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In On the Move, our regular column about migration, we present pairs of distribution maps from eBird that you can use to compare where interesting birds are at different times of year. We featured Willow Flycatcher, pictured above, in our June 2018 issue.
The maps above show where eBird users reported the olive-brown Willow Flycatcher over the last decade in June and January. The bird, one of the visually perplexing Empidonax flycatchers, is frequently identified by its song, a burry fitz-bew. During the breeding season, it is a relatively common inhabitant of moist, shrubby habitats and riparian areas across much of the continental United States and southern Canada. (A subspecies endemic to the desert southwest, Southwestern Willow Flycatcher, is patchily distributed, declining, and federally endangered.) By January, the species has entirely vacated its breeding range, occurring in central and southern Mexico, Central America, and northern South America. Listen for the flycatcher’s distinctive song and watch for its unique foraging behavior: repeated short flights in search of insect prey.
eBird is the real-time online checklist operated by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Audubon. “On the Move” is written by eBird’s Garrett MacDonald, Chris Wood, Marshall Iliff, and Brian Sullivan. Submit your bird sightings at ebird.org.
A version of this article appeared in “Birding Briefs” in the June 2018 issue of BirdWatching.
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