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, December 11, 2016

Red-throated Loon

Gavia stellata

Small, slender loon
Thin bill, tilted upward slightly
Red eyes
White underparts
Breeding plumage: 
     Black bill
     Triangular red throat-patch    
     Dark grey-brown back, head and neck
     Narrow black and white stripes on the back of the neck
Non-breeding plumage: (photographed)
     Pale grey bill
     Pale grey-brown back, speckled with white
     White throat and face, extending above the eyes
     Dark grey head cap and neck
     Pale grey bill 
     Brownish-grey plumage, with no pattern on back
     Pale neck

Listen to its call.

The lone call of a loon is haunting: similar to a wolf howling but more delicate somehow. This sorrowful sound is not, however, a sign of unhappiness at being alone. It is actually used to contact or attract the attention of a mate. 

Learn more about the Red-throated Loon.

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