Bird Lore

Bird Lore: Green Heron

Bird Lore: Green Heron

The Green Heron is a solitary bird, except when breeding. It is short and stocky, with short, bright yellow legs. This secretive heron usually lives around small bodies of water or in densely vegetated areas. It can be seen annually in Edmonds with some difficulty but has not been known to breed here. The Edmonds marsh is the usual area for sightings of this smaller heron. LeRoy, however, took the... »

Bird Lore: Downy Woodpecker

Bird Lore: Downy Woodpecker

If you see a small, nimble woodpecker in your backyard, more than likely it is a Downy Woodpecker. This black-and-white woodpecker is a common and widespread permanent resident of most of North America, including Edmonds. It is North America’s smallest woodpecker. The male has a red patch on its head. The Downy looks similar to the Hairy Woodpecker. When you see a single bird, and have no other bi... »

Bird Lore: Caspian Tern

Bird Lore: Caspian Tern

The Caspian Tern is the largest of the sea swallows, so called because most terns have long, pointed wings and deeply-forked tails. All terns are members of the gull family. The Caspian Tern is a widespread, migratory tern, seen all around the world with a few geographic exceptions. In Edmonds it is seen in small numbers flying over the waterfront or the marsh from April through September. “Big Re... »

Bird Lore: Savannah Sparrow

Bird Lore: Savannah Sparrow

For a migrant, the Savannah Sparrow is pretty much a North American stay-at-home kind of bird. It winters only as far south as Mexico and Cuba and can also be found across the southern tier of states at that time of year. In summer it migrates as far north as it can go and still be in North America. This species migrates through Edmonds. Records for the last several years reflect first spring sigh... »

Bird Lore: Pigeon Guillemot

Bird Lore: Pigeon Guillemot

The Pigeon Guillemot is another member of the alcid family, a diving seabird of the Pacific Coast of the U.S. and Canada. It inhabits ocean waters near rocky shorelines and the inland marine waters. It can be seen along the Edmonds waterfront in all seasons. It seems to favor the roiling water behind the ferries when they are at dock. It is also a member of the rock climbing community! It can scal... »

Bird Lore: Rhinoceros Auklet

Bird Lore: Rhinoceros Auklet

The Rhinoceros Auklet is a chunky little seabird that belongs to the alcid family. It is common along the Edmonds waterfront and offshore waters throughout the year. Sometimes it can be seen quite close to the public pier. Both sexes of this auklet grow a white horn on the bill each spring, which gives rise to its name, and then shed it in late summer. In breeding season, this auklet also develops... »

Bird Lore: Marbled Murrelet

Bird Lore: Marbled Murrelet

The seabird that is also a forest bird. That is the Marbled Murrelet, a member of the alcid family that includes murrelets, murres, guillemots and puffins. All of these North American seabirds nest on rocky, offshore islets along the Pacific Coast. Not so the Marbled Murrelet. At some point in its evolutionary past, it discovered that the tops of ancient conifers were perfect for its nests. The ne... »

Bird Lore: Blue-winged Teal

Bird Lore: Blue-winged Teal

The Blue-winged Teal is an occasional visitor to Edmonds, usually seen in the marsh in spring. Last year two males passed through, spending several days around the marsh. Within the last couple of weeks there were two males and a female. LeRoy’s photos are of two of this year’s visitors, a drake (above) and a hen (below). This is a small dabbling duck that prefers calm, shallow water. It winters i... »

Bird Lore: Song Sparrow

Bird Lore: Song Sparrow

The Song Sparrow is so widespread across North America that it has been called the default sparrow. It can be found in a variety of habitats, including brushy fields, along streams, marsh edges, woodland edges, and well-vegetated gardens and parks. So you have the opportunity to see this sparrow and listen to its melodious song in many Edmonds locales. Sometimes this sparrow skulks and is only see... »

Bird Lore: Belted Kingfisher

Bird Lore: Belted Kingfisher

One of our Edmonds residents is the Belted Kingfisher. When seen, it is usually along the waterfront, particularly around the marina and the public pier, or at the marsh. One is often photographed atop the fish sculptures on the north breakwater. The Belted Kingfisher is one of the most widely distributed birds in North America. It is a migratory species in colder areas of the continent. Where lak... »

