Bird Lore: Sandhill Crane

The Sandhill Crane is an elegant bird, long of leg and neck with a crimson forehead. There have been several sightings in Edmonds over the years, most recently in September 2010 along the waterfront, October 2015 at the Edmonds marsh, and in May 2019 when five flew north over Yost Park. It is a bird…

Bird Lore: Ring-billed Gull

The Ring-billed Gull, often mythical in Edmonds, is common in other parts of Snohomish County. This is a gull of more quiet waters, one that does not spend much time on a waterfront as exposed as is that of Edmonds. Nonetheless, a few show up every year, usually as single birds. Seeing more than one…

Bird Lore: Chipping Sparrow

Common over much of North America, the Chipping Sparrow has adapted well to landscapes altered by humans. In the 19th Century it was the common sparrow of cities until introduction from Europe of the House Sparrow. It is an uncommon migrant in Western Washington and even less so in Edmonds. But occasionally it has been…

Bird Lore: Nashville Warbler

The Nashville Warbler passes through Edmonds on its way to breeding sites in the Cascades and other mountain ranges of Eastern Washington. Look for it in second growth forests in summer. In May it can pass through any of the forested parks of Edmonds. Although it is not reported every year in Edmonds, it is…

Bird Lore: Bullock’s Oriole

The Bullock’s Oriole is a brilliantly colored songbird that passes through Edmonds in small numbers in spring migration, usually in May. It favors riparian habitat and has been seen around the Edmonds marsh and along Shell Creek in Yost Park, among other locations. It has even been reported in residential gardens. It is considered an…

Bird Lore: Mountain Bluebird

Although Mountain Bluebirds breed in Eastern Washington, they can wander quite a bit in spring migration and can be seen in small numbers in Western Washington. An adult female appeared at Brackett’s Landing North on April 19th. The third and fourth photos are of her. It was only the second sighting that we know of…

Bird Lore: Sage Thrasher

The closest sagebrush ecosystem to Edmonds is in Central Washington. So why feature the Sage Thrasher in a column about Edmonds birds? Because three times in the last six years, one has arrived in Edmonds: May 15, 2013; May 9, 2015; and May 1, 2017. Presumably these three birds wandered off course in migration. The…

Bird Lore: Northern Mockingbird

The Northern Mockingbird is a permanent resident within its range. It does not breed in Washington and our state is not included in range maps for this species. Nonetheless, Northern Mockingbirds do show up in Washington every year in very small numbers. We have had four birds in Edmonds, starting in 2002 with the last…

Bird Lore: Western Kingbird

Kingbirds are medium-sized flycatchers of semi-open and open country. The Western Kingbird breeds in Eastern Washington but a few always appear in Western Washington in spring. There have been a couple of sightings of this flycatcher around the Edmonds Marsh over the years. In recent years, a pair actually nested for several seasons on a…

Bird Lore: Eared Grebe

The Eared Grebe is a bird of the Northern Hemisphere, found in western North America, Europe and Asia. There are no large winter gatherings of this species on Puget Sound. It can be found almost anywhere along the Sound in ones and twos, but protected salt bays such as Quartermaster Harbor at Vashon Island and…

Bird Lore: White-throated Sparrow

Many sparrows can appear drab and be difficult for the casual observer to identify. The White-throated Sparrow is the exception. Although it could be confused with the White-crowned Sparrow, with which it shares the genus Zonotrichia, its brilliant white throat is distinctive. It winters in Edmonds in small numbers, either in public areas with dense brush…

Bird Lore: Bald Eagle

If Ben Franklin had had his way, the Wild Turkey would have become the symbol of the United States and, perhaps, we would be feasting on goose or duck at Thanksgiving. But in 1782, the new nation designated the Bald Eagle as its emblem, despite Franklin disparaging the bird as a pirate and coward, and…

