Bird Lore

Bird Lore: Bewick’s Wren

Bird Lore: Bewick’s Wren

The Bewick’s Wren (pronounced like “Buick”) is a common wren, at lower elevations, of dry thickets and open woods of the western United States. (J.J. Audubon identified this wren in Louisiana in 1821 and named it for his friend Thomas Bewick, a British engraver.) In Edmonds you can find this wren around the marsh, along the edges of open areas in parks, and in your own gardens if... »

Bird Lore: Green-winged Teal

Bird Lore: Green-winged Teal

Some duck species forage for food by dabbling at the surface of water or by upending with their tails up and their heads submerged. These are called dabbling ducks and they all belong to a genus of the Latin name Anas. Think Gadwall, Mallard, Northern Shoveler or American Wigeon for example. The Green-winged Teal is one of the dabbling ducks. The drake has striking multi-colored plumage. He has a ... »

Bird Lore: Pacific Loon

Bird Lore: Pacific Loon

Loons regularly seen in winter on Washington’s marine waters are the Common Loon, the Red-throated Loon, and the Pacific Loon. The most commonly seen on the Edmonds waterfront is the Pacific Loon. Although this loon breeds across northern Canada to Hudson Bay and Baffin Island, it migrates to the Pacific Coast of North America to spend the winter. In Edmonds, Pacific Loons can be found regul... »

Bird Lore: Snowy Owl

Bird Lore: Snowy Owl

Today an invader landed in Edmonds. Well, it’s a Snowy Owl, typically a denizen of Arctic latitudes. But every few years, for reasons that are not necessarily well understood, some Snowy Owls winter in the Lower 48. They are often female or immature birds. Scientists refer to these as irruption years. Many others refer to them as invasion years. Today’s Snowy Owl has been on a roof acr... »

Bird Lore: Black Scoter

Bird Lore: Black Scoter

Simple elegance in evening dress. The Black Scoter male (drake) always sports his black suit, accented by the yellow nob on his bill. Scoters (Surf, White-winged, and Black) are dark sea ducks that spend most of the year on the ocean in large flocks. On our inland marine waters, Surf Scoters are most abundant and seen most regularly, followed by White-winged Scoters. Black Scoters, seen much less ... »

Bird Lore: Steller’s Jay

Bird Lore: Steller’s Jay

The Steller’s Jay is a persistent pilferer of peanuts. This all-American jay is a chow hound for our all-American nut. Whole peanuts, shelled or unshelled, peanut butter, smooth or chunky, bits of peanuts, organic or conventional. If you enjoy the antics of our local jay, put some form of peanut feeder in your yard and watch the show. A common bird of western forests and well-wooded suburbs,... »

Bird Lore: White-crowned Sparrow

Bird Lore: White-crowned Sparrow

The Puget Sound lowlands host the White-crowned Sparrow throughout the year. Look for this bird in Edmonds parks, in bushy areas along the waterfront parks, and in your own yard if you have shrubs, trees, and perhaps a bird feeder. This sparrow is large, lean and a bit athletic looking. We have two subspecies of White-crowned Sparrow, Puget Sound and Gambell’s. They can be present in roughly... »

Bird Lore: Bonaparte’s Gull

Bird Lore: Bonaparte’s Gull

Nimble, active, and social describe our Bonaparte’s Gull, which is frequently seen on the Edmonds waterfront in fall, winter and spring. This is the smallest gull that is usually seen in North America. It winters along all three coasts of the Lower 48. Its size and delicate flight bring to mind some of our smaller terns rather than other gulls. In coastal regions, where the Bonaparte’s... »

Bird Lore: Pied-billed Grebe

Bird Lore: Pied-billed Grebe

The curmudgeon of the grebe family is the Pied-billed Grebe. This solitary and unsocial little grebe only associates with its own during breeding season. In Edmonds, the Pied-billed Grebe is seen reliably in the protected waters of the marina and at Lake Ballinger. There are other small bodies of protected water in Edmonds where it might be seen on occasion. All grebes are well adapted to water. T... »

Bird Lore: Greater White-fronted Goose

Bird Lore: Greater White-fronted Goose

The Greater White-fronted Goose is usually seen in Edmonds every year but can be hard to find. Typically it is seen when a formation of these geese is flying over the Sound in spring or fall migration but occasionally it is seen on the ground. It flies in wavering lines in contrast to the vee formation of the Canada Goose. It can frequently be seen with Snow Goose flocks. This goose is about two t... »

