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.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Northern Shoveler

Anas clypeata

Small dabbler duck
Large, spatulate bill

    Green head
    White chest
    Rusty sides
    Black bill

     Mottled brown
     Gray and orange bill

Listen to its call.

These ducks, which are supposedly fairly common at King's Pond, were being a tad elusive for me. Despite returning day after day, I always seemed to miss them. So, at the advice of the rare bird alert transcript, I headed to Summit Park on the weekend where I found the reservoir full of them. For those of you who are getting sick of all of my duck posts (you know who you are), you have to admit that these ones are pretty funny looking. The elongated spoon-shaped bill, which gives them such an odd appearance, has comb-like projections along its edges to filter out food from the water. 

Learn more about the Northern Shoveler.

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