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For the Black Lake Road/Trail, the...
Jane A Hadley on SAMISH FLATS
Hi Colette - See my March 21, 2019...
Jane Hadley on LOWER CRAB CREEK AND OTHELLO
We were at Lower Crab Creek on March...
Colette Armour on SAMISH FLATS
Hello All! It is almost the middle of...
Tim Brennan on BEEZLEY HILLS AND MOSES COULEE
Douglas Creek - March of 2021, I chose...
Randy Hill on LOWER CRAB CREEK AND OTHELLO
I haven't been to the site recently but...
Terry Lawhead on LOWER CRAB CREEK AND OTHELLO
any great legal overnight camping...
Jane Hadley on SKAGIT FLATS
Hi Joanna - There have been periodic...
Joanna Smith on SKAGIT FLATS
We have a question. My husband and I...
Jeanelle Richardson on SOUTH SOUND PRAIRIES
The link to the TA closure information...
Jane+Hadley on OLYMPIA AND VICINITY
Hi Mort: Here is an excerpt from the...
Mort Shecter on OLYMPIA AND VICINITY
Is it ok to feed the water fowl at...
Andy Stepniewski on WENAS CREEK LOOP
Jon Houghton has made an excellent...
Andy Stepniewski on FROM YAKIMA TO ELLENSBURG
Jon Houghton has made excellent...
Jane Hadley on WENAS CREEK LOOP
Th following comment by Jon Houghton...
Jon Houghton on FROM YAKIMA TO ELLENSBURG
Reconnaissance of Evans Canyon Fire...
Christian Kessler on FROM YAKIMA TO ELLENSBURG
my typo -- west "side" not...
Christian Kessler on FROM YAKIMA TO ELLENSBURG
bridge at Umtanum Recreation Ara is...
Jane+Hadley on SOUTH COAST
Dave Slager reports that there now are...
Jane Hadley on VANCOUVER AND VICINITY
Hello Keith - I don't know if that's...
Jane Hadley on TEANAWAY RIVER AND SWAUK CREEK
You are right, Peter. The map...
Keith on VANCOUVER AND VICINITY
Hello! My wife has maintained...
Peter Mann on TEANAWAY RIVER AND SWAUK CREEK
Oops. Forgot to thank Scott as well....
Peter Mann on TEANAWAY RIVER AND SWAUK CREEK
I just returned from driving this...
Cierra Grove on SPOKANE AND VICINITY
Note on Palisades Park: The...
Grace Oliver on SEATTLE AND VICINITY
Mimi, you are correct that Boeing Pond...
Mimi on SEATTLE AND VICINITY
We went to Boeing Pond a couple weeks...
Jane Hadley on OLYMPIA AND VICINITY
Hi Michael - A lot of that will vary...
michael on OLYMPIA AND VICINITY
what kinds of birds will you find in...
Faye Hands on HOOD CANAL AND EAST OLYMPICS
Parking for Theler Wetlands is still...
Bob Flores on SOUTHERN COLUMBIA BASIN
I found a flock of about 130 tricolored...
Donald Russell on SAMISH FLATS
Sighted two Short-eared Owls southwest...
Jack on SAN JUAN ISLANDS
This is a great guide to birding in the...
David Guard on YAKIMA TRAINING CENTER
I used to train there. One of the most...
Jane Hadley on THE POTHOLES AND MOSES LAKE
Potholes State Park is great also for...
Norma Klein on OKANOGAN HIGHLANDS
I have seen in September Evening...
Jane Hadley on GRAND COULEE
We birded Wilson Creek wetlands...
Nadine on WENAS CREEK LOOP
Audubon Campground now has restroom...
Eric Heisey on METHOW VALLEY
I really love the Methow Community...
Andy Stepniewski on YAKIMA AND VICINITY
The river as been eroding that portion...
Andy Stepniewski on WHITE PASS HIGHWAY
Jane, you are correct. The state passes...
Jane Hadley on WHITE PASS HIGHWAY
Hmmmm. The Discover Pass and "Vehicle...
Nancy Kirkner on SOUTH SOUND PRAIRIES
JBLM Training Areas 4, 5, 6, 7S, 14,...
Nancy Kirkner on YAKIMA AND VICINITY
A portion of the Yakima Greenway Trail...
Nancy Kirkner on ELWHA RIVER MOUTH TO THE WEST COAST
The final leg up to Bahokus Peak has...
Nancy Kirkner on WHITE PASS HIGHWAY
The Bear Canyon trailhead sign...
Kathy on ENTIAT MOUNTAINS TO LAKE CHELAN
I live on Entiat River Rd at mile...
Rusty Stork on METHOW VALLEY
Excellent detail and clarity! I am...
Jamie Acker on WENAS CREEK LOOP
Audubon Road, the road off of North...
Bob Boekelheide on ELWHA RIVER MOUTH TO THE WEST COAST
Floods in the Elwha Valley during...
Jane Hadley on SAMISH FLATS
Hello Sesh -- The Birder's Dashboard...
Sesh on SAMISH FLATS
Is the Samish/ Skagit flats area a good...
RONALD SORRELL on SAMISH FLATS
Anne, If you are in the same area as...
anne on SAMISH FLATS
Hi There, thank you for the map and...
Jane Hadley on SNOQUALMIE VALLEY TO EVERETT
I don't know if this spot merits...
cjflick on EASTERN COLUMBIA GORGE AND KLICKITAT RIVER
Oct 9, 2018 The controlled burn in May...
Matt Bartels on FROM THE COLUMBIA TO THE PEND OREILLE
I received a 2nd hand note about access...
Jane Hadley on WHIDBEY ISLAND
Thanks for pointing this out, Nancy....
Nancy Kirkner on WHIDBEY ISLAND
The Keystone map referenced on the main...
Jane Hadley on SNOQUALMIE VALLEY TO EVERETT
Hi Carolyn - I think Lake Forest Park...
Carolyn T Coffin on SNOQUALMIE VALLEY TO EVERETT
We have a Northern Bobwhite in our...
Jane Hadley on SNOQUALMIE VALLEY TO EVERETT
Hi Margaret - I think you're probably...
Margaret Magnus on SNOQUALMIE VALLEY TO EVERETT
5/26/2018 I'm not a birder -- In the...
Jane Hadley on NORTH CASCADES HIGHWAY
More good news: a Tweeters poster...
Michael Edward Reif on INTRODUCTION
Dave Kreft on FROM THE COLUMBIA TO THE PEND OREILLE
Newton Rd is signed as “Closed” due...
Jane Hadley on STANWOOD AND CAMANO ISLAND
There have been some recent road...
Jane Hadley on SAMISH FLATS
Hi Monique - From Lawrence Lake in...
Monique Taylor on SAMISH FLATS
how to get there from lake laurence...
Jane Hadley on SKAGIT FLATS
The state Dept of Fish and Wildlife...
Christopher Clark on MOUNT RAINIER
On December 21st, 2017, some friends...
Dave Eichenmiller on SPOKANE AND VICINITY
I was in Spokane Valley for work in...
Jane Hadley on TEANAWAY RIVER AND SWAUK CREEK
Teanaway Campground is closed for the...
Constance Sidles on SEATTLE AND VICINITY
Montlake Fill: We are in month 11 of a...
Jon Isacoff on PEND OREILLE VALLEY
HI, the best source of what is around...
M. MacDonald on PEND OREILLE VALLEY
Hi Recently moved to Pend Oreille Co....
Randy Hill on SOUTHERN COLUMBIA BASIN
A large wildfire burned during the...
Randy Hill on LOWER CRAB CREEK AND OTHELLO
During the summer of 2017 an extensive...
Ron Tressler on NORTH CASCADES HIGHWAY
Hello Birders! I am the Wildlife...
Jane Hadley on TEANAWAY RIVER AND SWAUK CREEK
This from the Washington Dept of...
Jane Hadley on NORTH CASCADES HIGHWAY
There's good news to report on Barnaby...
Cindy McCormack on NORTH CASCADES HIGHWAY
Barnaby Slough Road is listed as a...
Jane Hadley on GRAND COULEE
Though the Wilson Creek wetland and...
Carol Riddell on GRAND COULEE
The Wilson Creek wetland no longer...
Jane Hadley on MOUNT RAINIER
Fires have closed some roads and...
Jane Hadley on TEANAWAY RIVER AND SWAUK CREEK
State DNR and WDFW cancelled a Teanaway...
Randy Hill on YAKIMA AND VICINITY
8/31/2017 Spruce Grouse flushed right...
Randy Hill on SOUTHERN COLUMBIA BASIN
Washtucna: In addition to Bassett Park,...
Stewart Wechsler on ANNOTATED CHECKLIST
It was so nice to get a confirmation...
Jane Hadley on TEANAWAY RIVER AND SWAUK CREEK
Here's a recent announcement (Aug 18,...
Penny Koyama on TRI-CITIES AND VICINITY
Bateman Island in Benton County is...
Terry Little on NORTHEAST CORNER
Hello Yesterday I birded Pend...
Carol Riddell on ELWHA RIVER MOUTH TO THE WEST COAST
It is possible to rent a 15-foot skiff...
Scott Horton on OUTER OLYMPIC COAST
We described a shore-based puffin...
Jane Hadley on STANWOOD AND CAMANO ISLAND
More info from WDFW about the Leque...
Rick Taylor on STANWOOD AND CAMANO ISLAND
Big Ditch access is closed to allow the...
Phil Dickinson on STANWOOD AND CAMANO ISLAND
Leque Island--Eide Rd. Will close to...
Hal Opperman on SNOQUALMIE VALLEY TO EVERETT
Black Swifts appear to be nesting at...
George Gerdts on ACROSS THE SOUND (KITSAP COUNTY)
June 27, 2017 George Gerdts Randy...
Tim Brennan on HOOD CANAL AND EAST OLYMPICS
Tim Brennan on NORTH CASCADES HIGHWAY
Tim Brennan on STEVENS PASS TO WENATCHEE
I did a big year in Chelan and blogged...
Tim Brennan on STEVENS PASS TO WENATCHEE
Tim Brennan on STEVENS PASS TO WENATCHEE
Tim Brennan on STEVENS PASS TO WENATCHEE
Tim Brennan on STEVENS PASS TO WENATCHEE
Tim Brennan on STEVENS PASS TO WENATCHEE
Tim Brennan on STEVENS PASS TO WENATCHEE
Tim Brennan on ENTIAT MOUNTAINS TO LAKE CHELAN
Tim Brennan on ENTIAT MOUNTAINS TO LAKE CHELAN
Tim Brennan on ENTIAT MOUNTAINS TO LAKE CHELAN
Tim Brennan on ENTIAT MOUNTAINS TO LAKE CHELAN
I completed a big year in Chelan County...
Jason Vassallo on OKANOGAN CASCADES
Another 4.6 miles past Tiffany Springs...
Dave Kreft on FROM THE COLUMBIA TO THE PEND OREILLE
Newton Lane, between Chewelah and...
MerryLynn Denny on BLUE MOUNTAINS
Jasper Mt. Road takes off SR12 between...
MerryLynn Denny on BLUE MOUNTAINS
Green-tailed Towhees are now found on...
Jeff Kozma on WENAS CREEK LOOP
Audubon Road into the campground has...
Ryan Merrill on NORTH CASCADES HIGHWAY
After being present annually since the...
MerryLynn Denny on WESTERN LOWLANDS
The "Millet Ponds" on Northshore Drive...
MerryLynn Denny on WESTERN LOWLANDS
The Corps of Engineers has cleared the...
Randy Robinson on SEATTLE AND VICINITY
Re: the Green River Natural Resources...
Bruce LaBar on TACOMA AND VICINITY
There is a little marshland by...
