Bird of the Week

Photo courtesy Byron Greco

This week’s Bird of the Week, compliments of the Weminuche Audubon Society and Audubon Rockies, is the cordilleran flycatcher.
This migrant songbird inhabits the Rocky Mountain region of North America from May through September. Helping to regulate the insect population, it takes advantage of long daylight hours to reproduce and feed its young. In the fall, it returns to its wintering grounds in the foothills and mountains of Mexico.
The cordilleran flycatcher is a small, sparrow-sized bird. It has a relatively large head with a short peak toward the back of its crown. Its broad, flattened bill maximizes its chances of catching airborne insects as it hunts from a shrub or tree perch. Bristles at the base of its bill may help funnel insects into its mouth or deflect them from its eyes. Adults have greenish-brown backs with yellowish underparts. Light-colored wing bars and teardrop-shaped eye rings help distinguish them from other flycatcher species. Juveniles have buff-shaded wing bars. Their call is a short series of sharp, high-pitched peeps.
Their preferred breeding habitat is pine-oak or coniferous forest near a stream. Nest sites include tree branches and rafters inside human constructions. The female builds a cup-shaped nest of moss, grass, strips of bark, lichen and leaves, lining it with hair and feathers. After laying three to four eggs, the female incubates for 14-15 days. Both parents feed the nestlings, whose first flight is 14-18 days after hatching.
Though cordilleran flycatcher numbers showed a decline as of 2016, their population is considered to be of low concern at this time.
For information on local bird-watching events, visit www.weminucheaudubon.org and www.facebook.com/weminucheaudubon/.

This story was posted on July 7, 2019.