Bird Lore: Red-necked Grebe

Bird Lore: Red-necked Grebe

The Red-necked Grebe is a silent presence on Puget Sound in winter. You can see them most anywhere along the Edmonds waterfront from October through March. It does not develop its red neck until spring, just before it leaves our marine waters. When it returns in fall, it is a nondescript bird. You can see the differences in LeRoy’s two photos. Pete Dunne, Director of the Cape May (New Jersey... »

Bird Lore: Double-crested Cormorant

Bird Lore: Double-crested Cormorant

  The Double-crested Cormorant is a year-round resident of Washington’s outer coast, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and the northern inland marine waters. It is only a winter resident of Edmonds and the lower reaches of Puget Sound because it breeds in summer on the tops of coastal offshore rocks and low islands. This cormorant is large, black, and has orange bare skin at the base of its s... »

Bird Lore: Bushtit

Bird Lore: Bushtit

Togetherness is the way of the Bushtit. It is a long-tailed, drab little bird that is highly gregarious except during nesting season. It has an overall grayish body with a brownish crown. Its eyes are the key to its sex. The female has noticeably yellow eyes and the male has dark eyes. You can see this difference in LeRoy’s two photos. The Bushtit is a resident, nonmigratory bird and is foun... »

Bird Lore: Red-breasted Nuthatch

Bird Lore: Red-breasted Nuthatch

Edmonds is within the year-round range of the Red-breasted Nuthatch, as is much of Washington, including the mountains. Unless you see it at your bird feeders, you may overlook this nuthatch until it wanders down the trunk of a conifer towards the ground. The Red-breasted Nuthatch prefers mature conifer forests for both foraging and nesting. Its signature posture is head first as it works its way ... »

Bird Lore: Great Blue Heron

Bird Lore: Great Blue Heron

If there is an ambassador from the avian world to the human world, it is the Great Blue Heron. It is widespread and is North America’s largest heron. It is the heron we all notice. LeRoy’s flight photo, taken at the Edmonds marsh, conveys the size and wingspread of this bird. The Great Blue Heron breeds in colonies, typically in trees near water. The nest is a platform of sticks, broug... »

Bird Lore: Least Sandpiper

Bird Lore: Least Sandpiper

The Least Sandpiper, the size of a sparrow, is the smallest shorebird in North America. It breeds across the sub-Arctic latitudes from Alaska to Newfoundland. It migrates along both coasts of North America as well as on inland flyways. Some overwinter in the southern U.S. and Gulf Coast. Others continue on to northern South America. On our Pacific Coast, Least and Western Sandpipers are the most c... »

Bird Lore: Black-capped Chickadee

Bird Lore: Black-capped Chickadee

The Black-capped Chickadee is a small bundle of constant motion, hopping from twig to twig in a variety of trees and bushes as it looks for caterpillars and other insects in summer. It frequently hangs upside down to reach the undersides of branches. You will often see this chickadee in the company of nuthatches, creepers, kinglets, and other small birds. Criss-cross the northern half of the Unite... »

Bird Lore: Cooper’s Hawk

Bird Lore: Cooper’s Hawk

The young Cooper’s Hawk featured in LeRoy’s photo was hunting at the Edmonds Marsh one morning a week or so ago. It perched on the boardwalk railing long enough for close-up photo opportunities. This medium-sized hawk of the genus Accipiter is a year-round resident of the Puget Lowlands and much of the Olympic Peninsula except the higher elevations of Olympic National Park. In both the... »

Bird Lore: Osprey

Bird Lore: Osprey

All of you Seattle Seahawk fans will be thrilled to know that the Osprey inspired the Seahawk name. This fish-catching raptor summers in Edmonds, as it does across most of North America, and then retreats to northern South America for the winter. The Osprey has become dependent upon human structures for its nest sites. Look for nests on specially-constructed platforms, the tops of pole lights, cel... »

Bird Lore: The back story

Bird Lore: The back story

Edmonds is a great town in which to see birds. Those of us who pay attention to species numbers have documented 261 species inside the city limits and along the waterfront. (Washington State has a little more than 500 bird species.) Much credit goes to Ted Peterson and other expert birders whose 20+ years of record-keeping is the foundation for two different lists of bird species. Edmonds has vari... »

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