little guy, I think as he flies away clumsily. Good for him. A rough migration journey is coming to him. He’s going to need all of that attitude to make it there and back again next spring.