The Bird List

I wouldn't consider myself an "avid watcher of birds", but I see them all the time and am always curious to know what species I'm looking at. It's only one small additional step to keep a list. Of course, now that I have the list, I'll be more inclined to watch birds... so I guess I will be an avid watcher of birds before too long...

I've probably seen quite a few more bird species than are listed here, but it's difficult for me to confirm all those sightings as they happened years ago & my memories may be clouded. I'll continue to update the list as time passes. I've sorted this list similar to the A.O.U.'s standard North American Bird Checklist. My list contains 153 species as of 4-June-2005! (not the longest list, but hopefully I have a few years ahead of me!)

Name Date First Seen Location First Seen Comments
Common Loon 1980's Northern Minnesota An unmistakable call, I also saw one in Glacier National Park in 2001 along the CDT.
Horned Grebe 1980's Chicago area Seen during migration
White Pelican Not Sure Not Sure My most memorable sighting was in the everglades in winter, a whole flock of these came skimming a few feet above the water in a wing-tip to wing-tip formation - a long chain of pelicans that consisted of hundreds of birds. When they reached our canoe, the chain parted slightly then re-formed ahead of us.
Brown Pelican Not Sure Not Sure I've seen these many times, anywhere along the coast... there they are.
Double Crested Cormorant 1980's Chicago area I know I've seen these around Chicago & figure they were "double crested" simply because that's the only variety that lives in the midwest.
Herons and Bitterns
Black-crowned Night Heron 30-May-2005 Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, OR

A very nice sighting near Benson Pond, see photo.

