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Southwestern Willow Flycatcher

Empidonax traillii extimus

Description: Size: 5 - 6 inches

Voice: song FITZ-BEW call SPRITT whistle WHIT

Habitat: streamside thickets - brushy fields - willows

The Willow Flycatcher is one of the plain empidonax flycatchers. Notice the very faint eye-ring and the long wide bill. The upper mandible is dark brown to black and the lower mandible is pale orange.

Southwestern Willow Flycatchers (Federally Endangered extimus subspecies) are best "ticked" without violating Federal law by listening and observing them from the parking lot by the Birders' Board at Kern River Preserve Headquarters. Several pairs (8-20) of this species  call, "sing," and nest all through the "Slough Channel" that you pass through as you enter the preserve.

But, you are not to walk around in the habitat because that is a violation of the Endangered Species Act. To enjoy these birds without illegally disturbing them simply observe them from the parking lot or bird along the ranch road that leads west  from the Headquarters area along the north side of the slough. Besides, this road leads one past habitat used by nesting Yellow-billed Cuckoos, Blue Grosbeaks, and Lawrence's Goldfinches. Willow Flycatchers (25-40 pairs) usually first begin arriving about the 15th of May with late May through July being the best time to see one or more. If you know their song, the pre-dawn chorus heard from Headquarters throughout June is truly impressive.

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