Bird Lore: The back story

An Eastern Kingbird from the June 14 Bird Lore column. (Photo by LeRoy VanHee)
An Eastern Kingbird from the June 14 Bird Lore column. (Photo by LeRoy VanHee)

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 varied habitat that appeals to birds as well as birders: salt water (waterfront), wetlands (Edmonds marsh), fresh water (Lake Ballinger, Pine Ridge Park ponds, Perrinville and Shell Creeks), fields and wooded ravines (Yost and Southwest County Parks), as well as many back yards. Edmonds hosts birders from all over the Greater Puget Sound area.

People who bird in Edmonds can avail themselves of the list that Ted helped Sally Lider at Edmonds Parks & Recreation put together. The Parks list shows abundance for each species and seasons in which each can be seen. It is a two-page list and downloadable at the Discovery Programs web pages using this shortened link: . We also created a one-page checklist using abundance codes only for each species. You can request a PDF copy of it from this address: [email protected]. We update both lists once a year, usually in December.

On behalf of Edmonds Parks & Recreation and Pilchuck Audubon Society, we have been maintaining a bird information display at the Olympic Beach Visitor Station for many years. We rotate featured birds throughout the year, with text and photographs, and it seems to be enjoyed by many waterfront visitors. But it is the digital age so we sought a larger audience in a new medium.

Teaming up with Edmonds photographer LeRoy VanHee, we created Bird Lore and pitched it to My Edmonds News last February. We have featured 26 bird species since Feb. 7, 2014, or about 10 percent of all the species that have been seen in the city. All of LeRoy’s photos are taken in Edmonds and I provide an Edmonds-centric description of each, intended to appeal to the general reader.

Many species are vagrants. That means they showed up here well outside their expected geographic range. They have been seen only once or twice. While LeRoy is incredibly lucky, such as when he spotted and photographed the Eastern Kingbirds, which we recently featured, many of these birds will not be seen in Bird Lore. Our goal is to tell you about birds that are Edmonds residents and birds that migrate through Edmonds each spring and fall. Some are here year-round, some winter here, and others summer here. Some loaf around, some are busy breeding and raising young. We will keep telling you about them, as long as LeRoy keeps photographing them, with the hope that readers will enhance their appreciation of wildlife that can be seen in Edmonds.

We hope you enjoy the columns and continue to offer us your feedback. We now provide a link to the vocalizations of each bird because a reader made that great suggestion.

— Carol Riddell

Carol Riddell, author of our “Bird Lore” feature, manages the bird education displays, on behalf of Pilchuck Audubon Society and Edmonds Parks & Recreation, at the Olympic Beach Visitor Station.

4 Replies to “Bird Lore: The back story”

  1. Thanks to Carol and Leroy for starting and continuing this column. Through efforts such as theirs and the people and organizations Carol mentioned above, Edmonds is becoming a destination for birders throughout the Puget Sound region. The annual Puget Sound Bird Fest in Edmonds (Sept. 5-7) looks to draw visitors from out of state as well.

    Two of Leroy’s photos are on display at the bird photography exhibits which recently opened at the Frances Anderson Center and the Edmonds library. The exhibits will run through Bird Fest.


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