Birds of the Western Slope Dec. 28, 2016

By Evelyn Horn


Birds of the Western Slope Dec. 28, 2016 | Birds of the Western Slope, Evelyn Horn,

Photo by Bill Schmoker Flycatcher photographed in Hinsdale County in the fall.

New Bird
(Flycatcher)

The little birds are very busy in our ornamental pear tree. There was plenty of blossom last spring and our little tree was the prettiest we've ever seen it. But then was then, and now is now and the fruit that was left has now frozen to the other branches! We've watched the various "critters" trying to get some, but no luck. Truly the fruit seems to be permanently attached! We've watched the house finches and our wintering juncos peck at the fruit, but to not avail. It seems to be stuck! We've been watching the parade of little 5-inch-long birds. They are fun to watch.

But wait! Here's a new bird! It flies in from the east. It looks about the same size. So, another 5-inch-long bird. But this one has a dark back with definite wing bars and the breast looks yellowish. He's cute! And there is a hint of a crest. Narrow bill so an insect-eater probably. Now he perches on a barren branch, then moves to a lower limb. The tail is rather long. I do wish he would turn around for me. Then I could get a better view of the breast.

And away he goes toward the juniper trees. Maybe he can find something to eat there (but I doubt it, only juniper berries available). But he is a resourceful little fellow!

Time to check the Sibley field guide. I find three possibilities: maybe a Courdilleran, a Pacific-slope, or maybe a Yellow-bellied. Yellow-bellied is an easterner. The Pacific-slope bird is a possibility, but I think the Courdilleran is the best choice since it ranges through our area. Check further ... it might be Hammonds (but the adult looks too grayish) or a Buff-breasted (range is too far south). So back to the Courdilleran.

Frustration! I can't find the bird in my references! I even took out the "u" and that didn't help. "Cordilleran" was not to be found either. Well, just another mystery and I'd bet that it refers to a person.

But here's my bird again.

He is delightful! So small and so active! I do wish that he would stay a while, but there he goes again! I know I've seen him at the Grand Mesa Visitor Center a few summers back. Stay warm and stay well.