Jane Hadley on ANNOTATED CHECKLIST
Are White-tailed Kites returning again...
Jane Hadley on SEATTLE AND VICINITY
Yesterday my husband and I set out to...
Jane Hadley on ABA PRINCIPLES OF BIRDING ETHICS
Thank you for suggesting...
Kevin Lucas on ABA PRINCIPLES OF BIRDING ETHICS
Thank you very much for adding this to...
Grace Oliver on SKAGIT FLATS
May 2017 spent some time in Mount...
Jane Hadley on NORTH CASCADES HIGHWAY
The North Cascades Highway (SR-20) is...
Randy Robinson on EASTERN COLUMBIA GORGE AND KLICKITAT RIVER
We were at Conboy Headquarters on 5/13...
Lonnie Somer on SOUTH COAST
A fence has been erected around the...
Lonnie Somer on SOUTH COAST
The access to the Oyhut Game Range via...
Jane Hadley on SNOQUALMIE PASS AND VICINITY
That's something to mull over, Scott....
Scott Ramos on SNOQUALMIE PASS AND VICINITY
It might be useful to add eBird hotspot...
Dianna Moore on SOUTH COAST
Access to Bill's Spit in Ocean Shores...
Bea Wilson on NORTHWEST
This is my first visit to this website....
Bea Wilson on SEATTLE AND VICINITY
Edmonds Marsh and Backyard Wildlife...
Cindy McCormack on VANCOUVER AND VICINITY
County Park fees have been reinstated...
Jane Hadley on NORTH CASCADES HIGHWAY
WSDOT is predicting a late opening for...
Jane Hadley on INTRODUCTION
Good suggestion, Kevin! We have added...
Kevin Lucas on INTRODUCTION
This is a wonderful resource, and great...
Rick Taylor on STANWOOD AND CAMANO ISLAND
Remember that access to The Nature...
Rick Taylor on STANWOOD AND CAMANO ISLAND
The ponds at Eide road are great for...
Jane Hadley on SEATTLE AND VICINITY
There's another great map of Marymoor...
Glen Alexander on SAMISH FLATS
Padilla Bay Reserve has now changed...
Wilson Cady on VANCOUVER AND VICINITY
The seasonal closure is to protect...
Wilson Cady on VANCOUVER AND VICINITY
The seasonal closure is to protect...
Jane Hadley on INTRODUCTION
According to Time Mag, the lifetime...
Margee Cooper on VANCOUVER AND VICINITY
I noticed that the description for...
Scott Ramos on SNOQUALMIE VALLEY TO EVERETT
From the Chinook Bend parking area,...
dyqFMH on HOOD CANAL AND EAST OLYMPICS
The George Adams National Fish Hatchery...
Winston Rockwell on SNOQUALMIE VALLEY TO EVERETT
Field's Riffle Park, just west of...
Jane Hadley on INTRODUCTION
Regarding the GPS phone apps, I should...
Grace Oliver on DISCOVERY BAY TO PORT ANGELES
What a surprise we had on March 21,...
Kathy Slettebak on SOUTH SOUND PRAIRIES
To get access to JBLM you will need an...
Bob Boekelheide on ELWHA RIVER MOUTH TO THE WEST COAST
According to the Olympic National Park...
Randy Robinson on NORTH CASCADES HIGHWAY
Re: Eric's question about the sign at...
Eric Heisey on NORTH CASCADES HIGHWAY
I was around Newhalem this weekend and...
Jane Hadley on INTRODUCTION
Re: Getting Around, there now are some...
Randy Hill on YAKIMA AND VICINITY
I have been up the N Fork of Ahtanum...
Art Wang on TACOMA AND VICINITY
If there are suggestions or revisions...
jhadle on YAKIMA AND VICINITY
I really recommend the Middle Fork of...
jhadle on MOUNT SAINT HELENS
There is an official bird checklist for...
Randy Robinson on SAN JUAN ISLANDS
The ferry to San Juan Island is so...
Randy Robinson on BELLINGHAM AND VICINITY
A fantastic place to bird is the...
Randy Robinson on NORTH CASCADES HIGHWAY
Boreal Owl has been heard at Rainy...
Randy Robinson on ACROSS THE SOUND (KITSAP COUNTY)
We recently hiked some trails (and...
Randy Robinson on HOOD CANAL AND EAST OLYMPICS
Faye Hands and John Riegsecker of the...
Randy Robinson on MOUNT RAINIER
A note and comment: The book here in...
Randy Robinson on SOUTHWEST
Dave Hayden has produced a great site...
Randy Robinson on CLE ELUM AND VICINITY
Bullfrog Pond is a great place to bird...
Randy Robinson on KITTITAS VALLEY
Kestrels are declining, but this is a...
Randy Robinson on ROCK CREEK AND LAKE UMATILLA
The Bluebird Inn is the tavern referred...
Randy Robinson on FROM THE COLUMBIA TO THE PEND OREILLE
The entire Chewelah to Valley route...
Randy Robinson on KETTLE RANGE
If you’re planning on going to the...
Randy Robinson on BELLINGHAM AND VICINITY
You might want to include Pt. Whitehorn...
TABLE OF CONTENTS
STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA AND PACIFIC COASTIntroduction Port Townsend and Vicinity Discovery Bay to Port Angeles The High Olympics Elwha River Mouth to the West Coast Outer Olympic Coast South Coast
NORTHWESTIntroduction Whidbey Island Fidalgo Island San Juan Islands Skagit Flats Samish Flats North Cascades Highway Mount Baker Highway Bellingham and Vicinity
PUGET SOUNDIntroduction Seattle and Vicinity Snoqualmie Valley to Everett Stanwood and Camano Island Across the Sound (Kitsap County) Tacoma and Vicinity South Sound Prairies Olympia and Vicinity Hood Canal and East Olympics Mount Rainier
SOUTHWESTIntroduction Finding Southwestern Specialties Mount Saint Helens Vancouver and Vicinity Western Columbia Gorge Mount Adams
SOUTH CENTRALIntroduction Snoqualmie Pass and Vicinity Cle Elum and Vicinity Teanaway River and Swauk Creek Kittitas Valley Columbia Slope: Vantage to Sentinel Gap Taneum Creek and Manastash Creek Wenas Creek Loop From Yakima to Ellensburg Yakima Training Center Yakima and Vicinity Chinook Pass Highway White Pass Highway Eastern Columbia Gorge and Klickitat River Rock Creek and Lake Umatilla Tri-Cities and Vicinity
COLUMBIA BASINIntroduction The Potholes and Moses Lake Lower Crab Creek and Othello Southern Columbia Basin Beezley Hills and Moses Coulee Waterville Plateau and Bridgeport Grand Coulee Northeastern Columbia Basin
OKANOGANIntroduction Stevens Pass to Wenatchee Entiat Mountains to Lake Chelan Methow Valley Okanogan Valley Okanogan Cascades Okanogan Highlands
NORTHEASTIntroduction Kettle Range From the Columbia to the Pend Oreille Northeast Corner Pend Oreille Valley Spokane and Vicinity
SOUTHEASTIntroduction Western Lowlands Blue Mountains Snake and Grande Ronde River Canyons The Palouse
BIRDS OF WASHINGTONBar Graphs Annotated Checklist
BIRDING ETHICSABA Principles of Birding Ethics
by Andy Stepniewski and Hal Opperman
revised by Matt Bartels
The 510 species listed here have been recorded at least once in Washington. Italicized common names indicate species on the Review List of the Washington Bird Records Committee (WBRC). Observations of any of these species, or of species not on this list, should be reported to the WBRC with written details and any supporting evidence such as photographs and sound recordings. (Submit a report on-line at http://wos.org/) Reports of the WBRC are the authority for records of rarities used in the compilation of this list. Abundance terms (common, fairly common, etc.) are employed here in a manner consistent with those for the bar graphs of seasonal occurrence—see page 522 for definitions.
Fulvous Whistling-Duck Dendrocygna bicolor — One bird shot from flock of 10 at Grays Harbor in October 1905.
Taiga Bean-Goose Anser fabalis — One bird observed at Hoquiam over 12-day period in December 2002. In addition, a 1993 Bean Goose (also in Hoquiam) was not described thoroughly enough to distinguish Taiga from Tundra Bean-Goose.
Greater White-fronted Goose Anser albifrons — Uncommon winter resident, usually with Canada Geese. Fairly common to common in migration. Impressive migration along outer coast in late April. Large flocks of migrants occasionally noted August–September, taking direct overwater route from breeding grounds in southwestern Alaska to coastal Washington, thence across Cascades to staging area in Klamath Basin en route to central California for winter. Many stop briefly at McNary NWR.
Emperor Goose Chen canagica — Casual visitor along tidewater shorelines in Western Washington. Most records from sheltered waters along Pacific, North Olympic Coasts, smaller number from Puget Sound, Vancouver Lowlands.
Snow Goose Chen caerulescens — Common winter resident on Skagit, Stillaguamish River deltas, nearby farmlands. These birds comprise genetically distinct portion of Wrangel Island breeding population that migrates south along Pacific Flyway, winters mainly from Fraser River delta south to Port Susan. Birds noted in small numbers in Eastern Washington (principally fall, but hundreds now winter at Umatilla NWR) belong to breeding populations in northeast Siberia, Alaska, western Canadian Arctic that utilize Central Flyway to winter mostly in southern Oregon, Central Valley of California. Blue-morph birds uncommon in the Skagit River delta and rare elsewhere in Washington.
Ross’s Goose Chen rossii — Rare (almost uncommon), probably increasing migrant in Eastern Washington, predominantly spring. Most frequent, numerous in Southeast where sometimes seen in small flocks. Rarer on Westside in winter or spring (usually singles). Most migrants take direct route from Klamath Basin northeast into Saskatchewan in April, back again in fall, passing east of Washington; off-course birds expected April, occasionally other seasons. Blue form accidental in Washington.
Brant Branta bernicla — Alaska-breeding Black Brant (subspecies nigricans) common migrant, local winter resident on saltwater bays, closely tied to beds of Eelgrass. Large numbers at Dungeness, Willapa NWRs, usually a few at Alki Beach, West Point in Seattle. Accidental fall–winter in Eastern Washington. Gray-bellied Brant (thought to be distinct taxon but not yet described), from Melville Island in Canadian High Arctic, winters on Padilla Bay.
Cackling Goose Branta hutchinsii — Smaller form of group previously classified as part of Canada Goose, with three subspecies regularly occurring in migration and winter. More common in western Washington in winter, but all subspecies have been found in the east. Taverner’s Cackling Goose (subspecies taverneri): on average, largest Cackling Goose subspecies in Washington (slightly smaller than Lesser Canada Goose). Breeds northern, western Alaska, winters mostly in Willamette and Lower Columbia River valleys and Columbia Basin with smaller but growing numbers in Puget Trough. Aleutian Cackling Goose (subspecies leucopareia): small, darkish, with fairly prominent white neck ring. Between Taverner’s and Minima in size but slightly paler than either. Breeds on a few Aleutian Islands, winters mostly in California and Oregon. Once near extinction; protection has aided recovery in recent years—now uncommon at Willapa NWR, on the coast, and even in Puget Sound in fall migration, with a few wintering. Casual in eastern Washington. Ridgway’s Cackling Goose (subspecies minima): tiny (half again larger than Mallard), dark-breasted, short-necked, with characteristic yelping call. Most have indistinct neck ring. Migrates from breeding grounds in western Alaska to wintering sites from Puget Sound through Willamette and Lower Columbia River valley. Uncommon in Eastern Washington. Wintering grounds have shifted dramatically north in recent decades from central California to our state. Population small, protected; appears stable. Richardson’s Cackling Goose (subspecies hutchinsii accidental in winter with only a few records from the Columbia Basin.
