Posted by: atowhee | April 29, 2015


At Avenue G Ponds west of White City this morning the male Great-tailed Grackle was ina tree proclaiming his supremacy. His mate was foraging in the marsh nearby. They are vanguard of the latest avian invasion from the south as Jackson County’s avian population continues to gather new species coming up from California.GTG FEML (1280x960)

GTG MALE (1280x960)

The combination of heavy human-caused habitat change and climate change are making southern Oregon evermore comfortable for some adaptable species, mostly from California. The grackles began their invasion from the southwest a couple decades back.



Some highlights of changes in local bird populations since 1975 and the publication of “The Distribution and Occurrence of the Birds of Jackson County, Oregon.”

Canada Goose      1975: “very common to uncommon migrant and winter resident”

Now: abundant year-round resident

White-tailed Kite: 1975: no record
Now: breeding resident in grasslands where voles are plentiful

Red-shouldered Hawk 1975: no record

Now: common breeding, permanent resident in several habitats

Wild Turkey         1975: no record; later introduced

Now: abundant breeding resident in oak and deciduous forest

Eurasian Collared-Dove   1975: not present anywhere in North America until 1980s

Now: now abundant residents in low elevation manmade habitats

Burrowing Owl      1975: “formerly bred throughout the county”

Now: rare wintering bird

Barred Owl         1975: no record

Now: present as breeding population in some suburban areas

Anna’s Hummingbird        1975: “rare winter visitor and a regular uncommon summer visitor”

Now: year-round resident (males) and common low elevation breeder

Black Phoebe              1975: “rare regular summer resident”

Now: year-round resident in riparian habitat

Horned Lark                1975: “fairly common permanent resident in the White City area”

Now: rare visitor

Purple Martin             1975: “formerly nested in dead snags on the shore of Hyatt Reservoir until the snags were removed about 1960.”

Now: being encouraged to nest around Denman WMA

Starling                        1975: arrived in 1954

Now: one of the most abundant birds in Jackson County

Great-tailed Grackle   1975: no record

Now: summer breeding bird at Denman WMA, first Christmas Count record in Medford, 2014.

Ken Denman WMA–Ave. G Ponds, Jackson, US-OR
Apr 29, 2015 10:10 AM – 10:55 AM.  14 species

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)  16
Gadwall (Anas strepera)  4
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)  20
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)  1
Green-winged Teal (Anas crecca)  2
American Bittern (Botaurus lentiginosus)  1
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)  1
Sora (Porzana carolina)  1
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)  20
Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis)  15
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)  6
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)  60
Western Meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta)  15
Great-tailed Grackle (Quiscalus mexicanus)  2



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