The year in birds

Birds make us free. In their comings and goings, they vocalize and perform the turning of the year and the seasons. We imagine the journeys of migrants to and from exotic places, and when they come back, we are complete. The ones who stay with us are our constant friends.

A few days ago, Black-headed Grosbeaks were heard. Shortly thereafter Western Tanagers chirped. Today, May 9, 2016 I heard the spiraling song of the Swainson’s Thrush in its usual place in the woods. Aahh, spring can begin.

There are a couple not yet seen or heard – I saw on the Mid-Valley birder’s list that Western Wood Pewees have returned. I think I heard a Pacific Slope Flycatcher, but not the Pewee yet. Still listening for a  Wrentit and Chipping Sparrow (probably here but not seen yet). Hermit Thrushs may have stopped off, but they are very low profile.

As one group moves in we hear or see them constantly. Then the chorus changes to another. Such a delight!

The lineup so far:

House wren

American Goldfinch

Evening Grosbeak (one of the first returnees)

Common Yellowthroat

Orange-crowned Warbler

White-crowned Sparrow

Golden-crowned Sparrow (may have moved on to higher altitude or latitude)

Purple Finch

Rufous Hummingbird

Black-Throated Gray Warbler

Wilson’s Warbler

Hutton’s Vireo

Cassin’s Vireo


Hairy Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker (?)

Western Scrub hay

Red-Breasted Sapsucker

Oregon Junco

Winter/Pacific Wren

Song Sparrow

Red-Shafted Flicker (finally moved out of the veranda by the shop into the snags in the woods)

Steller’s Jay (not hogging the feeders anymore)

Red-Breasted Nuthatch

Chestnut-Backed Chickadee

Black-Capped Chickadee

Mourning Dove

American Robin (always the last to bed, and the first up)

Great-Horned Owl

Pygmy Owl

Western Screech Owl

Saw-Whet Owl

Brown Creeper

White-Breasted Nuthatch (not seen this year yet)

California quail (have been here in the past, at the neighbors’ this year)

Ruby-Crowned Kinglet (moved on)

Golden-Crowned Kinglet (moved on?)

Bushtits (moved on?)

Varied Thrush (moved on)

Red-Tailed Hawk

Turkey Vulture

Cooper’s/Sharp-Shinned Hawk (occasionally hunting at the feeders)


Barn Owl

Common Raven

Geese – Cackling, Greater White-Fronted migrated recently northwesterly


Mallard – visited our pond, then left. It never measures up

In the neighborhood, or at the neighbors

American Kestrel

Northern Harrier

Eurasian Collared Dove

Great Blue Heron

Western Bluebirds





2 thoughts on “The year in birds

  1. I’ve been enjoying the songbirds at Mom’s place in GV, though many have moved on. If you see my red pickup there, stop by. — Cliff


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