If you like Great Crested Flycatcher, you’ll enjoy our June 2016 issue. Available on newsstands May 3, it contains a fascinating article about Great Crested Flycatcher by the well-known scientist and author Bernd Heinrich. Our article is an excerpt from his new book One Wild Bird at a Time: Portraits of Individual Lives (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, April 12, 2016).
Great Crested Flycatcher is the only cavity-nesting flycatcher in eastern North America. Although it prefers abandoned woodpecker holes and naturally occurring hollows in live trees, it will use nest boxes, hollow posts, even buckets, pipes, cans, and boxes.
Look for Great Cresteds this summer in all states east of the Great Plains and in southern Canada from Alberta to Nova Scotia. The species regularly spends the winter in southern Florida, but its main winter range is in southern Mexico, Central America, and northwestern South America. First migrants reach Texas, Louisiana, and central Florida by mid- to late March; Missouri, Kentucky, and Virginia by mid-April; and Canada by mid- to late May. The flycatchers head back south in late August and September.
The photo above was taken by Daniel Cadieux.
The lovely portrait above was taken near French Lake in Hoyt, near Fredericton, New Brunswick, by mervjcormier. It shows two of the flycatcher’s key field marks: its steel-gray breast and bright lemon-yellow belly and undertail coverts. Take a close look at the bill: On Great Crested Flycatcher, the base of lower mandible is always pale.
This back view, taken by S. Hunter Spenceley (hunter58) in his backyard in Spring Hill, north of Tampa, Florida, allows us to see a pair of additional important field marks: rufous-orange highlights in the primaries and tail feathers, and broad white edges to the tertials, the small feathers on top of the stack of secondaries. Spenceley tells us he used a Nikon D5100 camera, Sigma 150-500 lens (1/350 sec, F8, ISO 400 at 300mm
Ash-throated Flycatcher, one of Great Crested’s western relatives, breeds in the Southwest, from California to central Texas, and in Mexico. Ash-throated is smaller than Great Crested Flycatcher and paler. The bird above was a vagrant; it was photographed by gman79 in southwestern Georgia in November 2014. Its throat and breast are whitish, and it’s very pale yellow below, not lemony. The photographer used a Canon 50D camera and a 100-400mm L lens.
Our June 2016 issue, containing Bernd Heinrich’s essay about Great Crested Flycatcher, will go on sale at Barnes & Noble and other newsstands on May 3.
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