Yellow-rumped Warbler with a damaged leg

Walking down the main trail of Wright Park in Middlebury this morning I heard bird making a light “tep” call from out of sight ahead of me. I tried a little light “pshing” to see if I could get the bird to come into view, and immediately a Yellow-rumped Warbler came shooting out of the shrub to land in the top of a tree next to me. Yellow-rumped Warblers are considered a “half-hardy” species, better able to cope with colder temperatures than many of their Warbler cousins that have already migrated to Central or South America by now, so it is not unusual to find one here in a mild winter such as this one. What was particularly interesting about this bird though was that it has a severe injury to its left leg. It seemed to have been broken close to the joint between its Tibia and Tarsus (what would be called an ankle on a human) leaving it cocked to the side and immobile. But this bird seemed to show no ill effects from its disability, deftly hopping from perch to perch allowing me to snap a few quick pictures of it before it disappeared back into the brush.

– Ron Payne