Yesterday, I confessed. I love blue birds, particularly Western and Mountain Bluebirds. As these maps show, these species are at home in the west. The Eastern Bluebird, which resembles its Western cousin (or is it the other way around? ) occupies a different and larger section of the continent.
But there are other birds that pass as blue, too, and I’m going to pay homage to them in this post.
Whether it’s really blue or not, the American Dipper, which often courts low light, sometimes appears to be almost blue. The AMDI is a “west of the Rockies” bird.
While two of the jays that breed in Canada, (not Canada Jays, however) exhibit wonderful shades of blue. Only one is typically found in the west, the Stellar’s Jay. In BC, we enjoy two main subspecies, coastal and interior. The three photos below show interior birds with their distinctive white eyebrows.
Click images below to enlarge.
Two other blue jays sometimes take advantage of special rates on Jayvago to make tourist excursions to our fine province. The Blue Jay, widespread in eastern North America, occasionally shows up even in the Okanagan as one did last winter and another this fall. When Nanae and I travelled to Atlantic Canada this autumn, we saw tons of Blue Jays in many places; what a thrill!
The California Scrub Jay prefers to spend its time south of the border, but occasionally sneaks into BC’s Lower Mainland, indeed into New Westminster where we used to live. (While I’ve seen one there, I don’t have any photos.)
Another bird that has widespread distribution on this continent, and which we saw frequently on our trip is the Belted Kingfisher, a species guaranteed to chase away your blues if you have a chance to encounter one/have them…. We’re well blessed with BEKIs here in Kelowna, and this summer and fall watched a pair enjoying fresh goldfish sushi from Belmont Pond.
Love this description of the BEKI from Cornell’s Lab of Ornithology:
“With its top-heavy physique, energetic flight, and piercing rattle, the Belted Kingfisher seems to have an air of self-importance as it patrols up and down rivers and shorelines. It nests in burrows along earthen banks and feeds almost entirely on aquatic prey, diving to catch fish and crayfish with its heavy, straight bill. These ragged-crested birds are a powdery blue-gray; males have one blue band across the white breast, while females have a blue and a chestnut band.”
Where you find BEKIs, GBHEs are likely not too far away. We have many Great Blues in the area, each with his/her own special personality. Maybe I’ll cover that notion in a later post. For now, here are some captures of this largest avian in the neighbourhood….
Click to open enlarged images in a new tab.
Finally, a blue of a different hue: the Tree Swallow…. Click to—oh, you know!!