Canada Goose Branta canadensis — Larger forms of group previously given this name. Common year round as migrant, breeder, wintering resident. Four subspecies present and abundant. Moffitt’s (Western) Canada Goose (subspecies moffitti): largest, palest of light-breasted forms. Year-round resident statewide; numbers greatly augmented in winter with British Columbia breeders. Canada Geese did not breed in Western Washington until transplanted birds of this race established sedentary populations beginning in 1950s. Now widespread, common. Lesser Canada Goose (subspecies parvipes): medium-sized, difficult to distinguish from Taverner’s Cackling Goose. Nests from eastern Alaska across Yukon, Northwest Territories; common migrant in Washington on way to wintering sites in Willamette Valley, Lower Columbia River Valley. Common wintering subspecies in Columbia Basin, less common Westside. Dusky Canada Goose (subspecies occidentalis): dark-breasted form (close to Moffitt’s in size), usually lacks neck ring. Breeds in relatively small numbers on Copper River delta in Alaska, winters primarily in southwestern Washington (e.g., Julia Butler Hansen, Ridgefield, Steigerwald NWRs), Willamette Valley of Oregon. Vancouver Canada Goose (subspecies fulva): often considered inseparable from Dusky, but slightly larger. Breeds in coastal rainforest zone from southeast Alaska to northern Vancouver Island; some southward movement in winter through western Washington to Willamette Valley.
Trumpeter Swan Cygnus buccinator — Once close to extinction, essentially disappeared from Washington. Began to winter again locally in Mount Vernon area in early 1970s, spread as numbers increased. Now common in winter in northwestern Washington lowlands. Readily found on farm fields on Skagit/Samish Flats, also Snohomish River valley, Chehalis River floodplain. Regular in smaller numbers on lakes elsewhere in Western Washington, especially on outer coast. Still rare east of Cascades; reintroduction at Turnbull NWR came close to failing, but a persistent small group now breeds annually. Small numbers sometimes winter on ponds near Ellensburg. Lead pollution from fishing, hunting continues as major danger.
Tundra Swan Cygnus columbianus — Common migrant, winter resident on Westside. Many winter on Skagit/Samish Flats (with Trumpeters), also Ridgefield, Franz Lake NWRs in Southwest. East of Cascades in spring, impressive flocks often noted high in sky flying northeastward over broad front: Blue Mountains, Palouse, Northeast. Fairly common spring at stopover sites (e.g., McNary NWR, Atkins Lake, Turnbull NWR, Calispell Lake), less numerous fall. In addition to our regular subspecies, “Whistling” (subspecies columbianus), the Siberian breeding Bewick’s Tundra Swan (subspecies bewickii) rare in winter, usually mixed with other Whistling Tundra Swans.
Whooper Swan Cygnus cygnus – One bird observed in Snohomish and Skagit Counties from December 2006–January 2007, and then in Whatcom County in February 2007.
Wood Duck Aix sponsa — Fairly common resident statewide. Numbers dwindle in winter, especially east.
Gadwall Anas strepera — Common resident statewide, especially numerous around Puget Sound. Much less common on Eastside in winter.
Falcated Duck Anas falcata — Four records, all from near coast: January 1979 from Naselle River, July 1993 at Sequim, February–March 2002 and February 2005, both at Samish Island.
Eurasian Wigeon Anas penelope — Uncommon to locally fairly common winter resident west of Cascades—more winter in Western Washington than anyplace else in Lower 48. Especially numerous near Samish, Dungeness River estuaries. Can often be picked out in American Wigeon flocks in city parks. Rare but regular winter resident east of Cascades (usually not difficult to find in Tri-Cities), more often noted in spring. Eurasian X American hybrids occur regularly, at rate of about five percent of Eurasians.
American Wigeon Anas americana — Common winter resident, migrant statewide. Uncommon breeder east of Cascades; rare, local west.
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos — Common resident statewide, winter numbers higher east than west until waters freeze. Astronomical numbers on Columbia River during hunting season.
Blue-winged Teal Anas discors — Fairly common summer resident in Eastern Washington, uncommon in Puget Trough. Fairly common in migration. Casual early-winter resident.
Cinnamon Teal Anas cyanoptera — Fairly common summer resident of ponds, marshes, sloughs in Eastern Washington, less common in Western Washington. Rare winter on Westside.
Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata — Common summer resident, principally in Columbia Basin, Puget Trough. Common migrant. Common winter resident west, uncommon east (locally fairly common in warmer parts of Columbia Basin).
Northern Pintail Anas acuta — Uncommon summer resident, much more local west of Cascade Crest. Common migrant statewide. Common winter resident in Western Washington lowlands, especially Puget Trough; common to uncommon on Eastside, with numbers, wintering localities varying greatly year to year.
Garganey Anas querquedula — Three records: Skagit Flats (April 1961), Chehalis River floodplain near Satsop (April–May 1991), Richland (December 1994).
Baikal Teal Anas formosa – Four records: Kent, King County (December 2004–April 2005); Grant County (May 2008); Ridgefield NWR, Clark County (January 2009); Ferndale, Whatcom County (March 2009).
Green-winged Teal Anas crecca — Continental North American subspecies carolinensis fairly common but local summer resident east; rare, local west. Common migrant, winter resident on both sides of Cascades. Common Teal (Eurasian-breeding subspecies crecca) rare winter visitor (mainly Western Washington), usually with flocks of carolinensis.
Canvasback Aythya valisineria — Uncommon summer resident on lakes in Eastern Washington; rare west. Fairly common (west) to common (east), but local, winter resident. Can be abundant in vicinity of grain terminals on Columbia, Snake River reservoirs. East of Cascades many gather in early spring migration in large numbers at places such as the Walla Walla River delta.
Redhead Aythya americana — East of Cascades, common summer, fairly common winter resident. Rare on Westside, largely restricted to fresh water.
Ring-necked Duck Aythya collaris — Uncommon summer resident on Eastside (most numerous in Northeast), uncommon to rare on Westside. Common migrant, winter visitor statewide. Largely restricted to fresh water.
Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula — Rare winter resident (mostly November–April) in lowlands, usually with flocks of scaups or Ring-necked Ducks. Dependable stakeout occasionally found, sometimes returning for successive winters. Several interior records, but great majority from west of Cascades. Most reliable places probably around Grays Harbor, Everett, Columbia River from gorge to mouth, around Priest Rapids Dam—but records widely scattered. Several records of hybrids, presumably with undetermined scaup species.
Greater Scaup Aythya marila — Common migrant, winter resident in Western Washington, especially on sheltered marine waters. In Eastern Washington, locally common migrant, winter resident on Columbia, Snake River reservoirs, especially near grain terminals.
Lesser Scaup Aythya affinis — Uncommon, local summer resident east (especially Northeast), west (especially Ridgefield NWR). Common migrant, winter resident on low-elevation fresh-, saltwater bodies statewide.
Steller’s Eider Polysticta stelleri — Three records: one bird stayed at Port Townsend for nearly four months (October 1986–February 1987); another at Walla Walla River delta in September 1995; one found in Edmonds for only one day in September 2006.
King Eider Somateria spectabilis — Sixteen records extend from late October to July, all on the Westside and all but three on inland marine waters. Exceptions include two in Clallam County (December 1988 and July 2014) and one in Grays Harbor County seen for three winters beginning in 2009.
Common Eider Somateria mollissima — Three records: Port Angeles (August 2004); Tatoosh Island (April 2005); Westport (October 2012).
Harlequin Duck Histrionicus histrionicus — Fairly common winter resident of coastal waters with rocky substrates. Good sites include Salt Creek County Park, Ediz Hook, Sequim Bay, Fort Worden, Fort Flagler, west side of Whidbey Island, Alki Beach in West Seattle. Scarce on coast for only short period in spring, as many males return to salt water soon after breeding. Uncommon summer resident on rivers at low to middle elevations in Olympic, Cascade, Selkirk Mountains. Good sites include Stehekin River upstream from Stehekin, Methow River near Winthrop, Tieton River below Rimrock Lake, Naches River above Cliffdell, Sullivan Creek above Sullivan Lake.
Surf Scoter Melanitta perspicillata — Common winter resident of coastal waters, in sheltered bays as well as rougher waters just off breakers. Non-breeding flocks local in summer, especially Penn Cove, Drayton Harbor. Uncommon in Eastern Washington—mostly fall on Columbia, Snake River reservoirs, Grand Coulee lakes.
White-winged Scoter Melanitta fusca — Similar to Surf Scoter in status, distribution, except rare in Eastern Washington in fall.
Black Scoter Melanitta americana — Fairly common but local winter resident on marine waters with rocky bottom, rare in summer. Good sites include Ocean Shores, Ediz Hook, Fort Worden, Fort Flagler, Lummi Bay, Alki Beach in West Seattle. Casual in Eastern Washington fall.
Long-tailed Duck Clangula hyemalis — Fairly common but local winter resident on sheltered marine waters. Good sites include Ediz Hook, Dungeness Spit, Sequim Bay, Protection Island, Fort Worden, Fort Flagler, Point Roberts, Birch Bay, west side of Whidbey Island, deepwater sounds on Orcas Island. Rare in Eastern Washington—mostly fall on Columbia, Snake River reservoirs, Grand Coulee lakes.
Bufflehead Bucephala albeola — Common winter resident, migrant west, fairly common east; found on fresh, salt water. Breeds on a few lakes in Northeast, most reliable site Big Meadow Lake.
Common Goldeneye Bucephala clangula — Common winter resident on fresh, salt water statewide. Rare breeder east of Cascades in northern part of state, e.g., lakes in Sinlahekin Valley, Soap, Beth Lakes in Okanogan, Big Meadow Lake in Northeast (probably most reliable site). Rare summer on Westside, mainly at sewage ponds. Identification confusion with female Barrow’s Goldeneye clouds true status as breeding species.
Barrow’s Goldeneye Bucephala islandica — In Western Washington, common but local winter resident on sheltered saltwater bays, to much lesser extent freshwater lakes (usually with rocky bottoms, shores). Highly associated with pilings—e.g., on parts of Hood Canal. Uncommon winter resident in Eastern Washington, most at grain ports on Columbia, Snake Rivers, a few on flowing rivers (especially Columbia within Hanford Reach). Fairly common summer resident at mid-elevations on forested lakes (nesting in tree cavities near lakeshore) in Cascades, Okanogan Highlands, Selkirks. Colonies nest in cliff cavities in treeless areas at Lenore Lake in Grand Coulee, Jameson Lake in Moses Coulee, thus akin to Iceland, Labrador breeders.
Smew Mergellus albellus — Two records of adult males near Columbia River in Skamania County in successive winters (December 1989, January–February 1991), considered to be same individual. Another at McKenna (Pierce County) in March 1993.
Hooded Merganser Lophodytes cucullatus — Fairly common summer resident in Western Washington lowlands, mainly around Puget Trough. On Eastside, uncommon summer resident, mostly in Northeast. Fairly common (briefly common fall) in migration, winter across state, although numbers fall off on Eastside when freezing reduces available habitat.
Common Merganser Mergus merganser — Common resident year round, nesting in tree cavities along lowland rivers, lakes. In winter, also found on deep, clear saltwater bodies, larger lakes, lower Columbia River.
Red-breasted Merganser Mergus serrator — Common winter resident on inland marine waters, protected coastal bays. Uncommon fall migrant and casual winter resident in Eastern Washington along the Columbia River, Snake River, and Banks Lake.
Ruddy Duck Oxyura jamaicensis — Fairly common to locally common summer resident in Eastern Washington, highest concentration around Potholes; also breeds uncommonly in southern Puget Trough. Common winter resident of freshwater habitats in Western Washington lowlands, especially around Puget Sound; local on salt water, mostly in mud-bottomed bays. Fairly common winter resident in Eastern Washington.
