Saturday, November 21, 2015

Bushtit

Bushtits are chickadee-like birds that are in constant motion. They are the only member of the family Aegithalidae in the New World. These birds travel in nervous flocks, from three to 40 individuals. They can be hard birds to photograph.

They are common, year-round residents of western North and Central America. Individuals in the southern parts of their range have black ear coverts. These birds were called Black-eared Bushtits. Northern birds lack this field mark and were known as Common Bushtits. But the two populations were merged when it became evident that ear covert color is polymorphic in central populations.

One day in July they descended upon our children’s backyard in Olympia, Washington. Only then did I discover that birds have different eye colors.  Males have dark brown irises, whereas females have yellow, white, or cream-colored eyes.

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