As a volunteer at a wild animal rehabilitation centre, I get to see a lot of birds up-close while feeding them and cleaning their cages. Unfortunately for me (but fortunately for the animals), there is a very strict 'no picture' rule. When I encountered this beauty, I asked if they could make an exception. Although they wouldn't bend the rules for me, one of the rehabilitators very kindly took these great photos for me. The bird had already been banded and was released back into the wild the next day.
Learn more about the Western Tanager.
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.