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, September 30, 2016

White-throated Sparrow

Zonotrichia albicollis

Medium-sized sparrow
Rusty-brown striped upperparts
Two white wing-bars 
Grayish underparts
White throat 
Black and white striped crown
Black eye line
Yellow lores (spot between eye and bill)

Listen to its call.

The White-throated Sparrow comes in two forms: white-crowned and tan-crowned. On tan-striped birds, the white and black crown is replaced with tan and brown. In addition, the white throat is split in three sections by dark streaks descending from the bill.

Here's an interesting fact that I came across in my reading -- males of both morphs prefer females with white stripes and both morphs of females prefer tan-striped males.

Learn more about the White-throated Sparrow

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Great Horned Owl

Bubo virginianus

Large, powerful owl
Bold, yellow eyes
Long, ear-like tufts
Prominent facial disk
Mottled brown plumage with white and black barring
White throat
Horizontal bars on belly

Listen to its call.

Although I often hear a pair of these outside my bedroom window at night, this is the first time I've seen one in the daylight.  He/she was napping in a tree by the Swan Lake parking lot this morning. Despite its size, the owl managed to blend in with his surroundings remarkably well.

Learn more about the Great Horned Owl.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Swainson's Thrush

Catharus ustulatus

Medium-sized thrush
Brown upperparts
Brown spots on buff throat and breast
White belly
Dark mustache stripe
Pale buff eye-ring

Listen to its call.

Although similar in appearance, the Swainson's Thrush and Hermit Thrush can be differentiated by their eye-ring, as well as their plumage. The Swainson’s Thrush has uniformly brown upperparts, whereas the rufous tail of the Hermit Thrush contrasts with its brown back.

Learn more about the Swainson's Thrush.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Townsend's Warbler

Setophaga townsendi

Small songbird
Olive upperparts
Grey wings with two white wing bars
Yellow breast with streaks on flanks
Yellow face with dark cheek patch and stripe across eye
Yellow crescent below eye
Thin, pointed bill
White outer tail feathers
Male: (photographed)
     Black cap, cheek patch, eye stripe and throat
Female & Immature:
     Olive cap, cheek patch and eye stripe
     Yellow throat
Listen to its call.

This handsome bird stopped into the Pedder Bay banding station on the weekend, along with a variety of other warblers. Migration is in full swing as these birds head south to winter in Mexico and Central America.

Learn more about the Townsend's Warbler