Sunday, July 3, 2011

Eastern Wood Peewee; May Migration to Northern Illinois

An Eastern Wood Peewee, Rock Cut State Park, Rockford, IL; 9/4/10.
For years, while hiking through any thick wooded forest, I would hear the familiar high pitched long whistle on an upward beat - after a brief pause - followed by an equally long whistle on a downward beat - imagine a "wolf whistle' - a man whistling at a pretty girl. This is the song of the  Eastern Wood Peewee (Above) - a solitary neatral-colored flycatcher which stays high in the canopy of thick tree branches - so it is difficult to spot.  As I suppose with any gambling venture, sooner or later I would be in the right spot at the right time. That happened in mid July a year ago, while I was stalking an Indigo Bunting (my post two days ago), I heard the familiar Eastern Wood Peewee's whistle very close to me. And there it was (Below) on a low branch only about 100 feet from me - and stayed just long enough for me to fire off a few shutters before it flew up into the canopy out of sight.  A couple of months later I was able to get an even better photo op (Top) of this shy bird.
The shy Eastern Wood Peewee, Blackhawk Springs Forest Preserve, Rockford, IL; 7/21/2010.
I started hearing Eastern Wood Peewees in mid May as they arrived in the Rockford area. As their name suggests, they are common only in the eastern half of the U.S. during summer - from the Atlantic coastal states from Georgia to Maine stretching west to the Dakotas in the north and to Oklahoma and Texas in the south.  Their grayish body makes them hard to spot in the thick foliage. They have a dark head like the Eastern Phoebe, with a very feint eye-ring. Their darker wings are separated with two very distinct white wing bars, and with most flycatchers, their bills are bi-colored, dark on the upper bill and orangish/yellow below.

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