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Empidonax species. I have never mastered the ID skills for this group of birds. I’m not alone. There are several Empidonax flycatchers that appear in this area including Hammonds, Dusky, Gray, Willow, and Pacific-slope (Western). There’s a Cordileran too but I’m not sure how the Pacific-slope, Western and Cordileran all fit together. They are either one species or two. Not to confuse the matter further. (insert smile here) Obviously, I’ve not been taking this matter of Empidonax identification seriously.

Anyway, these two birds have a nest at a house on the river by the cottonwood forest. This is the same place that had the Cedar Waxwing nest. If you have a thought on their ID, do let me know. For those that pay attention to these things, the bird on the wire bobbed its tail up and down. Maybe Hammonds?

From someone who knows these birds better than me: Lots of yellow on the belly during the breeding season, strong eye-ring with a bit of tear drop look, large and wide bill with orange lower mandible, and the nest is on a building (probably lined with moss or lichens) means ‘western’ type, probably in our area Pacific-slope although there is a possibility of Cordillean Flycatcher here as well.

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