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Doug:

I'm not questioning that you saw them. I just don't remember having seen
them at Weston Bend before. Nor do I remember their having been reported as
breeders there.

True,  it has been two or three years since I have been able to walk the
bike trail, so they may have moved in recently. But I sincerely wonder
whether the birds you saw were breeders. If not, the logical explanation for
their being there seems to be that they may have crossed the river due to
the freeze.

Another explanation may simply be that they have been expanding their range
and have moved into Weston Bend to nest or are exploring that possibility.
They used to be a tough bird to get in this area.  BIRDS OF THE KANSAS CITY
AREA (Rising, Pucci, Johnson & Dawson, 1978) calls them a "rare transient"
and says of them "Seen a few times each year in the area."   We usually had
to go all the way to Schell Osage or Marais des Cygnes to get one for the
year list if we did not make a trip even further south.

Recently, YTWA has been an easy bird to see in this area. They breed at Burr
Oak Woods, at Minor Park, at Unity Village and, of course, at Leavenworth
Bottoms. What is unclear to me is whether they have moved in recently or
have been here all along and have just  recently been discovered in the
aforementioned locations. If they are in Weston Bend to stay, I think that
is a discovery. That bike trail has had so much coverage for the last ten
years that we should have heard about it if they were breeding in three
locations there.

Whether they are breeders or visitors, it makes sense that you found them in
Sycamores. Indeed, our subspecies of YTWA has been referred to as the
"Sycamore Warbler."  Usually, however, they have needed several very large
Sycamores to be happy. One or two here and there is not enough to hold them.
There is a place at Schell Osage with five or six large Sycamores, where I
used to get my YTWA every year. A windstorm blew the top off one of the
Sycamores about three years ago, and I have not had them there since.

That you found YTWA foraging in Sycamores in Weston Bend may shoot down my
hypothesis that they have come over from Leavenworth, however. Leavenworth
is loaded with large Sycamores. If  they can find food in Sycamores at
Weston Bend, why can't they find it in the Leavenworth Sycamores?

Questions! Questions! That's what makes birding interesting to me.

Take care.

Bob Fisher
Independence, Missouri
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