Bird Lore: Mallard

Bird Lore: Mallard

Even if you go out of your way to ignore birds, it is difficult not to notice the Mallard. First, it is probably the most common and abundant duck species around. Second, the drake is a knock-out with his bright yellow bill, iridescent green head, white collar ring, brown chest and light-colored body. He is always worth a second look. This dabbling duck is the archetypal duck in several respects. ... »

Bird Lore: Yellow-rumped Warbler

Bird Lore: Yellow-rumped Warbler

  A widespread and sometimes common songbird, the Yellow-rumped Warbler calls Edmonds home. During winter, this warbler prefers deciduous woods and thickets, gardens and beaches. During breeding season it nests in coniferous and mixed forests. It usually stays on the forest edge, avoiding dense, unbroken forest interiors. Except during breeding season, this is a highly social warbler that is ... »

Bird Lore: Northern Shoveler

Bird Lore: Northern Shoveler

The Northern Shoveler is a puddle duck that favors shallow lakes, freshwater marshes, and sloughs. It can be found in Washington throughout the year, more commonly breeding in Eastern Washington. In Edmonds, you might see the Northern Shoveler on the Point Edwards pond, the Pine Ridge pond, Chase Lake or Lake Ballinger. As with all dabbling ducks, the Northern Shoveler has a flat bill designed to ... »

Bird Lore: Bufflehead

Bird Lore: Bufflehead

The Bufflehead, one of North America’s smallest ducks, is a diver. It can be found in Western Washington year round, although in very small numbers in summer. This duck can be seen along the Edmonds waterfront and on freshwater ponds from mid-October to early May. Along the waterfront, it stays in the nearshore waters. Look for a few birds at a time as this species keeps to itself and rarely assoc... »

Bird Lore: Purple Martin

Bird Lore: Purple Martin

The Purple Martin is the largest of the Western Hemisphere swallows that breed in North America. As a cavity nester, this swallow now needs artificial nests to survive and reproduce. It can be seen occasionally in summer over the waterfront and the marsh because a small population nests in wooden boxes attached to the Point Wells pilings, about a mile south of Marina Beach. The Purple Martin was a... »

Bird Lore: Golden-crowned Sparrow

Bird Lore: Golden-crowned Sparrow

The Golden-crowned Sparrow is a far west specialty of the U.S. and Canada. It is a common winter resident of the Puget Trough that can be found throughout Edmonds from autumn to late spring. Look for this sparrow in brushy areas of parks and yards. By the end of May, most of these sparrows will have left for their breeding grounds in British Columbia and Alaska, with a small number remaining into ... »

Bird Lore: Harlequin Duck

Bird Lore: Harlequin Duck

The Harlequin Duck is a sea duck that can be seen in small numbers along the Edmonds waterfront, typically from late fall to early spring. Although they are often seen just flying by, in the last couple of years, two to four birds have been seen often from Sunset Avenue. They are either swimming or at rest on one of the tethered floating logs. The Harlequin Duck moves to mountain streams for breed... »

Bird Lore: Pine Siskin

Bird Lore: Pine Siskin

The Pine Siskin, a smaller, social member of the Finch family, can be seen everywhere in winter in Edmonds or not at all. It is well known as a common breeder of northern regions and mountain forests and even better known for its irruptive movements. It is a drab, streaked bird with a narrower, pointier bill than that of other finches. After a winter of its absence, many are excited when the Pine ... »

Bird Lore: Barn Swallow

Bird Lore: Barn Swallow

The flowing, graceful flight of the Barn Swallow, with its long forked tail, is a hallmark of summer. Many enjoy watching it feed over water and open areas. In summer the Barn Swallow is widespread across North America, Europe and Asia. It winters in South America and southern Africa. Look for it in Edmonds around the marsh, along the waterfront, Lake Ballinger and at any open play fields. The Bar... »

Bird Lore: Mobbing and nest protection

Bird Lore: Mobbing and nest protection

Smaller birds will often mob birds of prey to protect themselves or their nests. Birds of prey are meat-eating predators such as hawks, falcons, eagles, owls, and shrikes. Even a single bird will chase a bird of prey away from its nest. In LeRoy’s first photo, taken last spring, one of the resident Bald Eagles was flying over the marsh at a time when a pair of Canada Geese was nesting in the... »

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