Tuesday, 10 February 2015

B.O.T.D. Olive-Sided Flycatcher

B.O.T.D. Feb 10, 2015

Olive-Sided Flycatcher (Contopus cooperi)

High atop a weathered pine tree, standing like some proud burgomaster of the northern woodlands, the olive-sided flycatcher poses grandly. He's a portly fellow, whose olive-grey vest is stretches tight across an ample middle, while the seams of an embarrassingly shady grey coat seem to haves split at the sides. Large white patches peek through the breaches along both flanks. But the flycatcher seems oblivious to anything that might undermine his appearance. Shoulders back, head erect, he throws his order to the world: Quick! three beers ... Quick! three beers...

This burly bird seems to loath to leave his favourite perch for long. After making a brief sortie in pursuit of a passing honeybee or dragonfly, or after aggressively driving an intruder from his territory, he habitually returns to the same spot. Even in migration, olive-sided flycatchers show a single-minded devotion to their hunting perches, a trait that is useful for separating flycatchers view from a distance to kingbirds or the slimmer, trimmer pewees.

With such regular habits and commanding vocalization, the olive-sided flycatcher is easy to locate in northern forest bogs at high elevations in the burned-over areas it prefers. Observers who hope to see the bird in migration should note that it arrives later in spring and departs earlier in the fall than most other migrants. But what else could be expected from such an important fellow?

P.S. Sorry that I missed yesterday, my computer conked out on me. Sorry again.