Neighborhood Birds with a Twist

If you visit this blog on any kind of regular basis you know that I enjoy hiking through my neighborhood and down to the Willamette River below our house.  We live on the edge of a woodland that borders this major Oregonian river, so even though we live in an urban area we get to see a great variety of wildlife.  I took the following photos (and a movie) during one trip I took last Friday.  Every trip is a bit different, and that’s what keeps it interesting.

I walked out the door and this little one was chirping up a storm in my cherry tree.  This Anna’s Hummingbird spends a lot of time in our yard.  We don’t have a feeder but I’ve seen it eating on a lot of our plants throughout the year, including some flowers that were a bit wilted.

Next door was this Steller’s Jay.  I love watching them jump from the tree tops and glide towards another tree all while cackling at the top of their lungs.

One more house down I found this Northern Flicker at the top of an old oak tree.  I see these birds all the time, but it is hard to get tired of their interesting, elaborate coloring.

A bit further along I found this Song Sparrow atop a large blackberry thicket.  Again, a very common bird, and again I still can’t help but photograph them whenever I see them.  I usually find them facing me, so I really like the view of its back in this photo.

From this point I started climbing down through the woods to the river.  Then things got a bit more interesting…

Well, still a common bird- the Red-tailed Hawk.  But it was still a thrill to get close to it and hear it shrieking at close range- check out the movie below.

Did you notice it lighten its load before it flew away?

Turning my head, I noticed this Downy Woodpecker.  And below it…

…was a White-breasted Nuthatch.  This wasn’t my best photo, but on a cloudy day sometimes it’s hard to get a good shot of the birds that won’t stop moving.  The next photo is a better example of this.

It’s a very blurry photo of a Winter Wren.  It is a striking bird, but it stayed in the shadows and wouldn’t sit still!

Further along the river is my favorite spot- the Great Blue Heron rookery.  As I’ve been posting, the herons have recently returned.  This is also a great spot to find Belted Kingfishers (they love the tree in the foreground hanging over the river), mergansers, cormorants, geese, Bald Eagles, etc.

But this time of year the herons dominate this setting.  In a couple of months we’ll hear the loud roar of the hatchlings as they scream for more food from their parents.

From here it is a walk straight up through the woods to my backyard.  It’s become my weekly routine, but it never gets boring.

  1. That’s a great variety of birds to see on one walk. My favorite would be the hummingbird – because we don’t have anything like it out here. The river with all the waterbirds would also be fascinating.

  2. I enjoyed the photos. It’s pretty cool you get Anna’s Hummingbird as a yard bird without a feeder. But virtually the entire Oregon population depends on feeders in the winter, so I bet there are a few feeders in your neighborhood. The first record for Oregon was back in the 1950’s, and they’ve been spreading ever since. Now’s the time of year when Rufous Hummingbirds start reappearing, so get those feeders out.

    1. Good question. It might be food since it looks like it has something attached to the end of its beak in some of my photos. But, I never saw it pecking at the branch and it only sat there for a short time.

  3. You are so lucky that you live where you can see such a variety n your neighborhood Mike. Even a Winter Wren! Those pesky wrens never sit still for long do they?

    Nice defecation video the Red-tailed Hawk 😉 You can always tell when a raptor is going to “lighten its load” when it assumes that tail up pose, especially after they turn around after facing you.

    I am now envious of your Steller’s Jay since I haven’t gotten my usual Steller visitors this winter. I wonder where they are?

    OK, let us know, why don’t you have a hummingbird feeder up? You might be missing lots of hummers!

    1. Why no hummingbird feeder? Mostly just because I never got around to it! We’ve had a resident Anna’s for the past few years (probably not always the same bird, I’m sure), and that’s kept me happy. Next winter I’ll be sure to get one put up.

  4. Awesome bird walk – we have to travel to the interior of BC to get the White-breasted Nuthatch. Love the red-tailed hawk call … or was it a bald eagle 🙂 Why do they always use that call when showing bald eagles in movies?!?

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