Mountain Quail Oreortyx pictus — Rare, local year-round resident. Native population in Skamania, Klickitat Counties apparently extirpated. Possibly native population in Snake River drainage close to extirpation—a few coveys still reported occasionally along Grande Ronde River, aided by recent reintroductions. Widely introduced in Western Washington late 19th–early 20th centuries, thrived on logged-over land in early successional stages as forests were left to regenerate unaided. Modern industrial forests inhospitable, quail now reduced to scattered populations from Kitsap Peninsula southwest to Mason, northwestern Thurston, southeastern Grays Harbor Counties. Secretive, unpredictable.
California Quail Callipepla californica — Introduced from California. Common, conspicuous (east), fairly common, local (west) at lower elevations except in dense forests—especially farmlands, brushy places, parks, lightly developed residential areas. Absent from dryland wheat fields, where replaced by Gray Partridge. Present populations firmly established on Eastside, perhaps declining on Westside.
Northern Bobwhite Colinus virginianus — Introduced from eastern U.S. Rare year-round resident of South Sound Prairies, where populations probably not self-sustaining. Frequently released in small numbers in other parts of state but rarely survives for more than one or two seasons.
Chukar Alectoris chukar — Introduced from Near East. Fairly common year-round resident on rocky slopes of Eastern Washington lowlands, especially near cliffs. Often difficult to find. Best looked for near dawn, dusk when calling most intense, comes to roadsides for grit. Good sites include Huntzinger Road south of Vantage, Lower Grand Coulee (especially slopes north of Sun Lakes State Park), SR 129, between Asotin and Anatone.
Gray Partridge Perdix perdix — Introduced from Europe. Fairly common year-round resident of Eastern Washington, mostly in wheat fields, nearby brushy areas but also on native steppe on higher plateaus, ridges. Elusive. One good strategy: cruise wheat-field roads near dawn, dusk for birds gathering roadside grit, listen for peculiar, scratchy call. Also check around grain elevators.
Ring-necked Pheasant Phasianus colchicus — Introduced from Old World. Fairly common year-round resident of wheat fields, brushy edges, shrub-steppe, parks, similar open landscapes at lower elevations on east of Cascades. Uncommon, declining, west of Cascades. Presumably securely established in many parts of state but continuing releases make true status difficult to determine.
Ruffed Grouse Bonasa umbellus — Fairly common year-round resident of deciduous woodlands statewide, mostly at lower elevations. Absent from Columbia Basin below Ponderosa Pine zone. Best looked for in spring when drumming.
Greater Sage-Grouse Centrocercus urophasianus — Rare, local, year-round resident of Big Sagebrush habitats with good cover of native grass, difficult to find except at lek sites. Two populations survive—about 900 birds in central Douglas County (especially south, west of Leahy Junction, around Jameson Lake), estimated 200 birds on Yakima Training Center. A WDFW project to establish a third population in Lincoln County is ongoing.
Spruce Grouse Falcipennis canadensis — Uncommon year-round resident of subalpine forests in Northeast, Okanogan, barely west across Cascade Crest in Mountain Hemlock in Whatcom County. Small, disjunct population on mid- to upper Cascades slopes in northwestern Yakima County and Skamania County near Mount Adams. Often difficult to find due to elusive behavior—definitely an asset for survival of this tame-as-a-barnyard-chicken species. Best looked for along gravel roads in September–October as birds gather grit, especially early or late in day, or in late July–August along streams as hens lead broods to insect-rich foraging areas. Harts Pass good bet, also Salmo Pass, FR-39 from Roger Lake to Long Swamp.
White-tailed Ptarmigan Lagopus leucura — Uncommon, local summer resident in alpine areas of Cascades. Highly cryptic, sits tight, hence usually missed. Best odds: mossy, herb-rich seeps above treeline in late July–August where hens lead chicks to forage for insects. Good sites include Mount Rainier (Panorama Point, Burroughs Mountain, Fremont Peak), Slate Peak, Chopaka Mountain. Wintering sites unknown, but probably wanders downslope in fall, especially to thickets of Sitka Alder.
Dusky Grouse Dendragapus obscurus — Interior breeding species of the pair split from Blue Grouse. Prefers more open areas in and near forests than Sooty Grouse. Fairly common, mostly at mid-to-high altitude from central Okanogan county east through Selkirks and south into the Blue Mountains. Birds show characteristics of hybridization when range meets with range of Sooty Grouse.
Sooty Grouse Dendragapus fuliginosus — Coastal breeding species of the pair split from Blue Grouse. Prefers denser, wetter forests. Fairly common throughout Western Washington (mostly at altitude but present in forests from sea level to alpine) and across the Cascade Crest until meeting apparent hybrid zone with Dusky. Never a sure thing, but Hurricane Ridge (Clallam County) comes close.
Sharp-tailed Grouse Tympanuchus phasianellus — Rare year-round resident in grassy shrub-steppe habitats in northern Columbia Basin, Okanogan (Douglas, Lincoln, Okanogan Counties). Once widely distributed throughout Eastern Washington grasslands, now close to extirpation. Remaining sites largely on private property; information on whereabouts difficult to obtain. Colville Indian Reservation has most remaining birds. Seen occasionally in winter at Swanson Lakes Wildlife Area (Lincoln County), West Foster Creek Unit of Wells Wildlife Area, along Bridgeport Hill Road (Douglas County), and at the Scotch Creek Wildlife Area outside Conconully (Okanogan County).
Wild Turkey Meleagris gallopavo — Introduced from eastern North America. Uncommon to locally fairly common year-round resident of open forests, farmlands east of Cascades, usually near streams. Populations fluctuate with fresh releases. In Western Washington probably increasing but difficult to evaluate wild status.
Red-throated Loon Gavia stellata — Common migrant, winter resident on protected marine waters, sometimes close to shore in shallow water. High numbers winter at Bowman Bay/Deception Pass. Tokeland, Grays Harbor (especially Ocean Shores), Hood Canal Bridge area, Sequim Bay, Dungeness NWR, Padilla Bay also excellent sites. Rare migrant, winter resident on Westside lowland lakes, lower Columbia River. Casual on Eastside reservoirs in winter.
Arctic Loon Gavia arctica — Four records: Priest Rapids Lake, January–March 2000; Edmonds, December 2000–January 2001; Point-No-Point, April 2007; Tokeland, May 2014.
Pacific Loon Gavia pacifica — Common spring, fall migrant along outer coast, often in impressive numbers—especially May, late September–October. Common winter resident on deeper inland marine waters; attracted in large numbers to tidal rips, e.g., at Deception Pass, Rosario Strait, Spieden Channel, Cattle Pass, Obstruction Pass, Admiralty Inlet, Point No Point. Uncommon migrant, rare winter resident in Eastern Washington, mainly on Columbia River reservoirs.
Common Loon Gavia immer — Common migrant, winter resident on sheltered coastal waters; fairly common migrant, winter resident on Columbia River reservoirs. Uncommon, local summer resident of secluded lakes in northern half of state on both sides of Cascades.
Yellow-billed Loon Gavia adamsii — Rare migrant, winter resident in Western Washington, usually on sheltered coastal waters, frequently in fairly shallow bays. Elusive, often not staying in any one location for extended periods. Semi-regular at Westport, Ocean Shores, Neah Bay, John Wayne Marina on Sequim Bay, various spots in north Puget Trough. Casual winter resident in Eastern Washington along Columbia River. Casual west in summer.
Pied-billed Grebe Podilymbus podiceps — Common (west) to fairly common (east) summer resident in marshes, wetlands, shallow lakes with emergent vegetation; absent from mountains, heavily forested zones. Migrant statewide, including mountain lakes. In winter, common resident in western lowlands, less common, local east. Strong preference for freshwater habitats, rarely in saltwater bays.
Horned Grebe Podiceps auritus — Common winter resident west of Cascades on protected marine waters, occurring singly or in small groups; small numbers on large freshwater lakes. Uncommon to locally fairly common on Columbia River reservoirs in winter. Uncommon summer resident on Eastside, nests rarely in Okanogan, Northeast.
Red-necked Grebe Podiceps grisegena — Common winter resident west of Cascades on protected marine waters, highest abundance in Port Townsend area; a few also on large freshwater lakes. Fairly common breeder on forested lakes in Okanogan, Northeast (e.g., Sinlahekin Valley, Molson Lake, Big Meadow Lake, Sullivan Lake).
Eared Grebe Podiceps nigricollis — Fairly common summer resident in shallow Eastern Washington alkaline ponds, pothole lakes with emergent vegetation. Known sites include Turnbull NWR, Molson Lake, Muskrat Lake, Big Goose Lake, Fishtrap Lake. Large numbers congregate in fall, a few birds winter, on Soap Lake (Grant County). Uncommon, local winter resident on Westside, mostly on sheltered marine waters.
Western Grebe Aechmophorus occidentalis — Fairly common but local summer resident on large lakes in Eastern Washington. Nests on Moses Lake, Potholes Reservoir, Banks Lake (Steamboat Rock State Park). Spectacular courtship display peaks late April–early May. Uncommon winter resident on Columbia River reservoirs. Common winter resident on marine waters, occupying variety of habitats from sheltered bays to rough waters just beyond breakers. Local winter resident on large Western Washington lowland lakes (e.g., Lake Washington). Wintering numbers declining.
Clark’s Grebe Aechmophorus clarkii — Uncommon, local summer resident in Columbia Basin, invariably with Westerns. Nests on Moses Lake, Potholes Reservoir, Banks Lake (Steamboat Rock State Park). Rare migrant, winter resident on lakes, protected marine waters elsewhere in state.
White-capped Albatross Thalassarche cauta — First North American record collected 35 miles off Quillayute River mouth in September 1951. Second Washington record, on pelagic trip off Westport in January 2000.
Laysan Albatross Phoebastria immutabilis — Rare pelagic visitor, best October–April. Numbers steadily increasing in Northeastern Pacific since 1990s, including recent establishment of breeding colony off northwestern Mexico.
Black-footed Albatross Phoebastria nigripes — Year-round pelagic visitor, uncommon only in winter when most are nesting in mid-subtropical Pacific. Hundreds often recorded on summer–fall trips off Westport—best way to see this species in Lower 48.
Short-tailed Albatross Phoebastria albatrus — Once common off Pacific Coast, disappeared from Washington waters before 1900. With partial recovery of breeding population in Western Pacific in recent years, has become rare off shore, with 13 records in the past 20 years, annual in last seven years.
Northern Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis — Fairly common to common pelagic visitor, usually well offshore, with definite peak in fall (beginning August). Numbers vary year to year. Both color morphs occur, with lightest birds representing about 10 percent of total. In winter, recorded in inland marine waters (Straits of Juan de Fuca, Georgia), also often as beached birds on outer coast.
Providence Petrel Pterodroma solandri – Only Washington record—and one of only a few for North America—observed in September 1983 off Westport.
Murphy’s Petrel Pterodroma ultima — Seen mostly far offshore, with seven records for Washington, most in April and May. Probably more regular in seldom-visited waters.
Mottled Petrel Pterodroma inexpectata — Observations increasing, probably regular early spring and late fall visitor off outer coast. One record from the Puget Sound in November 2009 is the only sighting on inland marine waters. Several records of birds found dead on Pacific beaches.
Hawaiian Petrel Pterodroma sandwichensis — Two records, one from offshore in Grays Harbor County, September 2008, and one from offshore in Pacific County May 2014.
Cook’s Petrel Pterodroma cookii — One bird found dead on Pacific beach December 1995.