Bird Lore: Townsend’s Solitaire

Townsend’s Solitaire is a slender thrush with a long tail, in the same family as robins and bluebirds. It is a resident of western North America’s mountains and forests. It appears in small numbers in the Puget lowlands in winter. We know of two sightings in Edmonds, 2010 at Harbor Square and 2017 at a…

Bird Lore: Horned Lark

Larks are songbirds that live on the ground in open country. There are about 80 species of larks in Eurasia and Africa, but only the Horned Lark spills over into the Americas. The Horned Lark is a permanent resident of the Lower 48 with the exception of coastal areas of the Southeast. It is a…

Bird Lore: Harris’s Sparrow

Harris’s Sparrow is a large, elegant sparrow of the Heartland. It is a showstopper with its black bib and pink bill. It is North America’s largest sparrow. It nests only in north central Canada and winters on the southern Great Plains. A few Harris’s Sparrows find their way to Washington every year and there are…

Bird Lore: Trumpeter Swan

The Trumpeter Swan is the largest waterfowl native to North America, stretching to six feet in length and weighing in at 25 pounds and more. It descends upon Western Washington in mid-October. The largest numbers of this species are here between mid-November and March 1. The swans feed in farm fields by day and rest…

Bird Lore: Ruddy Duck

The Ruddy Duck is a small, compact duck with a large bill and a long tail that it frequently holds erect. Western Washington is one of its wintering locations and this duck can be seen from time to time in Edmonds. It might be seen at the marsh, Pine Ridge Park, or Lake Ballinger, the…

Bird Lore: Canvasback

The Canvasback is a diving duck, known for its slender, sloping facial profile. It winters throughout much of Washington on lakes, salt bays, and estuaries. It can occasionally be seen in Edmonds. It has been seen a few times at the Edmonds marsh and several times along the waterfront where it is usually flying by….

Bird Lore: Northern Shrike

A solitary and wary hunter, the Northern Shrike usually visits Edmonds in October, when at least one in southbound migration will make an appearance around the Edmonds Marsh. It is an uncommon winter resident throughout Washington and other northern states. The second photo shows this October’s visitor on a foggy afternoon. Diet includes large insects,…

Long-tailed Duck (winter male)

Bird Lore: Long-tailed Duck

The Long-tailed Duck is a sea duck of winter in Western Washington. It can be seen along the Edmonds waterfront, usually as a single bird, from mid-October through April. It is not, however, a frequent sighting in the Edmonds near shore waters. It takes a lot of careful watching to find one. The common name…

Bird Lore: Parasitic Jaeger

Jaegers and their close relatives the skuas are both scavengers and predators in the marine world. The Parasitic Jaeger, often called the falcon-like jaeger, is a September-October visitor to Puget Sound while on its way to its wintering waters of Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. In Edmonds, the public pier and Sunset Avenue are…

Bird Lore: Brown Pelican

Pelicans are known for their massive, pouched bills that can hold large fish and three gallons of water. The Brown Pelican is a distinctive bird of marine coastal waters. It prefers shallow, nearshore waters and sheltered bays. It can sometimes be seen well out to sea and even occasionally on ponds in the desert Southwest….

Bird Lore: Olive-sided Flycatcher

A neotropical migrant, the Olive-sided Flycatcher starts to arrive in Western Washington by the first of May. It breeds in forests throughout the state. By mid-September it departs for its wintering grounds. It is easier to locate this migrant in spring when it is singing. Southbound migrants may be less vocal or silent. Keep an…

Bird Lore: Black Oystercatcher

The Black Oystercatcher is a mostly permanent resident where the Pacific Ocean breaks against rocky shorelines. It is uncommon in the Inland Marine Waters of Washington, but can be seen flying by the Edmonds waterfront from time to time. It is best to keep an eye out for this black shorebird with its longish dark…

Bird Lore: Baird’s Sandpiper

When shorebirds come north in spring, they separate along three distinct North American flyways. The adult birds follow their expected paths. All bets are off when shorebirds head back south after breeding. Young birds do not always know where to go so they can be found wandering where they are not expected to be. The…