Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Flycatchers in My Soup

Colorful warblers bounce from tree limb to tree limb.  Raptors soar and fly with amazing precision.  Waterfowl zip across the surface of the water and dive and dabble for their food.  Flycatchers just sit there and confuse me.  Peter Dunne has been often quoted as saying that the best tool to identifying flycatchers (in particular empids) is humility.  They are a difficult group to figure out but they can provide for joy and a better understanding of the natural world.

Flycatchers lead to better understanding of habitat.  In fact, one should always consider habitat when thinking about flycatchers, especially empids.  If you aren't examining the habitat, you are missing a key fact about how to identify all flycatchers.  Both eastern and western North America have an flycatcher species that look similar and only habitat and call can distinguish them.

Flycatchers are also helpful to helping birders learn how to distinguish calls.  In fact, calls are one of the most reliable ways to distinguish between Willow and Alder Flycatchers.  Don't be daunted by the task.  Learning to really listen to songs is a valuable key and tool for any birder.  Flycatcher provide a excellent chance to learn how to better id birds and become a better birder.

Thank the flycatchers and especially the empids for the challenge they provide that help us become better birders and a better appreciation of the natural world.  Until the next time, get outside and go birding!

Backlight Great Creasted Flycatcher

Can you find the Eastern Kingbird nest?

Olive Sided Flycatcher

Willow Flycatcher
Wild Bird Wednesday - Link Here


  1. Great series on the Flycatchers.. I am better with the flycatcher sounds than iding the bird.. Beautiful photos.

  2. Nice catches of a bird that doesn't sit still usually. Really great to get several kinds of them. And I did see the kingbird nest.