Pink-footed Shearwater Puffinus creatopus — Fairly common to common pelagic visitor May–October, rare winter.
Flesh-footed Shearwater Puffinus carneipes — Rare pelagic visitor, most likely late July–October but scattered records in other warm months. Almost always seen near shrimp trawlers.
Great Shearwater Puffinus gravis — Six records, all off coast, and all in August, September, and October.
Wedge-tailed Shearwater Puffinus pacificus — Two records, both of them found dead on Ocean Shores beaches, one, September 1999, and one, January 2011.
Buller’s Shearwater Puffinus bulleri — Fairly common to common pelagic visitor August–October.
Sooty Shearwater Puffinus griseus — Common offshore visitor in warmer months, from just beyond breakers to pelagic waters. Rare winter. Most commonly seen shearwater from shore. Immense numbers pass by August–September, sometimes thousands entering Grays Harbor, Willapa Bay. Uncommon in Strait of Juan de Fuca, rare in Puget Sound, particularly during, after fall storms.
Short-tailed Shearwater Puffinus tenuirostris — Uncommon late summer–winter pelagic visitor, numbers variable year to year. Rare in inland marine waters during, after fall storms (particularly late October–November), where records outnumber Sooty Shearwater.
Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus — First securely documented records in North Pacific Ocean from Westport, Ocean Shores in September of 1990. Since then, records have multiplied rapidly along North American Pacific Coast. Manx Shearwater now annual in small numbers in Washington. Most records from outer coastline, with only a few well offshore, and a few from inland marine waters. Reliably found near Destruction and Anderson Islands in summer. Dates range February–October with peak in June–July.
Wilson’s Storm-Petrel Oceanites oceanicus — Four records, all in pelagic waters in the summer months (July 1984, September 2001, July 2003, August 2005).
Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel Oceanodroma furcata — Southern subspecies plumbea nests on islets off Outer Olympic Coast but rarely seen from shore. Fairly common spring through early fall on pelagic trips. Seen almost annually on inland marine waters east to Admiralty Inlet, most likely after storms. Aleutian-breeding subspecies furcata known from a few specimens.
Leach’s Storm-Petrel Oceanodroma leucorhoa — Common breeder on islets off Outer Olympic Coast but virtually never noted from shore. Leaves breeding sites under cover of darkness, heads out to deeper, warmer waters than those reached by most pelagic boats. On Westport pelagic trip found fairly regularly late July–early August, hit-or-miss late April–early May. Occasionally seen on inland marine waters, usually after storms.
Ashy Storm-Petrel Oceanodroma homochroa – Two records, both seen in pelagic waters: June 2006 and April 2008.
Red-billed Tropicbird Phaethon aethereus — One bird collected off Westport in June 1941.
Magnificent Frigatebird Fregata magnificens — One Eastside record, from Umatilla NWR in July 1975. One Westside record, bird seen at several locations on Puget Sound, South Coast, mouth of Columbia River for much of October 1988.
Blue-footed Booby Sula nebouxii — Two records: One bird collected in Puget Sound off Everett in September 1935; one seen over Samish Island, Skagit County in August 2006.
Brown Booby Sula leucogaster — Ten records in the state, all since 1997. Records spread across all seasons and divided evenly between marine waters (on pelagic trips) and inland marine waters.
Brandt’s Cormorant Phalacrocorax penicillatus — Large numbers of non-breeders in summer along North Olympic Coast, in San Juans, northern Puget Trough. Breeding records from small number of rocks and promontories on Outer Olympic Coast, also at Cape Disappointment. Fairly common to locally common winter resident on marine waters (uncommon in southern Puget Trough). Good winter sites include Point No Point, Possession Bar, Port Susan, Hale Passage, deeper channels in San Juans. Frequents deeper water, more tidal rips than Double-crested or Pelagic.
Double-crested Cormorant Phalacrocorax auritus — Common summer resident along saltwater coastlines including inland marine waters, locally in Columbia Basin, Pend Oreille River valley. Large numbers winter in Western Washington, much smaller numbers east. Only cormorant seen in freshwater habitats.
Red-faced Cormorant Phalacrocorax urile — One bird seen at mouth of Elwha River in May 1999.
Pelagic Cormorant Phalacrocorax pelagicus — Common year-round resident on marine waters. Prefers deep, clear waters to shallow bays.
American White Pelican Pelecanus erythrorhynchos — Fairly common year-round resident along Columbia River, nearby reservoirs, lakes in South Central Washington—most numerous late summer–early fall, least numerous winter. Increasing, spreading; noted regularly east along Snake River to Clarkston north to Bridgeport, Banks Lake. In 1994, resumed breeding near Wallula after 60-year hiatus in state. Strays to Western Washington regularly, in small numbers, at any season. Recently, a breeding colony has appeared on Miller Sands Island, just outside Wahkiakum County, in the Oregon portion of the mouth of the Columbia River.
Brown Pelican Pelecanus occidentalis — Common, apparently increasing post-breeding summer–fall visitor along outer coast, particularly conspicuous at Westport, Ocean Shores. Has made remarkable recovery since 1970s, when populations crashed. In fall, uncommon in Strait of Juan de Fuca, casual in Puget Sound—a very few have persisted well into winter. Recorded east.
American Bittern Botaurus lentiginosus — Uncommon, local, possibly declining summer resident in extensive marshes statewide. Rare winter. Good bet at Ridgefield, Steigerwald, and Nisqually NWRs in Western Washington, Toppenish NWR east of Cascades.
Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias — Common year-round resident statewide. Nesting colonies declining in some areas due to habitat loss, nest predation by burgeoning Bald Eagle population.
Great Egret Ardea alba — Fairly common summer resident at Potholes Reservoir. Uncommon elsewhere in Columbia Basin, but breeding colonies appearing at new sites such as Toppenish NWR and Hanford Reach. Fairly common late-summer–fall visitor, uncommon winter resident in Southwest, also along outer coast north to Grays Harbor.
Snowy Egret Egretta thula — Casual to rare visitor to Eastern, Western Washington, less frequent in recent years after being near-annual during the 1980s and 1990s. Records from late April to early December, with most in spring (peak May).
Little Blue Heron Egretta caerulea — Six records: Three westside records of immatures: October 1974–January 1975 (Whatcom), October 1989 (Whidbey Island), and September 2014 (Skagit). Three eastside records: One adult near Ellensburg in June 2002, one adult in Douglas County, August 2010, and one immature in Spokane County in November 2014.
Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis — Casual to rare (irregularly uncommon) late-fall post-breeding visitor to lowlands on both sides of Cascades, mainly in fields. Most disappear in cold winter weather. Casual spring–summer. Decreasing in recent years, with only about five reports in the last five years.
Green Heron Butorides virescens — Once casual (first nested 1939), now uncommon summer resident of sloughs, swamps in lowland Western Washington; rare winter. Rare in Eastern Washington.
Black-crowned Night-Heron Nycticorax nycticorax — Common but local breeding resident of Columbia Basin; winters in small numbers. Rare and local on Westside.
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron Nycticorax violacea — Two records: Walla Walla May–June 1993, Wenatchee September 2001.
White Ibis Eudocimus albus — One record, from Pacific County in late December 2000–January 2001.
Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus – One record, from Nisqually NWR in May 2005.
White-faced Ibis Plegadis chihi — Rare and irregular visitor on both sides of Cascades, mostly May–June. Sometimes appears in large flocks. Several pairs attempted nesting at Lake Kahlotus in 2001.
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura — Fairly common summer resident of open country in Westside lowlands, along lower east slopes of Cascades. Uncommon, local in Southeast; nearly absent from much of Columbia Basin. Common migrant across Strait of Juan de Fuca in fall, many arriving in vicinity of Salt Creek County Park after passage south from Vancouver Island.
California Condor Gymnogyps californianus — Noted along Columbia River by Lewis-Clark Expedition in 1805, from Wind River to ocean. Many other reports from various parts of state across 19th century, last from September 1897 at Coulee City. Large numbers of condors once came to Columbia to feast on salmon carcasses in fall spawning season. Nesting, though hypothesized, not demonstrated north of California.
Osprey Pandion haliaetus — Fairly common, increasing migrant, summer resident statewide. Large numbers nest semi-colonially at mouth of Snohomish River in Everett, along Pend Oreille River at Usk. Casual winter.
White-tailed Kite Elanus leucurus — Rare, local winter resident in Southwest. Recently nearly absent from state. After steady increase in population through mid-2000s, population has largely disappeared by mid-2010s and long-term trends are unclear. Occupies bottomlands, open fields, rank grasslands as far north at maximum range as Chehalis River drainage in Lewis, Thurston, Grays Harbor counties. Rare in summer (first nesting record Raymond 1988). Traditionally most easily found in Wahkiakum County near Julia Butler Hansen NWR. Casual wanderer northward in western lowlands, especially late winter–spring.
Bald Eagle Haliaeetus leucocephalus — Common year-round resident in Western Washington lowlands, mostly along coasts. Breeding numbers increased dramatically in last decades. Densest breeding population on San Juan Islands. Famous early-winter concentration on Skagit River near Marblemount, attracted to spawning salmon. High numbers also winter on Samish, Skagit, Stillaguamish River deltas. In Eastern Washington, uncommon breeder in Okanogan, Northeast (mostly along Okanogan, Sanpoil, Kettle, Columbia, Colville, Pend Oreille Rivers). Numbers east of Cascades highest in winter as Canadian lakes freeze, forcing many birds south.
Northern Harrier Circus cyaneus — Fairly common (east), uncommon, local (west) summer resident in grassland habitats; fairly common to locally common winter resident in similar habitats statewide when free of deep snow.
Sharp-shinned Hawk Accipiter striatus — Uncommon year-round resident in conifer-forest landscapes statewide. Most nest in relatively remote localities where can be secretive, difficult to find. In winter, descend from higher elevations (or farther north), concentrate near sources of songbird prey such as feeders in towns. Fairly common migrant, especially fall.
Cooper’s Hawk Accipiter cooperii — Uncommon, probably increasing year-round resident in open forests (conifer, mixed, deciduous) throughout state, especially in riparian settings. In nesting season, outnumbers Sharp-shinned in lowlands, around towns; reverse true in winter. Fairly common migrant, especially fall.
Northern Goshawk Accipiter gentilis — Rare summer resident in mountains wherever mature forests occur. Declining due to loss of habitat. Probably rarest in Olympic Mountains, Southwest; most common at mid-elevations along east slopes of Cascades, in Okanogan Highlands, Selkirk, Blue Mountains. Difficult to locate in breeding season—occasionally chanced upon soaring over nesting territory, particularly mid-morning. Uncommon fall migrant along high mountain ridges. Rare to locally uncommon winter resident in lowlands, mainly east of Cascades—especially wooded areas close to waterfowl or pheasant concentrations.
Red-shouldered Hawk Buteo lineatus — Rare winter resident of lowland riparian forests in Southwest; expanding northward from Oregon. Regular (1–2 birds) each winter in recent years at Ridgefield NWR, probably increasing elsewhere along lower Columbia River. Recent records northward to Kent Valley, Skagit Game Range, Neah Bay, eastward to riparian bottomlands in South Central.
Broad-winged Hawk Buteo platypterus — Rare migrant statewide; much more frequent fall (annual in recent years). Most fall sightings from hawk observatory at Chelan Ridge. A few seen regularly each fall from observatory at Rocky Point on southern tip of Vancouver Island, headed south across Strait of Juan de Fuca—indicating largely undetected southbound migration through Western Washington.
