Pacific Slope Flycatcher

Many of these birds visit Vancouver Island. The Pacific-slope flycatcher male is a very early riser, quite often singing before daylight, always close to water, you can just hear his morning calls over the nearby stream. But by afternoon, his calls have changed to a more demanding sound as he sits atop a broken tree or high branch. He will spend the rest of the day calling out to let the world know how wonderful he is, only stopping at dusk or when catching the odd passing fly.

These beautiful birds are also quite tough and can drive much bigger birds from their area and if needed the female will join in to help. Once the Intruder has been driven off and peace has returned, the female goes back to the nest and the male takes his high perch again and starts his singing anew.

Pacific-slope flycatchers are up to 15 cm long and are olive-green above. They have 2 white wing bars and a very bold eye ring. Their underparts are light with a yellowish tinge.

Pacific Slope Flycatcher, Vancouver Island, BC
Pacific Slope Flycatcher, Vancouver Island, BC, Photo By Bud Logan

The nest consists of a cup of moss, small sticks, and grass, stuffed into a crack in a rock wall or among upturned tree roots. They will also nest in old woodpecker nests or other abandoned tree cavities. They will have up to 5 eggs that are a whitish cream color with lavender spots. The eggs hatch in about 2 weeks and the babies will leave the nest about 2 weeks later.

They eat flying insects mostly, but will also eat berries and seeds. The Pacific-slope Flycatcher was at the time known as the western flycatcher, but has been split into two subspecies, the Pacific and cordilleran flycatcher. The only way to tell them apart is by their calls, the pacific’s call is pawee and the cordilleras call is wee-wee.

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