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The Sneeze of Willow Flycatcher

What was that?
© John Tubbs View Large

Willow Flycatchers arrive later than most other migrants, usually at the end of May. They're coming from South America, a long way to fly for a bird that weighs 1/35th of an ounce. A male Willow Flycatcher aggressively defends its territory against other males and soon attracts a mate. Their compact nest is usually low in a willow or rose or low shrub. To find a Willow Flycatcher, listen for its sneeze - "Fitzbew!" Check out Cornell's All About Birds to learn more about this "sneezing" bird.

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Transcript: 

BirdNote®

The Sneeze of the Willow Flycatcher

Written by Dennis Paulson

This is BirdNote!
[Willow Flycatcher fitz-bew “sneeze”]
Hear that little sneeze coming from a dense clump of willows at the waterside? That tells you there is a male Willow Flycatcher nearby. These birds arrive later than most other migrants, usually at the end of May. They’re coming from South America, a long way to fly for a bird that weighs 1/35th of an ounce.
[Willow Flycatcher “song”]
Male Willow Flycatchers aggressively defend their territories against other males and soon attract a mate. Their compact nest is usually low in a willow or rose or bracken fern, and may be readily discovered. Working throughout the day for an entire week, the female weaves the nest out of grasses, lichens, pine needles, fur, feathers, and thistle seeds. She then incubates the three or four eggs constantly for two weeks, in the words of one observer “filling the nest opening as snugly as the lid on a teapot.”*
[Willow Flycatcher “song”]
Meanwhile, the male continues to sing, defending his territory from other flycatchers so the pair and their young will have an abundance of food. Next time you hear a sneeze in the willows, you’ll know the source. [Willow Flycatcher “sneeze”]
I’m Frank Corrado.
###

Song of the Willow Flycatcher provided by The Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Recorded by M.J. Andersen.
Ambient waterside recorded by C. Peterson
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2010 Tune In to Nature.org        June 2010

ID#060107WIFLKPLU            WIFL-01

* THE WILSON BULLETIN ß Vol. 105, No. i, March 1993

Photo by John Tubbs

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