Bird Lore: Western Tanagers

Western Tanagers pass through Edmonds at this time of year, on their way to nesting locations in Washington and British Columbia. Most tanager species are permanent residents of the American tropics. The four that summer in North America are neotropic migrants. That phrase refers to all the birds that head north from the tropical zones…

Bird Lore: Horned Grebe

The Horned Grebe is a common winter species along the Edmonds waterfront and throughout the inland marine waters. Most of Washington’s winter population spend the breeding season in British Columbia before returning to Puget Sound in the fall. Small numbers breed in Eastern Washington but they do not favor the salinity of many lakes in…

Bird Lore: American Coot

The American Coot is a hardy and adaptable waterbird. It is related to the secretive rails, but it swims in the open like a duck and walks on shore, even in exposed areas such as golf courses. This bird has strong legs and big feet. When fighting over territorial boundaries, Coots will rear up and…

Bird Lore: Pileated Woodpecker

Woody Woodpecker came to life as a cartoon character in 1940. His popularity resulted in television broadcast of The Woody Woodpecker Show starting in 1957. So many of us became familiar with the Pileated Woodpecker, which Woody most resembles, from those famous cartoons. The Woody Woodpecker show continues to this day in Yost Park and…

Bird Lore: Ring-necked duck

As with most ducks, the ring-necked duck drake (male) and hen (female) look distinctive because of different feather colors and patterns. The question that troubles many viewers is the name of this duck. Where is the ring around its neck? The drake does have a dark violet band around its neck. It can be seen…

Bird Lore: Brant

The Brant is a small, dark, compact goose that rarely ventures far from salt water. Because it breeds throughout the polar region, it is considered circumpolar in its distribution. It can be found in Siberia, Europe, and the North American arctic regions. This species overwinters along both coasts of the United States. Two to three…

Bird Lore: Anna’s Hummingbird

Anna’s Hummingbird has become a common year-round resident in the Puget lowlands, the Washington coast, and the Vancouver area of Clark County. The range of the Anna’s is limited to the West Coast, Arizona, and parts of New Mexico. When a treatise titled The Birds of Washington State was published in 1953, Anna’s was not…

Bird Lore: House Finch

The House Finch, originally a species native to the American southwest and Mexico, has responded robustly to human alteration of habitat since 1940, often muscling out Purple and Cassin’s Finches. After introduction in the eastern U.S., the House Finch can be found now in all 48 contiguous states and in the southern parts of Canada’s…

Bird Lore: Barred Owl

Even those of us who don’t pay much attention to birds will get excited at the sight of an owl. The Barred Owl, is a recent new-comer to Washington and to Edmonds. It was first recorded in the mountains of Pend Oreille County (northeast Washington) in 1965 and then reached Western Washington in 1973. It…

Bird Lore: Western Meadowlark

The melodious song of a meadowlark evokes images of spring on the prairies for many of us. We don’t use “Edmonds” and “meadowlark” in the same sentence very often. The Western Meadowlark is considered by birders to be a rare sight in Edmonds, even though it is a resident of prairies, pastures, and fields of…

Bird Lore: Red-breasted Merganser

The Red-breasted Merganser is a sea duck, meaning it prefers the salt water environment. In Washington it is a common winter resident of the near-shore marine waters. (Any male duck is called a drake and a female is a hen.) This photo is of a hen. We see many more Red-breasted Merganser hens along the…

Bird Lore: Red-winged Blackbird

The Red-winged Blackbird is widely distributed throughout North America. In summer it can even be found in parts of Alaska. It is considered to be one of the most abundant birds in North America with an estimated population of 190 million. The male has its characteristic red shoulder patches or epaulets that are trimmed with…

Bird Lore: Chestnut-backed Chickadee

The Chestnut-backed Chickadee is the smallest of the North American chickadee species and is a year-round resident of Edmonds. Its range includes most of the West Coast, as far north as Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula and as far south as Santa Barbara, Calif. Within its range, the Chestnut-backed Chickadee is common. Look for this bird high…

Bird Lore: Killdeer

LeRoy Van Hee captured a shot of this adult Killdeer at Olympic Beach Friday. According to Carol Riddell, curator of the Pilchuck Audubon Society display at the Olympic Ranger Station: The Killdeer is a year-round resident of Edmonds and the entire Puget Sound basin. It is a shorebird that is a generalist. It can be…