Swainson’s Hawk Buteo swainsoni — Fairly common summer resident in Eastern Washington, occupying agricultural fields, moister shrub-steppe grasslands; uncommon in lowermost, driest portions of southern Columbia Basin. Formerly widespread in prairies with scattered trees for nesting. Has adapted to irrigated alfalfa, hay farming, dryland wheat fields, nesting wherever windbreaks or clumps of trees available nearby. Several hundred pairs nest in Columbia Basin, future seems reasonably secure. Casual in spring migration west.
Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis — Common year-round resident in most habitats statewide, except dense forest. Numbers augmented in migration, winter with visitors from north, interior of continent, including uncommon Harlan’s Hawk (harlani) and possibly Krider’s Hawk (krideri), though reports of the latter are hard to distinguish from other, more likely, subspecies.
Ferruginous Hawk Buteo regalis — Uncommon, local summer resident in Columbia Basin, typically nesting on coulee walls in most arid portions. Winters casually in Walla Walla region. Declining due to loss of habitat. Fewer than 50 pairs remain in state. Some may be adapting to forage on irrigated fields with high rodent populations, if disturbance-free nest sites available nearby. Hanford Site best, but much of it off-limits to birders. Other known sites: Juniper Dunes Wilderness Area, Palouse Falls, Sprague Lake, Crab Creek east of town of Wilson Creek. Recorded west.
Rough-legged Hawk Buteo lagopus — Fairly common winter resident. Local west of Cascades, most likely on Samish/Skagit Flats. In Eastern Washington, especially in dryland wheat fields, Kittitas Valley.
Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos — Uncommon, declining, year-round resident of cliffs, rugged terrain from low to mid-elevations on Cascades east slopes, Okanogan Highlands, Selkirks, Snake River Canyon, Blues. Rare resident in San Juan Islands, Olympics, locally on west slopes of Cascades. Fairly common migrant along alpine ridges fall. In winter, some descend to open country in lowlands.
Yellow Rail Coturnicops noveboracensis — Three records: Skagit River delta in November 1935, Columbia Basin (Adams County) in April 1969, and Ridgefield NWR (Clark County) in May 2007.
Virginia Rail Rallus limicola — Year-round resident of freshwater, brackish marshes. Fairly common summer; numbers lower in winter, especially east of Cascades.
Sora Porzana carolina — Uncommon (west) to fairly common (east) summer resident of freshwater (rarely saltwater) marshes, wet fields, ranging up to mid-elevation sedge meadows on Eastside. Rare west in winter.
American Coot Fulica americana — Winter resident in huge numbers on lowland lakes, ponds, reservoirs; much smaller numbers on protected marine waters. Fairly common but local summer resident of lakes, ponds statewide.
Sandhill Crane Grus canadensis — In March–April, again September, Lesser Sandhill Crane (subspecies canadensis) passes through Eastern Washington by thousands—especially conspicuous west of Othello in corn stubble, on Waterville Plateau. In Western Washington, fairly common migrant in Woodland Bottoms, Vancouver Lowlands; hundreds winter. Also sometimes seen in spring passage along outer coast. Greater Sandhill Crane (subspecies tabida) formerly widespread summer resident on both sides of Cascades, now virtually extirpated. A few still nest at Conboy Lake NWR, also near Signal Peak on Yakama Indian Reservation (closed to public). Rare migrant, mixed in with Lessers.
Black-necked Stilt Himantopus mexicanus — Locally fairly common summer resident in Columbia Basin, lower Yakima River valley—especially Potholes, Toppenish NWR, Satus Wildlife Area. Recent arrival in Washington, first nested 1973. Rare migrant, summer resident in Western Washington; nested 2001 at Ridgefield NWR.
American Avocet Recurvirostra americana — Locally fairly common summer resident in Columbia Basin, nesting around pond edges, other wet habitats (especially alkaline). Migrants may be seen as early as March, as late as November. Rare migrant, summer resident in Western Washington. Has nested at Crockett Lake (successfully 2000, attempted 2002).
Black Oystercatcher Haematopus bachmani — Uncommon year-round resident on rocky coastlines. Paired in nesting season, often concentrates into localized flocks (up to 40 birds) in winter. Most numerous in Northwest—especially Cape Flattery, San Juans, Fidalgo Island, northern Whidbey Island. Virtually absent from Puget Sound proper, very local along South Coast. A few often noted on log booms at Ediz Hook. Recorded east.
Black-bellied Plover Pluvialis squatarola — Common migrant, winter resident in or near marine habitats; casual spring, uncommon fall migrant east of Cascades. Often seen in plowed, wet fields.
American Golden-Plover Pluvialis dominica — Rare spring, uncommon fall migrant on coasts—Damon Point at Ocean Shores reliable site. Rare fall migrant in Eastern Washington, casual spring.
Pacific Golden-Plover Pluvialis fulva — Rare spring, uncommon fall migrant along outer coast; recorded east. Casual in winter west. Best sites Damon Point at Ocean Shores, Leadbetter Point, Dungeness NWR. Often occurs side-by-side with American Golden-Plover; separation challenging but brightest golden juvenile Pacifics readily identifiable.
Lesser Sand-Plover Charadrius mongolus — Four records, all recent, all seen between last week of August and first week of September. Three records (2010, 2012, 2013) from Ocean Shores, one record (2013) from Bottle Beach.
Snowy Plover Charadrius nivosus — Uncommon, local year-round resident along South Coast beaches north to Grays Harbor county line, most on Leadbetter Point, Midway Beach (Grayland). Recorded east.
Wilson’s Plover Charadrius wilsonia — Two records, both from 2012. One east, in Walla Walla County (August–September 2012); one west, Grays Harbor County (October–November 2012).
Common Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula — One record, Port Susan Bay (Snohomish County), September 2006.
Semipalmated Plover Charadrius semipalmatus — Common migrant, rare winter resident on saltwater beaches, tideflats. Uncommon migrant in interior. Has nested at Ocean Shores.
Piping Plover Charadrius melodus — One record, at Reardan Ponds for four days in July 1990.
Killdeer Charadrius vociferus — Common year-round resident, except uncommon to rare in winter east of Cascades. Open-country bird, most often seen on lawns, fields, gravel roads/parking lots, beaches, tideflats, bare ground.
Mountain Plover Charadrius montanus — Five winter records from outer coast (three from Pacific County, two from Grays Harbor County) in November 1964, December 2000, February 2005, January 2011, November 2014; one from Turnbull NWR (Spokane), May 1968.
Eurasian Dotterel Charadrius morinellus — Four fall records (September 3–November 4), three from Ocean Shores, in 1934, 1979, 1999, one from Pacific County in 2007. One bird remained for over two weeks.
Spotted Sandpiper Actitis macularius — Fairly common, widespread summer resident; nests close to water on both sides of Cascades, from sea level to alpine lakes. A few winter in western lowlands.
Solitary Sandpiper Tringa solitaria — Uncommon fall, rare spring migrant, generally more numerous east. Almost always seen at ponds, other freshwater sites from lowlands up to forested mountain lakes.
Gray-tailed Tattler Tringa brevipes — One record, in October 1975 at Leadbetter Point.
Wandering Tattler Tringa incana — Fairly common migrant on rocky shores, jetties on outer coast; local in appropriate saltwater habitats elsewhere. Best sites include Westport, Ocean Shores jetties. Accidental in winter. Recorded east.
Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus — One record, from late November to early December 2014 in Skagit County.
Greater Yellowlegs Tringa melanoleuca — Common (west) to fairly common (east) in migration, uncommon (west) to rare (east) winter resident, in both freshwater, saltwater habitats.
Willet Tringa semipalmata — Rare to locally uncommon winter resident of coastal estuaries, salt marshes, north to Drayton Harbor; most often noted at Tokeland, nearby New River mouth, Ediz Hook, Dungeness NWR. Casual spring migrant through interior.
Lesser Yellowlegs Tringa flavipes — Uncommon spring, common fall migrant statewide; casual in winter west. Favors same habitats as Greater Yellowlegs (mudflats, shorelines, shallow marshes).
Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola — One record from Samish Flats (Skagit County) in August 2011.
Upland Sandpiper Bartramia longicauda — Formerly uncommon summer resident in Spokane Valley between Spokane, Idaho line; no breeding records there since 1993. Probably extirpated as breeder in state, although one 2002 summer record from former breeding area is intriguing. Casual fall, accidental spring migrant east, west.
Little Curlew Numenius minutus — One record, at Leadbetter Point in May 2001.
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus — American subspecies hudsonicus fairly common migrant, rare, local winter resident in various wet habitats west of Cascades. Casual migrant (mostly fall) in Eastern Washington. Two May records of white-rumped Siberian subspecies variegatus, both from Ocean Shores.
Bristle-thighed Curlew Numenius tahitiensis — Up to 10 individuals observed length of outer coast, from Leadbetter Point to Tatoosh Island, in May 1998. One prior record from Leadbetter Point in May 1982.
Long-billed Curlew Numenius americanus — Uncommon spring, early-summer resident in Columbia Basin grasslands, agricultural fields. Winters at Tokeland, rare elsewhere; most migrate to California, Mexico. Migrants occasionally noted on outer coast, along Columbia River, even in mountain meadows.
Hudsonian Godwit Limosa haemastica — Rare fall migrant. Most records juveniles from Pacific Coast, Semiahmoo Bay, Columbia Basin, late August to mid-October. Casual in spring.
Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica — Rare fall, casual spring migrant, mostly on outer coast; one bird stayed into winter. Best places Willapa Bay (especially Tokeland), Grays Harbor (especially Westport, Ocean Shores). Scattered records from other saltwater bays, shorelines such as Dungeness area, southern Puget Sound.
Marbled Godwit Limosa fedoa — Common winter resident at Tokeland, uncommon migrant, winter resident elsewhere on coastal mudflats. Rare migrant in Columbia Basin (e.g., Columbia River, Potholes Reservoir).
Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres — In Western Washington, fairly common migrant, rare winter resident on saltwater shorelines; also on plowed fields in spring (e.g., Chehalis River floodplain). Casual fall migrant east of Cascades.
Black Turnstone Arenaria melanocephala — Common migrant, winter resident on rocky coasts. Best sites include Penn Cove, Fort Flagler, jetties at Ocean Shores, Westport, West Seattle. Roosts on log booms (e.g., Ediz Hook), piers, boats, rafts. Accidental in Columbia Basin in migration.
Great Knot Calidris tenuirostris — One record, from early September 1979 at La Push.
Red Knot Calidris canutus — Uncommon to rare migrant on outer coast, except briefly fairly common in Grays Harbor (Bottle Beach, Bowerman Basin) late April–early May. Casual migrant in Puget Sound region (mostly spring). Winters rarely on coast. Casual fall migrant in Eastern Washington.
Surfbird Calidris virgata — Fairly common but local migrant, winter resident on rocky saltwater shorelines. Some favored sites include Fort Flagler, Ediz Hook, Neah Bay, jetties at Ocean Shores, Westport, West Seattle.
Ruff Calidris pugnax — Rare fall migrant in Western Washington, peak August–September. Most records juveniles along outer coast—Grays Harbor (especially Ocean Shores), Willapa Bay best. Accidental in spring. Casual fall in Columbia Basin.
Sharp-tailed Sandpiper Calidris acuminata — Rare, irregular fall migrant, often in company of Pectoral Sandpiper, mostly on outer coast. Favored sites include Ocean Shores, Leadbetter Point, Fir Island (Skagit County). Casual in Eastern Washington (Potholes, Walla Walla River delta). Records almost all of juveniles. Very few summer records of adults.
Stilt Sandpiper Calidris himantopus — Rare fall migrant in Western Washington; uncommon fall, accidental spring east of Cascades.
Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea — Accidental spring (one record each from Potholes, Leadbetter Point, Ocean City), casual fall migrant. Fall records all but two from coasts (mid-July–early October).
Temminck’s Stint Calidris temminckii — One record, from Ocean Shores in November 2005.
