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.

Friday, October 7, 2011

American Bittern

Botaurus lentiginosus

  • Medium, heron-like wading bird
  • Stout body and neck
  • Relatively short legs
  • Dark brown upperparts
  • Underparts streaked brown and white
  • Black slashes on sides of neck
  • Yellow bill with dark upper ridge 

Listen to its call.

I'm very excited about today's bird. For those of you who have been following my blog from the beginning, you may remember my disappointment last January at not being able to locate this bird in the reed beds at Swan Lake.  On a number of occasions, I heard its distinctive call but it always managed to keep itself well hidden. Today, thankfully, it wasn't able to blend in quite as well with its surroundings, not that it didn't try.  As soon as it caught sight of me, it ducked its head into the reeds.

Learn more about the American Bittern.

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