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, May 7, 2011

Northern Rough-winged Swallow

Stelgidopteryx serripennis

Small, stocky swallow
Dull brown head and upperparts
Pale brown throat and breast
White belly
Long, pointed wings
White undertail coverts
Small bill

Listen to its call.

At the end of Gladiola Avenue, there is a short path that takes you to the south end of Panama Flats. Three of these birds were perched in a tree along that path when I visited the area earlier this week. I originally thought they were young Tree Swallows but later discovered that it is too early in the year to be seeing juvenile swallows. Although there were a lot of swallows flying over the flooded land, I didn't see any more of this type.

Named for the tiny hooks found on the outer feathers of the wings, the Greek/Latin name of this bird literally means 'scraper wing saw feather'. It reminds me of something out of one of Dave Pilkey's books (for those of you who have children of the Captain Underpants' era).

Learn more about the Northern Rough-winged Swallow.

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