Mt. Nusatsum

Mt. Nusatsum

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

American Dippers

When I grew up and was tagging along with my dad and family fishing for trout in small West Kootenay creeks, we used to call these interesting little birds, "water ouzels".  It seemed like a really appropriate name for a bird that was always leaping and jumping into fast cold water looking for insects and other goodies floating by.  I thought the word `ouzel` had some special meaning, but alas it`s just an archaic term for a black bird.  I was dissappointed when they were officially renamed the Àmerican Dipper` but such is the world.  They are still often referred to as water ouzels, so that`s good enough for me.

The Bella Coola River and any of the tributaries are all excellent habitat for dippers, they are territorial, so you`ll only find them every so often along the streams banks which is where they nest under over hanging banks and root wads.

Being close to spring, these guys are starting to think about a mate.  The other day I had a chance to hear one singing along the river bank when it didn`t know I was there--they have a beautiful song if you have a chance to hear one.  The dipper part of their name adequately describes their behaviour, these guys are hard to get a picture of because of the constant bobbing up and down that reminds you of a fidgety kid after too much Halloween candy. Grizzly

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