Column: Shuswap birder struggles with question, ‘what’s your favourite bird?’

I’m generally requested if I have a favourite chook.

Most not long ago, 3 journey writers – two from Australia and a single from Toronto – questioned me that problem as we strolled down the wharf hunting for birds. They were being shocked when I informed them I did not have a one first option, but numerous favourites.

Not inclined to supplying up on a dilemma easily, they insisted I ought to have a favorite between the favourites.

I explained I like birds in several unique approaches and that I do have foremost contenders from each and every of these details-of-see.

For instance, for shear musical capability, my ear finds a singing hermit thrush higher up in the mountains in spring to have an unapparelled purity of voice.

Considerably down below, the Pacific wrens in the darkish glades of Coyote Park are small sopranos that pour hundreds of delicate notes into the sky each individual time they sing.

Sandhill cranes, with their raucous yodels that have for kilometres, give us samples of what the Jurassic could have sounded like during the golden age of dinosaurs. I just can’t select one particular of these singers above the other, it’s a a few-way tie.

For flying potential, I’d give 1 of my “most favourite” votes to exhibiting male Rufous hummingbirds.

When you can fly forward, backward, do aerial determine-eights, blast skyward like a rocket and dive like a daredevil, you are really hard to conquer in the hen mild-aviation classification!

On the lookout at medium-sized flyers, small-eared owls need to have a mention. They look to do moth-like patrols in excess of shorelines and marshes most frequently at night time, but also on cloudy times.

Because we see them in flight much more than most types of owls, they get many notches up of favorite-position just by allowing us enjoy.

But alas, practically nothing fairly compares with the sudden eruption of courtship exhibit by a pair of our really have Western grebes.

Their choreographed head flicks, neck twists and splashy-dancing, followed by a race across the lake is a grand performance.

This undoubtedly areas them on the favourites brief-record for several people and in my top rated group.

The upper ranks of my massive-hen favourites is a crowded area.

Do I pick the substantial American white pelicans with their specific aerial formations and fantastic potential to glide just above the waves?

Or possibly I should opt for the osprey with its exhilarating headlong dives toward the drinking water that conclusion in a break up-next switching to a talon’s-initial seize of an unsuspecting fish?

In the most stunning birds in flight group (a a lot-contested grouping), I’m in awe of the glorious complexity and form of feathers embracing the air and the shock of colors and styles discovered by the unfold of a wing in action.

Undoubtedly, male mallards caught in the air by way of the magic of substantial-pace pictures are a major applicant for my shorter-list of traveling favourites.

And that provides us back to my vacation writers who however did not feel I lacked a single favorite. They all experienced a favorite, so why couldn’t I?

Partly relenting, I confessed that I applied to have a favourite bird when I was a teenager discovering the entire world by canoe anytime I could. And it was (and possibly even now is) the typical loon, a fowl that usually fishes on Shuswap Lake and breeds primarily on smaller bodies of water in the course of the summer time. As I described, loons make coronary heart-stirring wails and exuberant yodels on their breeding grounds. Loons have usually ignited my soul as an embodiment of wildness.

“You necessarily mean the hen which is on your 1-greenback coin?” one particular of writers asked. “Yes, and if we established up my recognizing scope proper now here at the conclude of the wharf, we could see just one on the lake,” I replied. And then I made a decision to turn the tables and asked them “What is your favorite chook?” They all experienced 1. Do you?


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