Green Heron 1980's Chicago area Among other places, I've seen these on golf courses.
Cattle Egret Not Sure Not Sure I know I've seen these... I think in the Chicago area even...
Snowy Egret Not Sure Not Sure  
Great Egret Not Sure Not Sure  
Great Blue Heron 1970's Minnesota Seen these many times, but they're always impressive... so fragile, yet strong. click to enlarge
Ibises, Spoonbills
White-faced Ibis 29-May-2005 Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, OR Saw a group of them just off the road near diamond craters, then the next day, saw many more flying overhead near Benson Pond.
Ducks, Geese and Swans
Tundra Swan 1-February-2004 Sauvie Island, OR Saw a couple small groups flying overhead... a very distinctive shape.
Mute Swan Not Sure Not Sure Who hasn't seen one of these?
Snow Goose Not Sure Not Sure I recently saw a huge flock of these flying over my head as I drove across the country...
Canada Goose 1970's Everywhere I was once having a business dinner in Kirkland, WA with some Taiwanese salespeople, and they were fascinated with the tame Canadian Geese. They kept taking pictures of them and pointing.
Mallard 1970's Chicago area Who hasn't seen hundreds of these?
Gadwall April 2002 Green Lake, Seattle At first I thought they were just a phase of Mallard, but the more I looked, I realized they were too "regular" to be that. Saw a male & female
American Wigeon 2000 Seattle I believe I've seen these at Green Lake, but I should really double-check someday.
Eurasian Wigeon April 2002 Green Lake, Seattle Saw a male with a flock of American Widgeons. At first I thought it was a different phase or variation, but now I don't think so.
Northern Pintail 1980's Chicago area An easy duck to identify
Surf Scoter 26-Feb-2005 Neah Bay, WA While I was eating lunch in the new Cafe, a couple of these were floating in the bay outside.
Barrow's Goldeneye 5-Mar-2005 Packwood Lake, WA Distinguished from the Common Goldeneye by the shape of the wing pattern. Couldn't get too close to them though.
Common Goldeneye Not sure Not sure Many sightings
Bufflehead 5-May-2002 NW Oregon coast Who named this bird?
Northern Shoveler Not sure Not Sure Hmmm... I know I've seen these, just can't place the time & place.
Cinnamon Teal 30-June-2005 Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, OR In a pond along the roadside near Frenchglen, OR.
Common Merganser Not Sure Chicago Pretty sure I've seen these, have to confirm someday
Ruddy Duck Not Sure Not Sure Another easy duck to identify
New World Vultures
Turkey Vulture Not Sure Not Sure Often seen in Milpitas CA, circling above defunct tech companies
Hawks, Kites, Eagles
Osprey Not Sure Not Sure Seen them in many places, even saw one catch a fish in front of a bunch of fisherman on Green Lake
Northern Harrier Nov, 2001 New Mexico I've probably seen these before 2001, but I saw a couple skirting the ground along arroyos in southwest NM.
Golden Eagle 1990's Marin County, CA I've also seen one near Lake Tahoe, and a bunch of them along the CDT. Once in NM, I even spooked one out of a tree not 20 feet above my head... what a magnificent bird.
Bald Eagle 1980's Not Sure My favorite sighting had to be along the I-5 bridge in Seattle. One was hovering in the wind just above the roadway. It was such a neat sight it caused a small traffic jam. Photo is from Galiano to enlarge
Sharp-Shinned Hawk May 2004 Hillsboro, OR It was sitting on top of a car when I left work to go to lunch. It caught sight of me and flew across the street into a tree. What an unexpected treat.
Northern Goshawk July, 2001 Montana I think I've seen these on other occassions, but saw a few along the CDT.
Red-Tailed Hawk 1970's Chicago Area Most common hawk in the US... sometimes seems like the only hawk in the US. click to enlarge click to enlarge
American Kestrel 1970's Chicago Area Coming soon to a fence-post near you...
Merlin September 2001 Colorado, CDT Way up in the mountains... could have been prarie falcon, but I don't thinks so. Saw many falcons flying around...
Peregrine Falcon November 2003 Heceta Head, Oregon coast. I've probably seen these from a distance before, but they're difficult to identify way up in the air. I finally was able to confirm this sighting thanks to a pair of birders who had their spotting scope trained on the bird. I was right at the lighthouse, and the bird was perched on top of a rock formation about 100 yards to the north. This isn't the best photo, but it was a long way away! I've added a link to another photo of a captive bird I saw at the Seattle (Woodland Park) to enlarge click to enlarge
Partridges, Grouse, Turkeys
Chukar 29-May-2005 Leslie Gulch, OR Man, these are noisy!... especially echoing in the narrow canyons of Leslie Gulch. I feel a little odd counting an introduced species, but I guess it counts...
Ring-Necked Pheasant 1970's Chicago Area Common in any field
Wild Turkey 1999 California, PCT Among other sightings, saw a flock cross the trail in front of me in the Big Bear area of So. Cal.
Blue Grouse 1999 California, PCT Flushed many off the trail, difficult to identify other than by range. I'm sure I've seen other Grouse species too, but it's tough to differentiate them.
White Tailed Ptarmigan September, 2000 Mt. Pugh, WA They were walking around, just off the trail. They were just starting to turn white. Have seen many times since - a fascinating bird to watch.
California Quail 1999 California, PCT Have seen along the PCT as well.
Rails, Gallinules, Coots
American Coot 1970's Chicago area Water rats...
Lapwings, Plovers
Killdeer 1970's Chicago area I know I've seen other species, but have to confirm to enlarge
Black Oystercatcher 1990's Marin County, CA First seen near Pt. Reyes I think... Photo is from Galiano Island. click to enlarge
Stilts, Avocets
