Tag: bird watching

A black turnstone surveying its surroundings on a rainy day

Leave No Stone Unturned when Searching for this Shorebird

As winter gives way to spring, migratory marine birds are journeying north to Arctic breeding grounds, including numerous species of ducks, alcids, loons, gulls and shorebirds. The latter consists of birds that live on sandy or rocky beaches and mudflats. Some shorebirds are … read more

A male bufflehead shows his array of colors on a sunny day.

The Smallest Diving Duck is Big on Spirit

With winter fast approaching, West Sound’s waterways are increasingly teeming with ducks that breed in the Arctic. For them, the ice-free waters of Washington feel like the tropics. Ducks come in various shapes, sizes and colors. They are split into two groups: dabbling … read more

A Steller's jay in a backyard looking for a snack

West Sound’s ‘Blue Jays’ Aren’t Blue Jays

Every West Sound birder has heard it. Someone claiming to have seen a blue jay. Yes, the individual saw a “blue jay,” but it was likely not a bona fide blue jay, a common species in the central and eastern United States and … read more

A Caspian tern with a fish after a successful dive

It’s the Season to Tern, Tern, Tern

The summer months bring numerous visitors to West Sound’s shorelines. Some enjoy beach walks, while others prefer a picnic. Boats abound and kites fly high. The wintering waterfowl have long since departed and are raising their families in the sunny Arctic. Marine birds … read more

An adult male pileated woodpecker feeds peanut butter suet to a juvenile male.

This Forest Icon is the Last of its Kind

When it comes to majestic birds, people often think of bald eagles and trumpeter swans. But would anyone call a woodpecker majestic? The 1800s and early 1900s were a period of unprecedented destruction across North America. Colossal forests were completely decimated to harvest … read more

A male bushtit carries lichen for nesting material by Long Lake near Port Orchard.

The Pint-Sized Powerhouse of Structural Engineering

Small songbirds are easy to overlook. Most people will notice a bald eagle on a pole but will miss a little gray bird in a nearby shrub. In the world of birds, the largest ones will always make a lasting impression. Someone seeing … read more

A male varied thrush surveys its snowy surroundings.

The Varied Thrush Provides a Respite from the Winter Doldrums

Some people look forward to winter because they enjoy snow sports. Fans of NFL football love the playoffs. Others appreciate a reason to wear flannel and sip hot chocolate by a cozy fire. Birders see winter as the time to bundle up and … read more

An American dipper finds a tasty salmon egg in Chico Creek near Bremerton.

The Aquatic Songbird that Makes a Splash

Songbirds are not just frequent visitors to gardens and birdhouses. They are everywhere. Some species, like the dark-eyed junco, are ubiquitous, adapting to various environments. But others have special habitat requirements. For example, marsh wrens need marshes and sagebrush sparrows need sagebrush. A … read more

Heermann’s gull in nonbreeding plumage strolls the beach at Point No Point County Park in Hansville.

Not Your Average ‘Seagull’

A little-known fact, outside the world of birding, is that there is no such bird as a “seagull.” Rather, the term “seagull” is an informal name given to any member of the Laridae (Greek for “ravenous seabird”) family. Gulls, as they are correctly … read more

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