All About Birds: We have plenty of fantastic birdwatching

The dock at the Willapa Wildlife Refuge is a beautiful setting at sunset. This area around the refuge headquarters on U.S. Highway 101 between the Peninsula and Naselle is a great place to observe birds.

Although various species of birds continue with the spring migration through our area, the major bird activity is now shifting to nest building. Pay close attention as you drive or hike around the Peninsula, and you will see birds carrying sticks and twigs and other nest-building materials. Another indicator of this shift in activity is the increase in the sound of birds singing as they go about their mating rituals.

Wrens, warblers, thrushes, towhees, chickadees and woodpeckers are a few of the kinds of birds that are easy to spot this time of year. Head for the forested areas around Pacific Pines and Loomis Lake to spot songbirds in general. Cape Disappointment, especially the woods around Beards Hollow, is a great place to observe wrens and warblers. Towhees and pileated woodpeckers can be observed around Fort Columbia. The headquarters area of the Willapa National Refuge is a great place to watch flycatchers, thrushes and chickadees.

For more detailed descriptions of when and where to look for various kinds of birds on the Peninsula, see “A Guide To Birding in Pacific County,” published by the Discovery Coast Audubon Society (DCAS). If you don’t have a copy yet, you can order one by going to www.discoverycoastaudubon.com or 106 24th St. NE, Long Beach.

If you would like to help gather data regarding nesting birds, you can participate by joining Nestwatch, a program sponsored by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology to monitor trends in nesting biology. Volunteers collect data such as nest site location, species, number of eggs and so on. Participation leads to increased understanding of birds and bird conservation issues. For more information, go to https://secure3.birds.cornell.edu/Page.aspx?pid=2146.

Another fun way to observe nesting birds is by connecting with websites monitoring nests with web cams. There aren’t any currently active in the local area, but there is a well-known link monitoring fledgling eagles in Portland. Go to http://www.kgw.com/home/related/KGW-Audubon-Raptor-Cam.html. Also, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife runs a website called “Wild Watch Cams” that provides links to numerous bird observation sites. You can tap into this fun resource by going to www.wdfw.wa.gov/wildwatch.

Don’t know a wren from a warbler, or a towhee from a chickadee? Boy, do we have the classes for you! Each month the DCAS chapter sponsors classes on bird identification and bird behavior. Free one-hour sessions are conducted at the Lighthouse Resort at 2 p.m. on the last Tuesday of each month, and a brief portion of the regular meeting is devoted to bird identification as well. The membership meetings are held at the PUD building on the second Monday of each month at    7 p.m. For more information, go to www.discoverycoastaudubon.com.

While you’re out and about, enjoying the experience that birding in this wonderful place provides, please keep in mind that DCAS works in conjunction with the Wildlife Rehab Center to care for injured birds. If you come across an injured bird, please contact us at 642-1310 for assistance in providing transport to the Rehab Center.

We always enjoy feedback from our readers, and if you have suggestions or comments regarding this column or birding in general, please drop us a line.

We are currently exploring the possibility of creating a bird festival on the Peninsula, and would be especially grateful for any comments you may have on the subject.


All About Birds is a report on  Peninsula bird activity by the Discovery Coast Audubon Society.

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