Birdathon 2015

Birding is hard. Fundraising is hard.

But they’re both important, so I’ve joined Audubon’s Birdathon 2015

This Saturday, I’m owling from before sunrise to beyond sunset on team Put an Owl on It. Our goal is to find six target species by the end of the day: Northern Saw-whet Owl, Northern Pygmy-Owl, Great Horned Owl, Western Screech-Owl, Barred Owl, and Barn Owl.

For the owls

For the owls

AND

On May 23rd, I’m sitting all day on The Great Big Sit team at Crystal Springs Rhododendron Gardens! I’m even guiding this one, eek! (maybe you’d like to join me?)

“Audrey Addison and Donald Gibson will be your guides as you give your legs a rest and your eyes a treat on a leisurely morning at the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden. Bring your lawn chair, binoculars and snacks, sit back, and relax as the birds come to you in this beautiful botanical sanctuary. You’ll learn to identify many of the 35 – 50 species that frequent this idyllic setting. ”

Sitting at Crystal Springs

For the sitting

Consider donating to either and/or both teams! My target goals are low, so every donation makes a big difference. It all goes to a great cause: bird protection and care, and education for people.

Donate to Put an Owl on it HERE, donate to The Great Big Sit HERE.

To those that have already donated, you know who you are! – Much love and thanks!!

For the birds.

Tweets and chirps,

Audrey

Commonwealth Lake Park and Cedar Mill Wetlands

Aside from Moody’s bill, my trip to Commonwealth Lake Park last weekend was fantastic. Bird-word on the street is that Green Herons nest here, plus, this spot is close to Cedar Mill Wetlands where the BirdsEye app shows a Rufous Hummingbird visited two days prior (!!).

The first bird I saw though, was a warbler!

Orange-crowned Warbler

The uniform yellow-green color, sharp pointy bill, and invisible orange crown leads to Orange-crowned Warbler! Super cute in a non-descript sort of way.

The park was thriving with Yellow-rumped Warblers as well, and now I realize, as my birder-mentor and friend, Laura Whittemore, pointed out, some are a little different than others I’ve seen before this trip.

Yellow-throat:

Yellow-rumped Warbler Audubon's

Not yellow throat!

Yellow-rumped Warbler Myrtle

Yellow-rumped Warbler Myrtle

Yellow-rumped Warbler Myrtle

All are Yellow-rumped Warblers, however there are two varieties: Audubon’s Warbler that has the yellow throat, and the Myrtle Warbler that has a white throat, white eye-stripe, and contrasting cheek. According to Wikipedia, the two populations likely diverged during the last ice age. Nowadays, these abundant warblers are considered “conspecific” or belonging to the same species. Who doesn’t love challenging warbler identification?

An easy ID was this Green Heron. So dang thrilling.

Green Heron

few other birds I saw at Commonwealth Lake Park included Barn Swallows (that nested under the small lake dock!), Great Egret, and Mallard (with a chick!).

I then traveled to Cedar Mill Wetlands with the hopes of a Rufous encounter – spoiler alert, while I was flashed briefly by what I think was an orange-red gorget of the Rufous Hummingbird, I didn’t get another look or photo to confirm.

I did, however, get pictures of Green-winged Teal, Gadwall, Northern Shoveler, Spotted Towhee, Red-breasted Sapsucker, Song Sparrow, lovey-dovey Mourning Doves, and a few other birds.

Acutally I think the lovey-doves deserve more attention. Maybe put on some soft music, light some candles, viewer discretion advised, kids.

Mourning Doves

Mourning Doves

Mourning Doves

Mourning Doves

So Tweet!

Audrey

Too cute not to share

One side effect of being open (and verbal) about my birding is that friends and family share their bird stories and pictures with me. I love it. An adorable example is from my friend and coworker, Mark Grassberger, who recently figured out which small, energetic, brown bird with a white eye-stripe had moved in right outside his back door.

Mark’s photos he shared:

Bewick's Wren

Bewick's Wren

Bewick's Wren

Bewick's Wren

It’s none other than the Bewick’s Wren! And not just one, but a little Bewick’s family.

Mark’s mom gifted him the little wooden house, he plopped it outside on a shelf by the back door, forgot about it, and poof, the Bewick’s moved in this spring. I was surprised to learn that Bewick’s Wrens are cavity nesters, who, according to Cornell, will also nest in “rock crevices and ledges, brush piles, abandoned woodpecker nest cavities, outbuildings, nest boxes, and abandoned automobiles.” Full disclosure: I’m relieved to find out it was a native bird that nested in the bird palace.

The best description of these perky birds comes from Robert Ridgway, in 1889 Ornithology of Illinois, who stated “No bird more deserves the protection of man than Bewick’s Wren. He does not need man’s encouragement, for he comes of his own accord and installs himself as a member of the community, wherever it suits his taste. He is found about the cowshed and barn along with the Pewee and Barn Swallow; he investigates the pig-sty; then explores the garden fence, and finally mounts to the roof and pours forth one of the sweetest songs that ever was heard.”

Indeed, this Bewick’s family boldly made themselves a part of the Portland community and I’m happy Mark and his family welcomed them in.

Tweets and chirps,

Audrey