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.



Thursday, August 1, 2013

Cassin's Vireo


Vireo cassinii

Appearance:
Small songbird
White "spectacles"
Two white wingbars
Gray upper parts
White under parts
Yellow sides

Listen to its song.




Learn more about the Cassin's Vireo.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Brambling

Fringilla montifringilla

Appearance:
Medium-sized finch
Orange shoulder patches, throat and breast
Brown-black back and head
White belly and rump
Black wings with white and orange bars
Yellow bill
Breeding male:
   Jet black head
   Black bill

Listen to its call.

This native of  northern Europe/Asia has been frequenting a backyard feeder off Lansdowne Road for a number of weeks now. As Bramblings are rare visitors to the island, birders hoping to catch a glimpse of one have been hanging out on the corner of Cochrane Street and Dean Avenue daily. I've seen him two or three times myself.  Unfortunately, I've never been able to get a good shot of him. My camera that I was so pleased with initially just isn't up to the challenge of zooming in from the respectful distance viewers need to maintain. ....sigh

Learn more about the Brambling.

Redhead

Aythya americana

Appearance:
Medium-sized diving duck
Rounded head
Blue-gray bill with pale band near black tip
Male:
    Red head and neck
    Gray back
    Black breast and rear end
    Yellow eye
Female and juveniles
    Brown head and body 
    Darker bill than male

Listen to its call.

I spotted this male Redhead while walking around Elk Lake this week. It was swimming along with an assortment of other ducks. Initially, I thought it was a Canvasback but its bill was shorter and the color was wrong. Its head was also a different shape, much rounder than the elongated head of the Canvasback.

I read somewhere that the male Redhead's call is a cat-like meow and a deep purr.  Hmmm....that must be a bit frightening for the other ducks.

Learn more about the Redhead.