Olive-sided flycatcher wintering at PROWLS

Olive-sided flycatcher

MISSED FLIGHT: This olive-sided flycatcher, rescued in Gibsons, made its way up the Lower Sunshine Coast via vehicle and ferry, eventually arriving at Powell River Orphaned Wildlife Society. The rescue centre in Gibsons was closed for a few months, meaning PROWLS received more and more patients from the lower coast.

Hit by a car, this flycatcher’s wing was broken near the wrist, an injury difficult to heal but essential to flight. It had already begun its fall migration south to Bolivia and has now lost its chance. It is spending the winter on the front porch at PROWLS and will be ready to join a returning flock in the spring. Its tail, also damaged with many feathers broken, requires a spring moult to repair. Without this rudder, direction cannot be controlled.

Right now the bird is spitting out mealworms in disgust, holding out for crickets. It actually prefers big insects such as wasps, bees, dragonflies and grasshoppers, catching them on the wing.

It is totally in character to hear this husky, barrel-chested olive-sided flycatcher whistle a recognizable “Quick, Three Beers.”

Breeding males drive out rival males from the territory in swift aerial chases. Once the rival is expelled, the nesting pair reunites, raising crest feathers, clicking bills and pumping tails and bodies. The pair bond in this species appears to be strong and can survive failed nesting attempts.