Photographed by Bette Jackson
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Hi, I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson, out with the wild things. Identifying a yellow-rumped warbler is easy. This tiny bird is so distinctive with its thin pointed bill, gray back, and bright yellow rump. Once you've identified several yellow-rumped warblers, however, you'll begin to notice that aside from the basics, they vary greatly in color and pattern from one individual to the next. Those differences allow us and them to identify young birds, males and females, and birds from different nesting areas. When yellow rump warblers arrive in the south each fall, many are dull, gray-brown with gray-brown streaks on the breast, and only the tell-tale yellow rump betray their identity. These are the yellow-rumped kids, hatched in the spring and making their first trip south. Adult females are a bit brighter with less brown and more gray, and with thin lines of black extending down the back and on the sides of the breast. Adult males in spring offer the brightest of plumages; their bright-yellow rump is balanced by a bright-yellow cap and yellow at the edges of the breast, and all that yellow is accented by strong black streaks on the blue-gray back, and a black vest on the whitish breast and a black face mask. Such variation adds to the excitement and the lure of watching birds.'With the Wild Things' is produced at the Whitaker Center in the College of Arts and Sciences at Florida Gulf Coast University. For 'The Wild Things', I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson.