Posted by: atowhee | February 3, 2022


Thanks to Polk County Soil & Water Conservation District I got to bird with a handful of fine birders at the Cornerstone Preserve in the foothills a few miles west of Baskett Slough. Cornerstone is nearly 100 acres. The habitat there is oak groves, oak chaparral, rapirian corridor along a small creek that is probably seasonal, tiny pond, re-naturalizing hillside pastures, fragments of abandoned apple orchard, hilltop Doug-fir stand planted a few decades back. We hope to be offering birding field trips at both Cornerstone a nd Smithfield Oaks this spring.

As we started to walk into the preserve from the parking area I said to myself, then out-loud later, “Looks like great Wrentit habitat to me.” The species is widely distributed in the Willamette Valley but not found in many places because of their absolute need for permanent thickets with good food supply and no pesticides.

Nearly every species we saw we also heard, full songs from some–Bewick’s Wren, kinglet, Wrentit, Purple Finch. For years I loved to say that the Wrentit was the “American Babbler.” Taxonomy now says they are members of the Paradoxornithidae family, parrotbills. So the only “American Parrotbill” as all the other family members, cousins and such, are native to Asia.

Cornerstone preserve–Polk SWCD, Polk, Oregon, US
Feb 3, 2022
20 species

Canada Goose  X
Acorn Woodpecker  2
Downy Woodpecker  1
Northern Flicker  2
Steller’s Jay  3
California Scrub-Jay  2
Black-capped Chickadee  2
Wrentit  8
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  3
Bewick’s Wren  2
European Starling  X
Varied Thrush  1
Hermit Thrush  1
American Robin  10
Purple Finch  3
Fox Sparrow  6
Dark-eyed Junco  X
Song Sparrow  4
Lincoln’s Sparrow  2
Spotted Towhee  12

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