Red-necked Stint Calidris ruficollis — Five records, all from late-June through July: Whidbey Island (July 1993); Dungeness (July 2005) Snohomish County (June 2007); Ocean Shores (July 2009); Bottle Beach (July 2013).
Sanderling Calidris alba — Common migrant, winter resident along sandy beaches of outer coast; fairly common but local in similar situations around Puget Trough. Casual spring, uncommon fall migrant east of Cascades.
Dunlin Calidris alpina — Commonest wintering shorebird at this latitude. Common migrant, winter resident on coastal bays, flocks numbering in tens of thousands at favored sites such as Samish/Skagit Flats, Grays Harbor, Willapa Bay. Uncommon migrant, rare winter resident in Columbia Basin.
Rock Sandpiper Calidris ptilocnemis — Uncommon, declining migrant, winter resident on Pacific, North Olympic Coasts, rare along marine waters farther inland. Favored sites jetties at Ocean Shores, Westport, mouth of Columbia River. One or two records of distinctive Pribilofs subspecies ptilocnemis. Question of which other subspecies reach Washington not fully resolved, although most birds likely tschuktschorum.
Baird’s Sandpiper Calidris bairdii — Uncommon to locally fairly common fall migrant east of Cascades, including at high-mountain lakes August–early September; uncommon, local on coasts, inland Puget Sound (especially Damon Point at Ocean Shores, Crockett Lake). Casual west, rare east in spring.
Little Stint Calidris minuta — One record of an adult at the Yakima River confluence (Benton County), in August 2004.
Least Sandpiper Calidris minutilla — On Westside, common spring, fall migrant; on Eastside, uncommon (spring) to fairly common (fall). Uncommon (west) to rare (east) winter resident. Forages on muddy borders of ponds, estuaries, saltwater mudflats, also in shallow freshwater, saltwater marshes. Typically seen in small groups rather than large flocks.
White-rumped Sandpiper Calidris fuscicollis — Seven records, four from eastern Washington (May–June), three from western Washington (July–August).
Buff-breasted Sandpiper Tryngites subruficollis — Rare fall migrant. Juveniles occur most years along coast from mid-August to mid-September; Damon Point at Ocean Shores most reliable place. A few fall records from Puget Trough, Eastern Washington; one late-May record from Leadbetter Point.
Pectoral Sandpiper Calidris melanotos — Fairly common fall migrant statewide; rare (west) to casual (east) in spring.
Semipalmated Sandpiper Calidris pusilla — Uncommon fall migrant, rare in spring. Most Western Washington reports come from Northwest (especially Crockett Lake).
Western Sandpiper Calidris mauri — Common spring, fall migrant west, uncommon winter resident on saltwater shorelines. Greatest numbers along outer coast in spring, especially Bowerman Basin, where upwards of 500,000 birds may stop in a single day. Rare spring, fairly common fall migrant east.
Short-billed Dowitcher Limnodromus griseus — Common migrant on outer coast—mostly in bays but occasionally on beaches. Impressive spring concentrations in Grays Harbor (Bowerman Basin, Bottle Beach). Much more frequent than Long-billed on saltwater, estuarine habitats. Rare fall, casual spring migrant in Eastern Washington. Most adults migrating through Washington belong to subspecies caurinus, less extensively red beneath in alternate plumage, hence fairly readily separable from Long-billed, especially in spring. Subspecies hendersoni casual migrant east.
Long-billed Dowitcher Limnodromus scolopaceus — Fairly common migrant statewide, usually on fresh water; uncommon winter on coastal bays.
Jack Snipe Lymnocryptes minimus — One record, from Skagit Game Range in September 1993.
Wilson’s Snipe Gallinago delicata — Fairly common migrant statewide. Fairly common summer resident east; uncommon, local west. Fairly common west, uncommon to rare east in winter. Found in many types of wet habitats, from lowland fields to mountain meadows.
Wilson’s Phalarope Phalaropus tricolor— Locally fairly common migrant, summer resident of marshes, wet meadows, pond edges in Eastern Washington. Rare migrant in similar freshwater habitats on Westside (mostly spring); a few breeding records. Rare migrant on salt water.
Red-necked Phalarope Phalaropus lobatus — Common spring, fall migrant west, often abundant in pelagic waters. In Eastern Washington, uncommon spring migrant, fairly common fall (sometimes locally abundant at sewage ponds).
Red Phalarope Phalaropus fulicarius— Mainly noted on Westport pelagic trips where uncommon spring, fairly common fall. Occasionally wrecks along outer coast after severe October–November storms. Casual migrant east of Cascades.
South Polar Skua Stercorarius maccormicki — Rare spring–summer, uncommon fall pelagic visitor. Usually seen as quick flyby or with concentrations of shearwaters, gulls at fishing trawlers, well off Westport.
Pomarine Jaeger Stercorarius pomarinus — Fairly common pelagic visitor, numbers higher during migration than mid-winter, mid-summer. Rarely seen from shore, then usually distant, making identification difficult. Casual on inland marine waters; recorded east.
Parasitic Jaeger Stercorarius parasiticus — Fairly common (spring) to common (fall) pelagic migrant; substantial numbers also on inland marine waters, coastal bays in fall, apparently tracking Common Tern migration. Rare fall migrant along Columbia River east of Cascades.
Long-tailed Jaeger Stercorarius longicaudus — Uncommon fall (peak August), rare spring pelagic visitor well offshore, quite scarce some years. Casual on inland marine waters. Casual fall in Eastern Washington, mainly along Columbia River.
Common Murre Uria aalge — Fairly common to common year round on pelagic waters, Pacific Coast. Breeds in summer on islets along Outer Olympic Coast; numbers, nesting success vary greatly, depending on water temperature, food availability. Numbers increase in summer, early autumn from individuals moving north for winter. On inland marine waters, fairly common to common in winter (especially northern parts), uncommon to absent in summer.
Thick-billed Murre Uria lomvia — Casual fall–winter visitor on outer coast, pelagic waters; accidental in inland marine waters. Dates range from late September to March with strong peak in December. One June record from 2014 at Hobuck Beach, Clallam.
Pigeon Guillemot Cepphus columba — Fairly common year-round resident of deep coastal waters, nesting in rocky bluffs, jetties, sandbank burrows, locally on pilings. Largest numbers around Protection Island. Not pelagic. Withdraws from outer coast in winter. Numbers increase on protected waters in winter, from California breeding populations that move north.
Long-billed Murrelet Brachyramphus perdix — Ten accepted records, all since 1993: most from outer coast, most between August and November, with one March and one July record. One Eastern Washington record from Garfield County in August, 2001.
Marbled Murrelet Brachyramphus marmoratus — Declining but still fairly common year-round resident of deep, protected coastal waters. Nests in old-growth coastal forests, especially on Olympic Peninsula, fewer on west slopes of Cascades. Usually easy to see at Salt Creek County Park, also tidal rips such as at Point No Point, Fort Flagler, off southern ends of Orcas, San Juan Islands. Decline due primarily to loss of nesting habitat, but other factors may contribute.
Kittlitz’s Murrelet Brachyramphus brevirostris — Single record, from Friday Harbor (San Juan Island) in January 1974.
Scripps’s Murrelet Synthliboramphus scrippsi — Previously considered conspecific with Guadalupe Murrelet, (as “Xantus’s Murrelet”), Scripps’s average one or more records a year on Westport pelagic trips, most in fall (August–September), with several summer records and one winter record.
Guadalupe Murrelet Synthliboramphus hypoleucus — One accepted record from July 2003 on Westport pelagic trip. Several other plausible off-shore reports remain undocumented.
Ancient Murrelet Synthliboramphus antiquus — Uncommon to locally fairly common late-fall–early-winter resident of marine waters—mostly in deeper waters of eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca, northern Puget Sound. Usually arrives after strong November storms, becomes decidedly uncommon by January. Most easily found at tidal rips at Point No Point, Fort Worden, and Fort Flagler, or from Port Townsend-Coupeville Ferry. Sometimes seen on pelagic trips from Westport, mostly in winter as distant flyby. Probably breeds intermittently in tiny numbers in seabird colonies along Outer Olympic Coast. Recorded east.
Cassin’s Auklet Ptychoramphus aleuticus — Once most abundant breeding non-gull seabird in Washington, now fairly common, seriously declining. Nests on islets off Outer Olympic Coast but infrequently seen from shore. Regular on Westport pelagic trips. Rare on inland marine waters.
Parakeet Auklet Aethia psittacula — Rarely observed on pelagic trips and found dead on beaches, but apparently regular off-shore, especially in winter. Over 1500 seen at Grays Canyon in early March 2013, indicating greater abundance than expected in spring.
Whiskered Auklet Aethia pygmaea — One record, at Penn Cove two days in May 1999.
Rhinoceros Auklet Cerorhinca monocerata — Common summer resident in deeper coastal waters, though scarcer in southern Puget Sound. Thousands nest on Protection Island. Large numbers often seen at entrance to Grays Harbor on pelagic boat trips. Less common in winter.
Horned Puffin Fratercula corniculata —Rare visitor on outer coast and accidentally in inland marine waters. More regular off-shore presence indicated by occasional large die-offs observed by beach surveys.
Tufted Puffin Fratercula cirrhata — Locally uncommon summer resident on islands along Outer Olympic, North Olympic coasts. Infrequent on Westport pelagic trips. Easiest to see at Cape Flattery, La Push; also Diamond Point, Protection Island boat trip.
Black-legged Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla — Fairly common on pelagic waters, except uncommon summer. Numbers vary from one year to the next. Often seen from shore at Westport jetty, north jetty of Columbia River, less often at Neah Bay, Cape Flattery. Occurs eastward in small numbers along Strait of Juan de Fuca in late fall, particularly just after major storms; casual at same time on marine waters farther inland, as well as along Columbia River in Eastern Washington.
Red-legged Kittiwake Rissa brevirostris — Casual along or off Pacific Coast. Most records in winter (December–March). One bird stayed for a week at Tatoosh Island late June–early July. Another found on Westport pelagic trip in mid-August 2000, and one offshore near the mouth of the Columbia in September 2013.
Ivory Gull Pagophila eburnea — Two records, from Ocean Shores in December 1975, one from Yakima River confluence (Benton County) in January 2008.
Sabine’s Gull Xema sabini — Fairly common to sometimes common spring, fall pelagic migrant; rare in Puget Sound, other protected marine waters. In Eastern Washington, rare fall migrant along Columbia River, Grand Coulee lakes, mainly September.
Bonaparte’s Gull Chroicocephalus philadelphia — Common spring, fall migrant in Western Washington lowlands, fairly common but local winter resident; sometimes impressive concentrations at sewage lagoons, tidal rips. Uncommon migrant in Eastern Washington.
Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus — Casual fall migrant, winter resident mostly on inland marine waters. Records mostly from winter but stretch from mid-August to April. One from outer coast (Ocean Shores, November 1972), one from eastern Washington (Grant County, December 2007).
Little Gull Hydrocoloeus minutus — Casual migrant, winter resident west of Cascades, most often with Bonaparte’s Gulls and mostly on inland marine waters. Formerly annual at Point No Point in migration, recent records very sparse. Recorded east.
Ross’s Gull Rhodostethia rosea — Two records: McNary Dam (Benton County) for five days in November–December 1994; Palmer Lake (Okanogan County) for 12 days in December 2011.
Laughing Gull Leucophaeus atricilla — Seven records, all between May and September: five from outer coast, one from Point No Point and one from eastern Washington, in Wenatchee.
Franklin’s Gull Leucophaeus pipixcan — Uncommon fall migrant east, west—mostly juveniles. Rare (east) to casual (west) spring migrant and winter resident. Best sites include Grand Coulee lakes, Sprague Lake, Walla Walla River delta.
