Date: 3/10/17 7:53 am
From: David Simpson <simpsondavid...>
Subject: Re: [BRDBRAIN] Habitat Segregation in Yellow/Western Palm Warblers?
Hi all,

My qualitative observations about distribution of the two "species" of Palm Warblers in Florida is that as you go west and north, you tend to encounter more "Yellow" Palm Warblers.  Habitat also seems to be a factor, although my impression is that the difference has more to do with wooded versus open environments rather wet/dry.  In pine lands, I often find "Yellow" Palm Warblers mixed with Pine Warblers during the winter.  "Western" will also mix with Pines in this situation, more so as you go southeast.  Neither population is known to inhabit dense woodlands.

David Simpson
Fellsmere, FL

On Mar 10, 2017, at 10:33 AM, William Haddad <photobill9...> wrote:

Very interesting topic.  Adding to what has been stated, I have seen many fewer Yellows (we use to call them Easterns) here in Brevard County than when I resided in Polk County.  Don’t know that I have seen one this year.  May be the habitat I am birding – only four or five places, but a mixture of dry and wet.
 
Bill Haddad
Palm Bay, Fl.
 
Sent from Mail for Windows 10
 
From: Scott Simmons
Sent: Friday, March 10, 2017 10:15 AM
To: <BRDBRAIN...>
Subject: Re: [BRDBRAIN] Habitat Segregation in Yellow/Western Palm Warblers?
 
Interesting observations. For me (I spend most of my time in Seminole, Orange and Brevard Counties), Westerns always far outnumber yellows, perhaps by 20:1 or more. But when I see "yellows," they are almost always in the drier areas of wherever I'm birding. I don't see them in marshy/wet areas very often.  It would be interesting to know if the Yellows you've seen were also in drier habitats.
 
My observations are very anecdotal, so I don't know how much you'd want to make of it.
 
Happy birding,

Scott Simmons
Winter Park, FL
 
On Thu, Mar 9, 2017 at 9:40 PM, Daniel Estabrooks <000000078b08fc2d-dmarc-request...> wrote:
Hey BirdBrainers,
 
I've decided to focus this year on birding some of the large wilderness areas around Polk County that get very little birding attention. It gets a bit dull at times. (Some of these places are lightly birded for a reason. LOL) But I think I've discovered something interesting about Palm Warblers in the process...
 
(To clarify, i'm going to refer to the two Palm Warbler subspecies groups as "Western" and "Yellow" because that's what eBird calls them.)
 
I went back over my eBird reports from the last few years and discovered that, with very few exceptions, all the Palm Warblers I've seen in urban settings or in small nature preserves close to significant human development (Circle B Bar Reserve, Saddle Creek Park, etc.) have been Westerns. On the other hand, nearly all the Palms I've seen in large protected areas farther from human influence (Green Swamp Wilderness Preserve, Hilochee WMA, etc.) have been Yellows. And I often have to hike 2 miles or more into a particular preserve before I start seeing them.
 
So that makes me wonder... Are Western Palms more adapted to human disturbance than Yellows? Are Yellows better competitors and thus able to take over areas of more pristine habitat? And if so, could human development (or lack thereof) be a selection pressure that keeps the two taxa separate? I know the two types interbreed where their breeding ranges meet, but if disruptive selection is occurring such that the two extremes (what we know as Yellow & Western) are favored in different areas but intergrades are favored nowhere, then they could be diverging into separate species.
 
Anyway, I have literally no knowledge of what research has been done on Palm Warbler taxonomy/evolution, so for all I know, these questions could have all been answered and I just don't know it. I just thought it was interesting and wondered if anyone else has seen such a phenomenon or knows of any relevant research.
 
Daniel Estabrooks
Winter Haven, FL
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