American Avocet Not Sure Not Sure I only know that I have seen these - easy to identify.
Black-Necked Stilt 2001 Orange County, CA In a sea-shore wetland.
Sandpipers, Phalaropes
Ruddy Turnstone Not Sure Not Sure I definately remember seeing this one because it was unexpected and easy to identify. Might have been in the Chicago area during migration.
Skuas, Gulls, Terns, Skimmers
Herring Gull 1980's Chicago area Common around Lake Michigan
Pigeons, Doves
Rock Dove 1970's Chicago area Your average city pigeon... hey! it counts!
Mourning Dove 1970's Chicago area Common in the area.
Inca Dove March 2003 Sun City West, AZ A pair of these were hanging out amongst the Mourning Doves, which are much more common in the area. Very distinctive wing & tail colors.
Barn Owl Not Sure Not Sure Seen while golfing at dusk somewhere...
Great Horned Owl 1980's Chicago area Also seen on a golf course
Great Grey Owl 1999 Oregon, PCT Great sighting. It was a misty evening, and the owl flew along the trail, landed and waited for me to catch-up. I even got a photo!
Northern Saw-whet Owl 1999 California, PCT In Seiad Valley near the Klamath River, a group of them kept me up for hours with their soft whistles.
Barred Owl 1999 Washington, PCT Heard, but not seen... The most beautiful owl-song I've heard as I descended to White Pass along the PCT.
Burrowing Owl 1990's San Jose, CA Some of these were nesting in field that was later churned-up and turned into Cisco's world headquarters.
Nighthawks, Nightjars
Common Nighthawk 1970's Chicago area These used to feed on the insects that swarmed the streetlight outside our house. Saw some along the CDT too - in the Leadore area.
Ruby-Throated Hummingbird 1980's Chicago area Hummingbirds are so hard to identify. Only know the ruby-throat as it's the only eastern US species.
Rufous Hummingbird 2000's Pacific Northwest Numerous sightings. Photo is from the lower slopes of Dog Mountain in Washington State.
Belted Kingfisher Not Sure Not Sure Favorite sighting was near Carnation, WA. I watched one kingfisher near the Snoqualmie River for about 20 minutes while I waited for some people to show up.
Red-Headed Woodpecker 1980's Chicago area Easily identified.
Acorn Woodpecker 1999 California, PCT Saw many "acorn woodpecker trees" and a few birds in southern CA.
Northern Flicker Not Sure Not Sure A pretty common bird, I've seen both the yellow-shafted and red-shafted varieties... and picked-up a few orange feathers.
Red-breasted Sapsucker 2000 Nooksack River, WA Saw one on a tree at a trailhead parking area.
Downy Woodpecker 1970's Chicago area First woodpecker I reckon I ever saw.
Hairy Woodpecker Not Sure Not Sure Have seen many times...
White-headed Woodpecker 13-March-2006 Methow Valley, WA I stopped skiing to put on my coat, and first heard, then spotted this female, busily pecking wood - how original!
Pileated Woodpecker 1999 California, PCT Barely got a glimpse the first time, have had really good sightings around Seattle since then.
Tyrant Flycatchers
Western Wood-Pewee 30-May-2005 Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, OR Pretty sure this is the bird, it's rather drab and has no good distinctive markings, but I don't know what else it could be.
Eastern Kingbird 1980's Chicago area Seen many of these... usually attacking hawks, etc...
Loggerhead Shrike 1999 California, PCT Just north of the Palm Springs area... have had other sightings since.
Crows, Jays
Blue Jay 1970's Chicago area One of those birds you just "see" growing up in Chicago
Stellar's Jay 1990's California Common in the woods
Gray Jay 1997 Washington Common on any popular hiking trail
Clark's Nutcracker 1999 California, PCT On top of a tall tree, whistling. Have had many sightings since then.
Western Scrub Jay 2001 New Mexico, CDT Various sightings
Pinyon Jay 2001 New Mexico, CDT Saw a few large flocks (hundreds of birds) that would pass close overhead 2 or 3 at a time, softly calling to eachother - a neat thing.
Black-Billed Magpie Not Sure Not Sure Seen many along roadsides, etc.
American Crow 1970's Chicago area They're everywhere...
Common Raven 1997 Hurricane Ridge, WA The first time I saw one, I was really excited, I've seen hundreds since then though... still an entertaining bird.
Horned Lark June 2004 Mt. Townsend, WA I saw this bird on top of Mt. Townsend at ~6,000 ft elevation, and was sure it had to be some kind of exotic species. Alas, upon consultation with the book, it was just a Horned Lark. Oh well, still a new sighting... though I may have seen one when I was younger - not sure about to enlarge
Tree Swallow Not Sure Not Sure Various sightings click to enlarge
Cliff Swallow 1999 California, PCT  
Barn Swallow 1970's Chicago area Common
Wrentit May 2004 Coast of Oregon I was hiking through thick brush right along the coast when I spotted one of these about 5ft from me. You don't always need binoculars to identify new birds!
Chickadees, Titmice
Tufted Titmouse 1980's Chicago area  
Black-capped Chickadee 1970's Chicago area Common
Mountain Chickadee 1997 Cascades  
Chestnut-backed Chickadee 2000 Cascades Didn't realize it was a different species till I was leafing through a book one day.
Bushtit 2000 Seattle Flocks live in the bushes, nearly unseen. Man, they're so small!
Brown Creeper 1999 California, PCT Have had other sightings too.
White-Breasted Nuthatch 1980's Chicago area Many sightings
Red-Breasted Nuthatch 1999 California, PCT Other sightings too.
House Wren 1980's Chicago area  
Winter Wren 1997 Kirkland, WA My cat used to catch these in the bushes behind my apartment. She'd usually bring them inside alive & they'd fly around... Photos is from Zigzag mtn in OR.
Bewick's Wren 2000 Seattle, WA In a bush behind my house
Cactus Wren March 2003 Sun City West, AZ Hanging out among the cactus & golf courses.

