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, 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.

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