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.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Northern Pintail

Anas acuta

Medium-sized dabbling duck
Long, thin neck
Pointed tail
Bronze-green speculum with black band
     Brown head
     White neck and underparts
     White stripe up neck
     Gray sides and back
     Long, black tail
     Black rear end bordered by yellowish-tan
     Black bill with bluish-gray stripes
     Gray legs
     Mottled buff-brown
     White belly
     Gray bill
     Bluish-gray legs

Listen to its call.

    Esquimalt Lagoon was teeming with these ducks yesterday. The number of males appeared to significantly outweigh the females, or maybe they were just more conspicuous. As usual, the males were far more striking than the females who looked much like all the other females around them. Ever wondered why this is? The females are plainer to aid with camouflage when roosting or feeding the young. I guess that makes sense but it would be nice to see a few more distinguishing characteristics. It would make identification so much easier.

    Learn more about the Northern Pintail.

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