Barry Kent MacKayArt by Barry Kent MacKay
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In this section are copies of original works of art. All of them are dedicated to helping us live according to unconditional love and compassion, which is the foundation of our peaceful means of bringing true and lasting peace to all of God's creatures, whether they are human beings or other animals.

Yellow-rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronata)


Yellow-rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronata)
(Artwork - 138)
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronata)

Yellow-rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronata)

The Yellow-rumped Warbler is one of the most common, abundant, and widely distributed of the family of birds, entirely confined to the western hemisphere, known as the Wood Warblers, or Parulidae, often referred to collectively as the Parulids. All are small, insectivorous (but some species, including this one, include small fruit, even seeds, suet and other materials in the diet -- in fact the ability to digest waxy myrtle berries gives the eastern, nominate race of this species the name "Myrtle" Warbler) and most, but not all, are colourful, often boldly patterned.

The bird in the painting is an adult male in winter plumage of the subspecies, or geographic variation, that used to be considered a separate species, Audubon's Warbler, and may be again as scientists apply new research tools to determining relationships between similar forms. The bird is from Santa Barbara, California, where it was found dead and preserved as a specimen on December 5, 1971. They have a wide breeding range through western North America. Eastern birds are almost identical in this plumage but lack that touch of yellow at the throat, which is white. In breeding plumage the two birds are more distinct as the western one has more black around the breast and face and more white on the wing as well as the yellow, not white, throat. I am including an image of a watercolour I did some years ago of an adult male of the eastern, nominate race, in breeding plumage.

When you move south of the southern U.S. border you find two more very distinctive subspecies, the "black-fronted" warbler (S. c. nigrifrons) of northwestern Mexico, and, only in Guatemala the "Goldman's" warbler (S. c. goldmani). The two northern forms are quite migratory, and very adaptable. While the "Myrtle" is common where I live, often among the first Wood Warbler species seen in spring and the last in fall, with the odd one wintering, the "Audubon's" is not unknown, and birders carefully look at the throats of all Yellow-rumped Warblers, and the face -- "Myrtles" have a white eyebrow stripe that "Audubon's" lacks. While all four are currently "lumped" as one species they are easily distinguished and may one day each achieve distinct species status, not that it matters to them! They obviously have a relatively recent common ancestor and were probably separated into discrete populations during the ice ages of the Pleistocene period that ended about eleven thousand years ago, each evolving into a different form.

While they are, on the breeding grounds, mostly a forest bird, during migration and in winter they show up almost anywhere, foraging wherever they can find food and often appear in quite large numbers.

The painting is 8 by 10 inches, approximately life size and painted in acrylics on compressed hardboard. The watercolour was also life size but a smaller painting, on paper.

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Copyright © Barry Kent MacKay
Barry describes himself as a Canadian artist/writer/naturalist.
See his website: http://barrykentmackay.ca/

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