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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Great Backyard Bird Count!

The Great Backyard Bird Count, an annual winter event, takes place this year from February 17 - 20. Let's make sure Gabriola birds are well-represented.

For information about the count go to

Here are a few photos (with identification comments) of a few of the Gabriola birds you might see during the count:

Spotted Towhee

It may be hard to tell from this picture,
but these large sparrows have remarkable red eyes.
Pair of purple finches

Note the raspberry wash down the backs of the purple finches

House Finch

Compared to the raspberry colouring of the male "Purple" Finch, the male House Finch usually has a true red head and breast. It's colouring can, however, be affected by his diet and can range from a yellowish-orange to this vibrant red.
In any case, his elaborate song doesn't change much! 

Red-headed sapsucker

The Red-breasted Sapsucker is the only local woodpecker with a completely red head, chin and upper breast. Even if you can't see him, you'll know he's nearby
by his distinctive irregular drumming.  

Female Northern Flicker with Steller's Jay looking on

Note the impatient Steller's Jay in the background waiting for this female Northern Flicker to finish her breakfast. The lack of a red "moustache" reveals her gender. 

Male Northern Flicker

Here's the male - note the red moustache.

Varied Thrush

The lovely Varied Thrush was once a finalist for the BC Provincial Bird,
but lost to the Steller's Jay. If a bird's song had been the deciding factor,
surely this thrush would have won, hands down.   

And last but surely not least, the unique California Quail, common now on Gabriola. 
That's all for now. Enjoy the count!


moonglobe said...

Help me identify a bird. I have been trying to identify a fairly new bird to my feeder. At a glance it looks like a nuthatch but differs in that the throat,breast and back are bright yellow. It has dark grey wings with a splash of white. It has an eye line and eye stripes. So far I have not been able to photograph it. It is not a goldfinch or kinglet for sure. I think it must be some type of Warbler? Are you aware of any Warblers on the Island? Thanks!

Sharon said...

Hi moonglobe. Sounds like it could be a MacGillvary's warbler. They are on the island now; they come up here to breed. After you check out photos on-line, I'll be interested in hearing if this ID fits or not. Sharon