Posted by: atowhee | April 29, 2023


Not every new bird is equally welcomed. At Basket Slough there was my first Black-necked Stilt of the season. A happy, handsome sighting. Earlier my wife and I were doing some volunteer chores at Willow Branch, a horse and burro rescue operation west of Basket Slough–there was a flock of cowbirds, another first for the year. They were following the horses and cows around. Cowbirds are an invasive, inadvertently brought west in the 19th Century as they accompanied large herds of domestic cattle being driven to California.

Here in our Salem garden a Red-breasted Nuthatch was busily carving out a nest hole. Actually it was just over the fence in the dead top of a neighbor’s semi-living birch tree. Easy wood-working. The nuthatch is not a woodpecker but as adept pecker of soft wood. The bird population in our garden has made a radical shift–all the migrant sparrows seem to be gone. A pair of locally nesting juncos remain. Over time I expect Sing Sparrows and towhee families to come around. Most of the goldfinches are gone off to breeding territory.

Cinnamon Teal and shovelers at Basket Slough:

Here is video of Bushtit nest-building. Taken by Thomas Duane near his home in Portland.

Willow Branch ranch, Polk, Oregon, US
Apr 29, 2023
23 species

Cackling Goose  300
Canada Goose  X     one family with five goslings
Northern Shoveler  X
Killdeer  X
Turkey Vulture  1
Northern Harrier  1
American Kestrel  2
Black Phoebe  2
American Crow  2
Tree Swallow  X
Violet-green Swallow  X
Barn Swallow  20
Cliff Swallow  X
European Starling  X
American Robin  2
House Sparrow  6
House Finch  2
Song Sparrow  1
Western Meadowlark  X
Red-winged Blackbird  X
Brown-headed Cowbird  20
Brewer’s Blackbird  X
Yellow-rumped Warbler  1

Baskett Slough NWR, Polk, Oregon, US
Apr 29, 2023 12:30 PM – 12:45 PM
Protocol: Stationary
Checklist Comments:     The narrows on Colville Road
14 species

Cackling Goose  X
Cinnamon Teal  2
Northern Shoveler  X
Mallard  X
Green-winged Teal  X
Ring-necked Duck  20
Bufflehead  X
Pied-billed Grebe  2
American Coot  30
Black-necked Stilt  1
Greater Yellowlegs  6
Turkey Vulture  1
Northern Harrier  1
Red-winged Blackbird  X


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