There are a number of reasons why I decided to take on this project. My first reason has to do with my interest in birds. This began shortly after moving to Victoria ten and a half years ago. With our house backing onto a wooded area, the chirping of birds is a familiar sound all year long. I often glance out the window to see birds of all forms in the yard throughout the day. Frequently I will pull out the Birds of Victoria or Birds of North America reference guides we have on hand. Unfortunately, the drawings in the first aren’t overly helpful for identification and the number of entries in the second is overwhelming. My second reason has to do with a photography course I took a number of years ago. Since that time I have been trying to think of a practical reason to buy a new camera. Taking pictures of birds requires a powerful zoom lens which my previous point-and-shoot camera could not accommodate. Perfect! My final reason was my desire to take on a new project to welcome in 2011. Hence, bird of the day was born.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Black Oystercatcher

Haematopus bachmani

Large shore bird
Black plumage
Long, heavy red bill
Yellow eyes
Red eye-ring
Long pink legs and feet

Listen to its call.

I had no trouble recognizing this fellow at Clover Point this afternoon. Its distinctive bill made identification easy. At low tide, two of these birds were foraging for molluscs in the intertidal zone. From what I could see, it looked like quite a spread. Driving home afterwards, I noticed two more by Oak Bay Marina. It came as no surprise, therefore, to read that these birds are usually seen in pairs.

Interesting fact for the day:  Despite its name, this bird's diet consists mainly of limpets and mussels. 

Learn more about the Black Oystercatcher.

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