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Two little fledgling pacific-slope flycatchers, Empidonax difficilis, are just beginning to learn what they were born to do: catch flying insects in midair. It won’t be long before they master their aerobatic flying technique. Their small size of 5 to 6 inches and low weight of .3 to .4 ounces allows them to fly quickly and effortlessly. Empidonax means lord of the mosquitoes, but they eagerly go after swarms of gnats and a host of other flying insects, which makes them invaluable in keeping those pesky populations down.
They arrive to our San Diego coastal and inland regions in early spring, migrating southward toward Mexico around September. Nesting (they typically have two broods before moving on) occurs mainly in our coastal areas, among Eucalyptus groves and residential sections.
Garden Planner: By Judy Wigand • Photography by Bob Wigand