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.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Willow Flycatcher

Empidonax traillii

Small flycatcher
Broad bill
Grey upper mandible / pale lower mandible
Minimal (or absent) eye-ring
Olive-brown upperparts
White throat
Whitish underparts
Dark wings with two white wing bars
Immature: (photographed)
     Yellower underparts
     Buff coloured wing bars

Listen to its call.

My first year birding, I took a picture of a Empidonax flycatcher that I wasn't able to identify. Although I felt discouraged by this at the time, I have now learned that their identification is among the most difficult for birders. It is so difficult, in fact, that the bander of this bird had to use a mathematical formula to confirm its identity. This involved comparison of the ratios of and differences between measurements of the bird’s body parts (bill length and width, wing length, tail length, etc). 

Learn more about the Willow Flycatcher

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