Photographed by Bette Jackson
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Hi, I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson, out with the wild things. Among Florida's birds of winter is a tiny warbler that some birders affectionately call 'butterbutt', the yellow-rumped warbler. Although it measures only about four-and-three-quarter inches from the tip of its bill to the tip of its tail, the yellow-rumped warbler spans our continent on its annual migrations. The yellow rump nests in the spruce fir forests of Canada and Alaska, but winters in much of the eastern United States, the American southwest, and down into Mexico. It’s abundant as a wintering bird in Florida. While most wood warblers rely on a pretty strict diet of insects and spiders, and thus have to head to the tropics in winter, the yellow-rumped warbler can shift its diet to berries if the weather is too cold for insects. In Florida, it often feeds on the waxy berries of wax myrtle from which it got an earlier name, 'myrtle warbler'. You can identify the yellow-rumped warbler by its tiny size, its gray back, and the bright yellow patch at the base of its tail. Males are much brighter than females. A close look also shows the yellow-rumped warbler has a yellow cap, and yellow on each side of its breast.'With the Wild Things' is produced at Whitaker Center in the College of Arts and Sciences at Florida Gulf Coast University. For 'The Wild Things', I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson.