Sunday, October 27, 2013

Townsend's Solitaire

Townsend's Solitaire - Myadestes townsendi

Mostly I see the Townsend's Solitaire in the mountains perched on the top of a tree. However, this Townsend's Solitaire was enjoying the Mountain Ash berries in my backyard. This is my first sighting in the seven years I've lived in Discovery.
I suspect this bird was en route South to warmer climes when the bright red Mountain Ash berries came into view. Now that the leaves have fallen, the berries are likely a vivid contrast to the mostly brown ground-scape.
Some Townsend's Solitaires winter in Alberta, so there is a possibility the bird might stay in the neighborhood.
Ground-sallying is a common feeding behavior. The Townsend's Solitaire alights from a perch and snatches an insect on the ground. These birds also catch insects in the air in "flycatcher fashion."
Solitaires sing throughout the year with two annual peaks. The first from April to May is in the breeding territory and the second from September to November is in the wintering territory. I will be listening for the winter song in the next few days. 


The Atlas of Breeding Birds of Alberta. Federation of Alberta Naturalists. 2007.

Baicich PJ, Harrison CJO. Nests, Eggs, and Nestlings of North American Birds. Princeton UP. 2005.

Beadle D, Rising J. Sparrows of the United States and Canada. Princeton UP. 2003.

Fisher C, Acorn J. Birds of Alberta. Lone Pine Publishing. Edmonton. 1998.

Howell, Steve N. G. Molt in North American Birds. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. New York. 2010. 

Sibley David A. The Sibley Guide to Bird Life and Behavior. Alfred A Knopf, Inc. New York. 2001.

Tudge Colin. The Bird. Crown Publishers. New York. 2008.