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Rufous Has Left Us, Anna’s Still Here

Anna's Hummingbird, female, Dec. 2012.

The Rufous Hummingbirds have left for their winter homes in Mexico, but there are Anna’s Hummingbirds still hanging about that have chosen to remain in the Pacific Northwest throughout the winter. As summer turns to fall the outdoor temperatures can vary from hot to cool to cold, so if you hope to keep an Anna’s or two hanging around in ... Read More »

Birding at the Barrier Dam on the Cowlitz River

Great Blue Heron, Barrier Dam, Cowlitz River

You don’t have to step one foot in the water or even bring your fishing rod to enjoy the Barrier Dam area of the Cowlitz River, where fishing is often an entertaining spectator sport. There is also a great variety of interesting birds to watch: Great Blue Herons, Bald Eagles, Belted Kingfishers, American Dippers, gulls and other LBJs (little brown jobs) ... Read More »

Yellow Jackets Plentiful This Year (Unfortunately!)

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It seems to me that I have been seeing more wasps this year than before. DNR agrees. Why are there so many this year? DNR explains: This year seems to be a banner year for yellow jackets, bald faced hornets, and similar stinging insects. It may be related to the cool, spring conditions that boosted the population of aphids, a ... Read More »

Winlock Neighbors Rescue Seven Bald Eagles; Release First Recovered Bird into the Wild

Campbell hold the eagle in her arms for a few long minutes, hoping to allow the young bird to familiarize himself to the surroundings before she lets him go.

WINLOCK — “Building a region where people and wildlife flourish together” is the motto and guiding principle of the Audubon Society of Portland — a lofty goal, to say the least, and a worthy goal. It’s a goal to which the neighbors on rural Harkins Road in Winlock, WA, had already aspired — perhaps without spelling it out, perhaps without even knowing ... Read More »

Rufous Hummingbirds: Tiny, Brave, Relentlessly Aggressive

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It has been nearly two weeks since the first of the Rufous Hummingbirds were spotted in Lewis County, returning from the winter vacation in Mexico and beyond. They are known as the “feistiest hummingbird in North America” because of the way they aggressively defend their territory from invaders and unwillingness to concede even an inch of “their” space at the ... Read More »

American Dipper, the Aquatic Songbird

American Dipper, Cowlitz River, Barrier Dam

He swims, he sings; he dips, he dives, he dances a little jig. The American Dipper, North America’s only truly aquatic songbird, is also one of the most charismatic river-dwelling species. You can find an American Dipper doing his funny little dance nearly every day of the year at the Cowlitz River at the Barrier Dam boat launch outside Salkum. Take ... Read More »

Wednesday Walks at Nisqually NWR

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Every Wednesday morning at 8 a.m., local experts and amateur birders meet at the visitor’s center to take a walk together down the boardwalk of the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge. They’re a great group of people who’d love for you to join them. Group leaders carry spotting scopes (one-eyed binoculars set on a tripod) and allow to use them to ... Read More »

Looking for Northern Flickers? Find Their Friends

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My children have learned to tolerate my love of the wild birds and will sometimes point out interesting sightings. “There’s a whole herd of birds out there, but they’re just Starlings,” my eldest son said, pointing out the window into the side yard grass. “It’s a , dear, a murmeration of Starlings,” I said, trying to impress him with my ... Read More »

Homemade Treats Help Wild Birds Stay Warm

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During harsh winter cold snaps it’s important for our backyard birds to have high-quality, high-calorie meals to keep their weight up and keep them warm. This recipe is a proven favorite of backyard birds — from the smallest Chickadee to the largest Western Scrub Jay — and can be made from ingredients you probably already have in your pantry. Set ... Read More »

Songbirds for Supper

A feral cat discovers a songbird banquet table outside my window.

Feeding the birds takes on a whole new meaning when your songbird feeding station turns into a accipiter banquet table. Earlier this week I found a pile of Dark-eyed Junco feathers beneath my feeders, evidence that either a Sharp-shinned Hawk or a Cooper’s Hawk had dined there. (Both hawks prefer to pluck their prey before eating.) Then just yesterday I ... Read More »

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