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West Coast Living in Ahousaht, BC

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A Celebration of Spring Birdwatching!

Hummingbirds are such a wonderful sign of Spring! In Ahousaht, Anna’s hummingbirds stick around year round. We have had anywhere between 1 and 3 birds at our feeder each day through the colder months. Just this week, the rufous hummingbirds have made an appearance and there are two individuals competing for the feeder. I’ve found that the rufous hummingbirds are flightier and more timid than the Anna’s who have been around all year. Perhaps with time the Rufous’ will get used to me too!

I also had a gorgeous group of purple finches show up at my feeder this week! Rather than a purple colour, they appear as if they have been “dipped in Raspberry juice”. A rather apt description I think! They prefer moving around the middle of trees, closer to the trunk, so it took a lot of patience to get this shot on an exterior branch of the cedar tree while this individual vied for position at the feeder.

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Ahousaht is always a phenomenal place for birdwatching. But I don’t think you would have much success if you only visited for a day. Ahousaht has it’s own pace. Indian time, people joke. The birds have their own time too… I find I have my best sightings when I’m not looking – Usually while I’m having coffee in the living room. My hummingbird feeders are visible through one window and the birdfeeders and large Spruce and Cedar trees out the other window. There’s a small Spruce tree straight out the front door that the hummingbirds like to sit in between their turns at the feeder. And of course, there’s our little Baltimore Oriole that came right up to the porch railing throughout the winter!

My advice for birdwatchers coming to Ahousaht, Stay a while! Enjoy the community and what is has to offer. Get to know the locals. Walk the trail and beaches. Sit for a while on the docks or pick out your favourite driftlog to perch on. The birds will come in their own time.

The Little Oriole that Could

His brilliant yellow plumage caught our eyes immediately as he landed on the hummingbird feeder. This juvenile male Baltimore Oriole was a long way from his winter range in Central America. It took a bit of time to get a confirmed identification on this bird but after 3 opinions all weighed in with Baltimore Oriole, it was settled!

Three days in a row he has visited our porch railing. Soon after he arrived I put out sliced oranges. It took a while for him to transition from the hummingbird nectar to the oranges, but once he did, he wouldn’t stop! This spunky little bird had found his favourite food.

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Watching him feed, you can see the Baltimore Orioles characteristic feeding method – inserting his beak, spreading the fruit and then drinking the juice that flowed into the newly created hole.

When the wind or rain got to be too much for him, he would shelter on the rafters of the porch or in a nearby spruce tree. But it wasn’t long before he would be back on the railing again, eating away! Despite the cold temperatures and less-than-tropical environment, this Oriole seems to be doing ok.

This little variant has gotten a lot of attention in the birding community. This appears to be the 8th confirmed sighting of a Baltimore Oriole in the Vancouver Island region. There has been lots of interest in travelling to Ahousaht to see him, but the long journey seems to have held off the flood of birders. Sitting in my living room, sipping tea or coffee and watching him feed, I can’t understand why. I am so lucky to have had him find me! Soon we will see it he will show for a fourth day – He typically arrives by nine am!

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