Saturday, 14 May 2016

Pelee pewee

Last week (May 8 to be exact) I was walking a footpath at Point Pelee National Park with my Mom (it was Mother's Day afterall!) when I heard a bird calling up ahead. It was fairly faint but I thought to myself that it kind of sounded like a Western Wood-Pewee. That's a pretty damn rare bird in Ontario, with only three accepted records by the OBRC so I pretty quickly dismissed the calls as coming from a European Starling or a Gray Catbird. At that point, I hadn't even seen an Eastern Wood-Pewee yet this year, as they had been slow to arrive. Imagine my surprise then when a few minutes later I came around a corner and there was a wood-pewee feeding actively in the shrubs.

I studied the bird for about ten minutes and took a bunch of photos of it. I tried playing Western Wood-Pewee calls on my phone and the bird cocked its head a bit but didn't really seem too interested. From what I could see in the field and remember about Wood-Pewee ID at the time, the bird seemed like a pretty good fit for an Eastern Wood-Pewee; all orange lower mandible, fairly equal wing bars. I thought it seemed quite grey to me, but having not seen a wood-pewee for about 8 months I didn't put much weight in this.

Anyways, having reviewed the photos I still think the bird is an Eastern Wood-Pewee but I am by no means an expert and would love some extra opinions! So what do you think?


  1. Eastern

    Posture: Wings not in line with tail (EAWP feature)
    Wingbars: equally bright (EAWP)
    Lower mandible: orange (EAWP)
    Primary projection/tail projection: in WEWP =1, EAWP =0.7 (average) - this bird has a short pp proj
    Underparts: pale (EAWP)

  2. Hi Mike: Based on reading the descriptions of both species in the "Handbook of the Birds of the World" twice, and looking carefully at your photographs I would say Eastern Wood Pewee. In both accounts it gives the cautionary remark that each species is distinguished with difficulty from the other! I think we knew that!