Rock Wren

29-May-2005 Leslie Gulch, OR

I'm assuming this is a Rock Wren, more by process of elimination than anything else. If you think I'm wrong, let me know!

American Dipper 1999 California, PCT Many sightings since
Golden-Crowned Kinglet 1980's Chicago area  
Ruby-Crowned Kinglet 2001 Orange County, CA A female, hovering around some bushes near a hiking trail.
Mountain Bluebird 2001 Montana, CDT Saw quite a few in Montana
Townsend's Solitare April, 2002 Foss Creek, WA It was hopping from branch to branch, the colorations on the wings were quite striking. This was at about 2000 feet elevation, below the snow-line.
This photo is from the western slopes of Mt. Hood (Yocum Ridge). I know these are not rare birds, but for all the time I spend in the mountains, I rarely see them. This was one of a larger group that were flitting among the to enlarge
Wood Thrush 1980's Chicago area  
Swainson's Thrush 2001 Montana, CDT What a beautiful song
Varied Thrush 1998 Cascades, WA To hear them in the spring in the northwest forest is to know things are OK. They are the icing of the to enlarge
American Robin 1970's Chicago area The Ubiquibird
Mockingbirds, Thrashers
Gray Catbird 1980's Chicago area  
Northern Mockingbird not sure not sure Have seen often
European Starling 1970's Chicago area How many thousands of these have I seen?
Cedar Waxwing 1980's Chicago area Lately, I've been seeing them acting like flycatchers... very strange, I had thought they only ate berries, but I guess one has to be opportunistic to survive! click to enlarge
Wood Warblers
Orange-crowned Warbler 5-May-2002 Oregon Coast One was singing in the rain, about 15 feet overhead, occassionally swooping down lower. Song was a two-tone high then low vibrato.
Yellow-Rumped Warbler 1980's not sure Seen before, but I saw a bunch of them in a wetland area near Hillsboro, OR. They were flitting among the treetops.
Hermit Warbler 4-June-2005 Zigzag Mountina, OR

Heard quite a few of them signing in the trees, finally got a clear view, and an unambiguous identification, as you can see.

Yellow Warbler 1999 California, PCT I've had other sightings, but saw a dead one along the PCT. Photo is from the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, June 2005.
Common Yellowthroat 4-May-2002 Hillsboro, OR Good sighting in wetland area. It flew out to catch a fly, then flew back to a bush a few feet above the ground.
American Redstart 1980's not sure  
Scarlet Tanager 1980's Chicago area  
Western Tanager 1999 California, PCT  
Emberizids (Sparrows, etc)
Eastern Towhee 1980's Chicago area  
Spotted Towhee April 2002 Coal Creek, WA Didn't this used to be called the Rufous-sided Towhee???click to enlarge
Chipping Sparrow 1980's Chicago area  
Lark Sparrow not sure not sure  
Song Sparrow 2002 Coal Creek, WA Probably seen before... Very common in the NW click to enlarge
White-crowned sparrow 1980's Chicago area  
Golden-Crowned Sparrow 4-May-2002 Hillsboro, OR Good sighting at wetland area. Sitting on a low branch. Only saw one though.
Dark-eyed Junco 1980's Chicago area Very common in mountains everywhere & throughout the west.
Snow Bunting 6-November-2004 Marys Peak, OR Saw this one pecking on a gravel road near the summit of Marys Peak. It was a bit more drab than "the book", but that's fairly common. I think this is a female with winter plumage.
Rose-Breasted Grosbeak 1980's Chicago area  
Black-Headed Grosbeak 1999 California, PCT In Kamp Anza
Northern Cardinal 1970's Chicago area I miss hearing them
Eastern Meadowlark 1980's Chicago area  
Western Meadowlark 2001 Montana, CDT  
Red-Winged Blackbird 1970's Chicago area Very common
Common Grackle 1970's Chicago area Very common
Great-tailed Grackle March 2003 Sun City West, AZ Dang noisy things!
Brewer's Blackbird 1980's Not Sure A common bird
Brown-headed Cowbird 1970's Chicago Area Another common bird
Bullock's Oriole 27-June-2004 Sauvie Island, OR A nice surprise... here's the photographic evidence! click to enlarge
Gray-Crowned Rosy Finch 1-June-2002 Olympic Peninsula, Washington I've seen these before, but never bothered to identify them. I saw this one during a climb of "The Brothers".
Cassin's Finch 8-June-2002 Goat Rocks Wilderness, WA In the valley of the South Fork Tieton River
Purple Finch not sure Pacific Northwest A common bird
House Finch not sure not sure Common bird
Pine Grosbeak 20-November-2004 Mt. Ararat, WA I may have seen them before, but this was a great sighting - a small flock of ~12 birds both male & female, feeding on beargrass seeds, sticking up above the snow. They seemed so "at home".
American Goldfinch 1970's Chicago area

They're also quite common in the Portland, OR to enlarge

Lesser Goldfinch Spring 2005 Hillsboro, OR

At a bird feeder in Hillsboro.

Common Redpoll 1980's Chicago area A winter visitor
Old World Sparrows
House Sparrow 1970's Chicago area Way too common

Back to