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, May 18, 2011

Blacked-headed Grosbeak

Pheucticus melanocephalus

Medium-sized, stocky songbird
Large, cone-shaped bill.

  • Deep orange breast, collar and underparts
  • Black head and upperparts
  • Black and white wings 
  • White undertail coverts
  • White spots in black tail
Female: (not photographed)
  • Black and white crown stripes
  • Buffy underparts with streaking at the sides
  • Dark gray upperparts
Listen to its call.

I heard this bird long before I saw it perched at the top of a tree near Blenkinsop Lake last evening. The weather was ideal for a stroll after dinner and the vocal performance given by this bird was enjoyed by many along the boardwalk.

Learn more about the Black-headed Grosbeak.

Additional pictures:

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