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.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Rhinoceros Auklet

Cerorhinca monocerata

Medium-sized seabird
Black upper parts
Dark gray underparts
White belly
Eyes have long white plumes above and below
Yellow-orange bill with whitish horn
Legs and feet are gray

Listen to its call.

After my shortage of bird sightings recently, I was very excited to see this trio off Ten Mile Point this morning. Unfortunately, they spent a very short time close to shore, preferring to be further out at sea. I guess that's why they are called seabirds.

These birds, which also go by the name Unicorn Puffin, have a bill that sheds its sheath every year. The horn-like projection on the bill that gives these birds their unique appearance only develops when they are ready to breed.

Learn more about the Rhinoceros Auklet.

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