After supper one evening, I decided to take a leisurely backyard stroll out to the “North 40” of the yard to birdwatch. The North 40 is a very primitive wooded area in the backyard with sub-canopy trees (Mimosas, dogwoods, maples, eastern redbuds, sweetgums, weeping mulberry, and a giant magnolia) under the tall cathedral-like pines. It also seemed to be an opportune time to take the camera. The sun had moved and was lowering itself into the western sky and dappling its rays through the trees. As I was enjoying listening to the extensive repertoire of a Brown Thrasher, out of no where a beautiful bird with a lemon colored belly landed on the billowy small limbs of the Mimosa tree. The sun lit up what has become MY personal bird-of-the-year for me…The Great Crested Flycatcher!
Having never seen this bird before, I stood as still as possible and began to raise my camera. It let me take several photos of it before it flew high in the top of a pine tree. Continuing to try to photograph it, it seemed to catch some type of insect in its beak while in the air. Afterwards, landing on a pine branch. All I DID know, was I fell in love with this gorgeous bird.
Great Crested Flycatcher showing off its evening supper.
Learning about the Great Crested Flycatcher (Myiarchus crinitus)
- Size: 8.5 – 9 inches tall
- Voice: queeleep! queeleep! queeleep! or prrrrrrrreeeeet! or wheeep!
- Mostly hear it before you would see it.
- Food: large insects, some fruits or berries
- Habitat: hangs out in tall trees, doesn’t come to the ground alot
- Nest: nests in cavities, old woodpecker holes. Uses grass, weeds, fur, Interesting is it frequently lines its nest with a snakeskin. Unfortunately may use plastic or cellophane that’s been thrown away.
- Migration: summer resident here in North Carolina. Consult your field guides to see about your area.
- Will raise its crest when alert or aggravated
What “Appears” in Your Backyard?
Checking out your yard at various times of day, say in the morning, after lunch, or just before sunset may give you the opportunity to see different birds and the reasons that they traverse your yard. Also, once you see the various birds that seem to always be there and get familiar with their sounds or colors, a new bird showing up will be obvious to you. Watch what it does. Is it feeding on something? Flying into a nest? Going from tree to tree? Is it alone? Take note of where you saw it and then when you can, check at other times to see if it shows back up. If so, get to know it better. Learn its sound and look for your bird. Who knows, maybe it will be YOUR bird-of-the-year, too!
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These are the books and pocket guides I used for this post: