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.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Marbled Murrelet

Brachyramphus marmoratus

Small, chunky auk
Short, pointed, black bill
Short tail
Winter plumage:
   Black upperparts
   White underparts, throat, chin and collar
   White stripe over wings
Breeding plumage:
    Dark mottled brown all over

Listen to its call.

I saw a pair of these murrelets yesterday off the breakwater at Ogden Point.  They only stopped by for a minute before diving underwater, presumably in search of food.

Learn more about the Marbled Murrelet.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Black-legged Kittiwake

Rissa tridactyla

Medium-sized gull
Black legs
White head and underparts
Slate-gray back and wings
Black wingtips
Small, yellow bill (adult)
    Gray patches on nape and crown
    Dark spot at the ear
    Black spot above rear half of eye
    Black collar and terminal band on tail
    Black "W" bar across wings
    Black bill

Listen to its call.

The Black-legged Kittiwake is usually far out at sea. However, a number of them have been seen around the Victoria shoreline lately, probably as a result of the storm we had a few weeks back.  I photographed this bird off the Ogden Point Breakwater this morning. Apparently, there had been two immature birds and an adult around a bit earlier, but I only saw the one.

Learn more about the Black-legged Kittiwake.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Northern Flicker - yellow-shafted

 Colaptes auratus auratus

Large woodpecker
Brown back with narrow black bars
Black chest patch
Black spots on belly
White rump
Yellow under wings and tail
Grey head
Brown face and throat
Red crescent on nape of neck
Black moustache (male)

Listen to its call.

Yellow-shafted Flickers reside in eastern North American while the Red-shafted ones reside in the west. So, you can imagine my surprise to see one with a yellow tail at my backyard feeder this morning.  In the picture below, you can just see the red crescent on the nape of her neck. Note the absence of a moustache.

Learn more about the Northern Flicker.