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, December 31, 2011

My Year in Review

From now on when someone says something is 'for the birds', I will no longer think of it as trivial or meaningless. Birds are fascinating; they are attractive, distinctive and frequently amusing.

After 365 days of birding and thousands of photographs, I have identified 145 different kinds of birds. It has been a tremendously enjoyable year, exploring new places in and around Victoria while in pursuit of new birds. In addition to learning bird identification, I have learned to appreciate their beauty. I've started to pay more attention to my surroundings and to take pleasure in nature. I've ventured out in the snow, rain, wind, freezing cold and sweltering heat. I've met many new people as a result of my new passion and joined the birding community on a number of outings. Last but not least, my blog has received 9400 views to date, a statistic with which I am both proud and amazed. 

This is one New Year's resolution that I not only kept but enjoyed doing so. Birding is worthwhile in so many ways. In addition to being educational and thought-provoking, it is a great way to relax and get exercise at the same time. I will definitely continue birding and hopefully I will have the occasional new bird to add to my blog in 2012.

P.S.  I would like to thank my husband for accompanying me on many of my outings and proofreading my blog regularly. 

Friday, December 23, 2011

Northern Harrier

Circus cyaneus

Medium-sized hawk
Long, slender wings
Long, banded tail
White rump
Owl-like face
Male: (above)
    Gray above and on upper chest
    White below
    Black wingtips
Female: (below)
    Brown above
    Streaked below
    White facial disc

Listen to its call.

In addition to the owls, a number of these birds were present along the path around Boundary Bay last weekend. When I first spotted the male flying quite low and holding its wings in a V position, I immediately raised my camera to take a picture. However, despite my first impression, I let myself be swayed by my companion's claim that it was just a gull. Of course, we realized his mistake when it was abreast of us, by which time I could only get a quick, rather blurry, shot. I guess this is one time that I should have shot first and asked questions later. 

 Learn more about the Northern Harrier.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Short-eared Owl

Asio flammeus

Medium-sized owl
Large, round head
Prominent facial disc
Yellow eyes
Black around eyes
Streaked upperparts
Light below with streaked upper breast
Short ear tufts, seldom visible
Long wings with dark patch near wrist
Barred tail

Listen to its call.

A number of these owls were hanging around Boundary Bay on the weekend, on the opposite side of the path from the Snowy Owls. Unlike yesterday's bird, this one was quite active, frequently leaving its perch to swoop down on unsuspecting prey.
I always thought the expression 'to have eyes in the back of your head' was figurative but owls literally are able to see what is going on behind them. How cool is that?

 Learn more about the Short-eared Owl.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Snowy Owl

Bubo scandiacus

Large, bulky owl
Round head
Yellow eyes
Mostly white
Varying amounts of dark mottling
Adult male may be pure white

Listen to its call.

On a visit to Vancouver this weekend, we stopped at Boundary Bay in Delta to see the Snowy Owls that have been reported in the area. It seems that a lot of other people had the same idea. It was quite a busy place. Thankfully, almost everyone respected the owls' space and kept their distance. 

This bird was perched on a log not too far from the pathway, swiveling its head around in classic owl fashion.

Learn more about the Snowy Owl.