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…

Bird Lore: Western Wood-Pewee

The Western Wood-Pewee is a drab brownish-gray flycatcher that can be seen in Edmonds in small numbers during summer. It breeds from Honduras, through Mexico, the Western U.S., Western Canada, and into Alaska. It winters in Northern South America. It calls late into the summer evening when most other songbirds are quiet. All flycatchers eat…

Bird Lore: Northern Rough-winged Swallow

The Northern Rough-winged Swallow summers throughout the Lower 48 and the southern tier of Canada. It forages in open areas, often near water. It can be found from sea level to around 6,500 feet. A few birds usually pass through the Edmonds Marsh each year as this swallow migrates from Mexico and Central America to…

Bird Lore: American White Pelican

The American White Pelican, with its 9-foot wingspan and 30 pounds of weight, is one of the largest birds in North America. An authoritative reference on the birds of Washington, published in 2005, listed the American White Pelican as rare in Western Washington. The very few sightings in Edmonds were of single birds. That changed…

Bird Lore: Wilson’s Phalarope

Wilson’s Phalarope is a shorebird sometimes seen at the Edmonds marsh in spring migration. It is a long-distance migrant, flying from as far away as the southern regions of South America to breed in the interior of Canada and the United States. Usually only one phalarope at a time visits the Edmonds marsh, and not…

Bird Lore: Cinnamon Teal

The Cinnamon Teal is a marsh duck that is found only in the Western Hemisphere, from the southern latitudes of Canada to South America. In the United States it is found in the West. It can be seen annually in Edmonds, usually at the Edmonds marsh during migration in spring or fall. This teal breeds…

Bird Lore: Say’s Phoebe

Say’s Phoebe is a flycatcher of the western U.S. It favors high deserts and arid lands. Spring migration brings Say’s Phoebe to Eastern Washington where it breeds. In recent years there have been increasing numbers of this flycatcher seen in Western Washington during spring and fall migration. In the last 10 years there have been…

Bird Lore: Blue-winged Teal

The Blue-winged Teal can be seen occasionally during spring at the Edmonds marsh. It migrates through and continues on to its inland breeding grounds. This species breeds across Canada and the interior of the U.S., including Eastern Washington. It’s a small duck to be on the lookout for at the marsh, fun to spot because…

Bird Lore: Sharp-shinned Hawk

That small raptor bursting out of a hidden perch and rocketing through your yard in pursuit of small birds is a Sharp-shinned Hawk. It shares the genus Accipiter with the Cooper’s Hawk, a similar looking but slightly larger hunter. They are both uncommon residents of Edmonds and most of North America and they both hunt…

Bird Lore: Pelagic Cormorant

The Pelagic Cormorant is common along the Edmonds waterfront. Individuals rest communally during the day on the dolphins at the ferry dock but they are solitary when swimming and diving. It is the smallest cormorant along the West Coast and is noticeably smaller than the larger, and also common, Double-crested Cormorant. (Read more about the…

Bird Lore: Great Egret

The Great Egret, like the Great Blue Heron, is a large long-legged, long-billed wading bird. We are accustomed to seeing the blueish gray Great Blue Herons in the Edmonds Marsh, but every so often a Great Egret stops by. Most recently, one was in Edmonds early in November 2017. It stopped to feed alongside some…

Bird Lore: Brandt’s Cormorant

Of the three cormorant species that populate the Edmonds waterfront, the Brandt’s Cormorant is the least common, although it is a year-round resident and breeding bird of Washington. When seen on the Inland Marine Waters in winter, it is noted for its drab brown plumage, dark eye, and the distinctive buffy patch at the base…

Bird Lore: Common Redpoll

The Common Redpoll is a small finch that is a common arctic and subarctic breeder. It is common in winter across northern North America and sometimes makes its way to Edmonds. It is not seen here every year, but in irruption years such as this one, it is seen throughout Western Washington, including Edmonds. When…

Bird Lore: Evening Grosbeak

The Evening Grosbeak is a songbird without a song. It is a social bird that forages in flocks in winter, before breaking off into small groups or pairs during the breeding season. It is a resident bird of Western Washington. Its presence is irruptive and irregular, such that one year might see many more birds…

Bird Lore: Northern Pintail

Elegance comes to mind every time I look at a Northern Pintail. A slender bird with a long neck, its elongated proportions have been likened to those of an El Greco painting. The male, with sliver-blue sides to his bill, looks like he is in the finest evening wear, always ready for a formal night…

Bird Lore: Eurasian Collared-Dove

The Eurasian-collared Dove made its way to the North American continent via releases in the Caribbean. Several birds escaped from a pet shop in the Bahamas during a 1970s burglary. Subsequently, the shop released its remaining doves, about 50 birds. When a volcano threatened eruption on the island of Guadeloupe, other Eurasian Collared-Doves were set…

Bird Lore: Red Crossbill

The Red Crossbill is a nomadic, parrot-like finch that specializes in extracting seeds from pine, fir, hemlock, juniper, larch, and spruce cones. It lives in forests of the Northern Hemisphere around the world. It is a resident bird in all of the mature conifer forests of Washington. It can usually be seen in Edmonds each…

Bird Lore: House Sparrow

Pest or companion? The House Sparrow, just as did the European Starling and the Rock Pigeon, came to the Western Hemisphere at the behest of humans. Its first introduction was in 1851 in Brooklyn. There were additional introductions in San Francisco and Salt Lake City in the 1870s. Those introductions were not without dispute. Ornithologists…

Bird Lore: Ancient Murrelet

The Ancient Murrelet is an alcid, which means it is a diving seabird. It can be found in Washington’s coastal and inland marine waters from October through March. Typically, it is seen in Edmonds from October through January, but most commonly in fall months. It flies low along the water and then disappears when it…

Bird Lore: Red-throated Loon

The Red-throated Loon, smallest of the world’s loons, can be seen from time to time along the Edmonds waterfront. It frequents the Inland Marine Waters from fall to early spring, although it is more abundant on the outer coast. It is distinguished from other loons by its thin bill that usually tilts slightly upward, its…

Bird Lore: Northern Harrier

The Northern Harrier is a long-winged, long-tailed hawk of open grassland and marshes. It can usually be seen in Edmonds at least once a year and usually hunting over the Edmonds Marsh. But it has also been seen flying over neighborhoods. Unlike most other raptors, each sex of the Northern Harrier looks distinct. The male…

Bird Lore: Snow Goose

October is the Moon of the Snow Goose here in Edmonds. Geese are on the move, migrating south for the winter. They are rarely seen on the water or the ground. They favor sheltered bays and farm fields, which Edmonds lack. But this species often continues south along the Puget Sound shore or out over…

Bird Lore: Mourning Dove

The Mourning Dove is one of the most common and abundant birds native to North America. It is common in open country and along roadsides. It can be found in forest clearings, prairies, deserts, farmlands, and suburbs. There are usually several sightings a year, that we know of, in Edmonds. It is far more common…

Bird Lore: American Kestrel

The American Kestrel is the smallest and most widespread of the five falcons regularly seen in North America. It is a regular along the fields of rural Snohomish County. Even though Edmonds is pretty much built up, the kestrel can be seen from time to time in the city, usually around the marsh. It inhabits…