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Birds & Birding Regional Birder

This is regional birding information for:

Northwest & Northern California
February 2017

The northwestern corner of the U.S is like no other region of the county, with its Pacific Coastal forests that boast some of the world's tallest trees; and the Sierra-Cascade forest, with it's parklike woodlands, also with some of the world's biggest trees, but more open timber covering the western foothills and lower slopes of the Sierras. The mighty snow-capped peaks of the Northwest are attended by subapline life zones that harbor a vastly different community of birds and other wildlife. The temperate rain forests of the Northwest are also unique in their climate, vegetation and birdlife.

Backyard Birds

The backyards of the Northwest vary according to location, and so do the birds that they attract. But generally, there is a corps of species that can be counted on being around most homes in the region: varied thrush; western and mountain bluebirds; American robin; Townsend's solitaire; Steller's jay; Anna's and rufous hummingbirds; acorn, white-headed and Lewis's woodpeckers; Williamson's and red-naped sapsuckers; violet-green swallow; oak titmouse; black-capped, chestnut-backed and mountain chickadees; winter wren; Bohemian waxwing; western tanager; green-tailed and spotted towhees; yellow-crowned sparrow; dark-eyed junco; black-headed grosbeak; lazuli bunting; Bullock's oriole; purple, house and Cassin's finches; pine siskin and evening grosbeak.

Regional Birds

The coastal forests and the slopes of the Sierras are well known for abundant western birdlife. The acorn and white-headed woodpeckers, Steller's and western scrub-jays, mountain chickadee, pygmy, spotted and western screech-owls, hermit and varied thrushes, Vaux's and black swifts, California and mountain quail, California thrasher, yellow-billed magpie, yellow-crowned sparrow, black phoebe, dusky flycatcher and several hummingbirds are typical.

Higher up in the subalpine, look for the red-backed sapsucker, black-backed woodpecker, Clark's nutcracker, gray jay and northern goshawk.

In the rain forests, such birds as Townsend's warbler, chestnut-backed chickadee, and winter wren are common.

What's happening in your backyard this month
  • Birds are feeding heavily, particularly before a storm.
  • Great horned owls are hooting and nesting; other owls are calling at night.
  • House finches and pine siskins are becoming more feisty as spring approaches.
  • European starlings are checking out nesting cavities; driving woodpeckers out.
What to do in your backyard this month
  • Fill feeders daily, and keep them ice and snow free.
  • Look for the return of the first red-winged blackbird.
  • Make a plan for spring plantings of bird cover...trees, shrubs, vines and ground cover.
  • Repair and/or paint bird houses in anticipation of erecting them next month.