Black-tailed Gull Larus crassirostris – Seven records, all since 2004 all from March to October. Locations diverse: three on outer coast/pelagic waters; two in inland marine waters; two in eastern Washington.
Heermann’s Gull Larus heermanni — Common post-breeding visitor to outer coastal waters, Strait of Juan de Fuca; rare into winter. Progressively less frequent on marine waters farther inland. Easy to see August–October at Grays Harbor, Tokeland. Recorded along Columbia River east.
Mew Gull Larus canus — Common winter resident of coastal waters, near-coastal freshwater lakes, lowland agricultural fields west of Cascades; rare late-fall migrant, winter resident in Eastern Washington, mainly along Columbia, Snake Rivers.
Ring-billed Gull Larus delawarensis — Locally common summer resident in Eastern Washington, nesting colonially on sand, gravel islands in lakes, rivers; has also nested on dredge-spoil islands in Grays Harbor, Willapa Bay. Non-breeders abundant, widespread in Western Washington in summer. Common migrant west. Locally uncommon to variably common winter resident on both sides of Cascades, with good numbers most years around Tri-Cities, Walla Walla, Skagit River deltas. Often roosts, forages in agricultural fields.
Western Gull Larus occidentalis — Common resident on South Coast, where it breeds; fairly common on northern coasts, uncommon on inland marine waters. Washington birds represent lighter-mantled northern (nominate) subspecies. Hybridizes readily with Glaucous-winged Gull (“Olympic Gull”), complicating identification. Rare winter resident in Eastern Washington, most likely just below Columbia, Snake River dams.
California Gull Larus californicus — Common but local spring, summer resident in Eastern Washington. Breeding sites include Potholes Reservoir, Banks Lake, Columbia River north of Richland and Snake River. Common summer, fall along coasts, even well offshore to pelagic waters. In winter, common along Columbia and Snake Rivers, uncommon in coastal Western Washington.
Herring Gull Larus argentatus — Winter resident. Locally fairly common in Eastern Washington along Columbia, Snake Rivers, Grand Coulee lakes. In Western Washington, uncommon except locally common at late-winter smelt runs on Columbia River. Higher numbers on outer coast than on inland marine waters; more common in fresh water than salt water around Puget Trough. Casual in summer. Asian vegae race recorded four times since 2012.
Thayer’s Gull Larus thayeri — Uncommon to locally common winter resident of coastal waters; most abundant along North Olympic Coast (Elwha River mouth, Ediz Hook), south Puget Sound (Tukwila, Gog-Le-Hi-Te Wetlands), least common on outer coast where outnumbered by Herring Gull. Rare in winter on Grand Coulee lakes, along Columbia, Snake Rivers in Eastern Washington. Use caution in separating from Western X Glaucous-winged hybrids.
Iceland Gull Larus glaucoides — Casual winter visitor (November–April) around marine waters (pelagic, Strait of Juan de Fuca, Puget Sound), Columbia, Snake Rivers. Separation from Thayer’s Gull tricky, controversial. Most, if not all, records identifying the subspecies have been of the subspecies kumlieni.
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus — After first record at Walla Walla River delta in 2000, has become a rare winter visitor with a few records every year. Most from Eastern Washington, but at least three records from Western Washington.
Slaty-backed Gull Larus schistisagus — Casual winter visitor (October–mid-March) to inland marine waters. Majority of records come from lower Puget Sound.
Glaucous-winged Gull Larus glaucescens — Common year-round resident on all coastal waters, wandering short distance inland to forage, loaf, roost on agricultural fields, freshwater lakes. Many Washington birds (in some areas, most) hybridizes with Western Gull (“Olympic Gull”), generally exhibiting shade or two darker mantle than pure Glaucous-wingeds, primary tips darker than mantle. In Eastern Washington, uncommon winter resident along Columbia, Snake Rivers, Grand Coulee lakes. A few breed.
Glaucous Gull Larus hyperboreus — Rare to locally uncommon winter resident. First- and second-cycle birds predominate. Favored Westside sites include Elwha River mouth, Ediz Hook, Cedar River mouth in Renton. East of Cascades, mainly along Columbia River (especially Tri-Cities, Walla Walla River delta), semi-regular on Grand Coulee lakes.
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus — One record, January–February 2004 in Renton (King County).
Least Tern Sternula antillarum — Six records, three from Ocean Shores, two from inland marine waters, and one from eastern Washington. All records occurred between May and August.
Caspian Tern Hydroprogne caspia — Non-breeders abundant summer residents in coastal bays, inland marine waters; breeding colonies local, erratic, partly due to human persecution. Fairly common summer resident in Eastern Washington on a few major lakes, Columbia and Snake Rivers.
Black Tern Chlidonias niger — Fairly common but local summer resident of Eastern Washington marshes, shallow lakes. Good sites include Muskrat, Beth Lakes in Okanogan County, Turnbull NWR, Calispell Lake. Rare migrant in Western Washington. Has nested at Ridgefield NWR.
Common Tern Sterna hirundo — Fairly common spring, fall migrant on outer coast, smaller numbers on pelagic waters. Virtually absent spring, uncommon fall on inland marine waters. Recently has become less regular in inland marine waters. Uncommon fall migrant along Columbia River to coast.
Arctic Tern Sterna paradisaea — Uncommon pelagic migrant, easiest to see in August–September. Formerly bred on Jetty Island in Everett. Casual east in fall.
Forster’s Tern Sterna forsteri — Fairly common but local summer resident from Potholes south along Columbia River to Tri-Cities; uncommon north to mouth of Okanogan River, west to Columbia Gorge. Nests on gravel islands, also in marshes. Casual west, mostly fall.
Elegant Tern Thalasseus elegans — Irregular post-breeding visitor to outer-coastal beaches, bays in El Niño years, rarely to Puget Sound. Typically arrives in July or August.
Rock Pigeon Columba livia — Native to Old World; domesticated birds introduced to North America by early European settlers. Common year-round resident around farms, towns, cites. Naturalized Rock Pigeons breed on basalt cliffs in Eastern Washington.
Band-tailed Pigeon Patagioenas fasciata — Fairly common (summer) to uncommon (winter) resident of forests, well-treed residential areas in lowland Western Washington. Requires large conifers for nesting; core populations may be declining. Nests in smaller numbers upward to subalpine, spilling across Cascade Crest at Snoqualmie Pass; accidental reports east to Walla Walla, Spokane. Noted to gather at mineral springs.
Eurasian Collared-Dove Streptopelia decaocto — Introduced to New World from Eurasia. After arriving in Washington in Walla Walla County in 1996 and not being seen again until 2000 in Spokane, then spread rapidly across state and now have been observed in every county. Appear to favor smaller towns, farms over urban sites.
White-winged Dove Zenaida asiatica — Ten accepted records, mostly from western Washington and mostly from the summer (May–July). Two from Eastern Washington, three from fall (August–November).
Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura — Common summer resident east of Cascades, from Columbia Basin up into lower forest zones. Winters locally in smaller numbers, mainly near feedlots. Uncommon to locally fairly common year-round resident in Western Washington lowlands, mostly in open forests, agricultural areas, towns.
Yellow-billed Cuckoo Coccyzus americanus — Formerly rare, local summer resident in lowland hardwood, riparian forests in Western Washington, extirpated by 1940. Now casual, with seven spring–summer records (four west, three east), two fall records (both from eastern Washington), all since 1974. Decline illustrated by recent trend: only five records in the 1990s and one record since 2000.
Black-billed Cuckoo Coccyzus erythropthalmus — Accidental. Four records in narrow window June 19– July 1—three from eastern edge of state, one from Puget Sound.
Barn Owl Tyto alba — Uncommon to locally fairly common year-round resident of open agricultural areas in lowlands on both sides of Cascades. Often nests in haystacks, cliffs, human structures. Probably declining in Western Washington due to urban encroachment, retirement of pasturelands. Populations east of Cascades suffer in severe winters.
Flammulated Owl Psiloscops flammeolus — Uncommon, local summer resident in Ponderosa Pine, mixed pine and Douglas-fir forests in Eastern Washington. Some good sites include Old Blewett Pass, Bonaparte Lake, Rock Creek west of Okanogan, Bethel Ridge. Often near brushy terrain (especially Deerbrush), where an abundance of moths is possibly an attraction. Recorded west.
Western Screech-Owl Megascops kennicottii — Uncommon to locally fairly common year-round resident in lowland deciduous groves on both sides of state, but absent from many parts of central Columbia Basin. Western Washington populations declining, likely due to Barred Owl increase.
Great Horned Owl Bubo virginianus — Fairly common year-round resident at all elevations up to treeline in wide array of habitats, but usually absent from intact, moist conifer forests.
Snowy Owl Bubo scandiacus — Irruptive winter resident. In invasion years, easily found at coastal sites such as Skagit and Samish Flats (salt marshes, nearby fields), Ocean Shores (Damon Point), Dungeness NWR. Also in croplands across northern Columbia Basin. In non-flight years, when absent on Westside, a few usually present near Moses Lake, Davenport, Reardan.
Northern Hawk Owl Surnia ulula — Rare winter visitor, far more frequent east of Cascades than west, often in recent burns. Records in most winters, usually just 1–2 birds but sometimes up to 4–5 per season. Breeding confirmed in Okanogan County in 2007.
Northern Pygmy-Owl Glaucidium gnoma — Uncommon year-round resident of conifer, mixed forests at low to mid-elevations; some upslope movement to treeline in fall. Perhaps most numerous at mid-elevations on east slopes of Cascades. At least some move downslope in winter in Eastern Washington, where they can reach valley bottoms, though usually not far from mountains. Most active at dawn, dusk.
Burrowing Owl Athene cunicularia — Uncommon, local, declining summer resident of steppe habitats in Columbia Basin, rare north to Okanogan County. A few winter. Most readily found in Tri-Cities area. Accidental migrant west, formerly bred at Grays Harbor.
Spotted Owl Strix occidentalis — Rare and declining year-round resident of extensive mature forests of Cascades, Olympics. Good numbers east of Cascade Crest in forests much different in structure than colossal old growth they inhabit on Westside. Information on whereabouts difficult to obtain due to sensitive nature of national debate concerning ancient forests; inescapable fact: these owls are indeed declining.
Barred Owl Strix varia — Fairly common resident in moist, mixed forests statewide. Recent arrival in state, first noted 1965 in Pend Oreille County. Has spread, increased phenomenally; now found even in well-treed large cities, for example in Seattle’s Discovery Park. Some evidence that it is replacing Spotted Owl (with which it occasionally hybridizes) and possibly Western Screech-Owl.
Great Gray Owl Strix nebulosa — Rare, local, perhaps irregular year-round resident of mid-elevation mixed-conifer forests adjacent to openings, meadows in Okanogan County and Blue Mountains. Recent nesting documented from near Havillah, Bonaparte Lake, Colville Indian Reservation, Blue Mountains. Rare winter resident, possible breeder in Northeast. On Westside, casual, irregular winter resident in lowlands of northern Puget Trough, presumably birds coming coastward from east of Coast Mountains in British Columbia via Fraser River.
Long-eared Owl Asio otus — Uncommon summer resident in copses in shrub-steppe, lower-conifer habitats east of Cascade Crest. In winter, gathers at roosts, often in densely treed parks. Rare west of Cascades in any season; has nested.
Short-eared Owl Asio flammeus — Uncommon, local summer resident in Eastern Washington, declining due to loss of suitable grassland habitat. Most numerous in wetter, northern portions of Columbia Basin. Formerly nested locally in Western Washington grasslands but now apparently extirpated. Fairly common but local winter resident, often seen on Samish, Skagit, Stillaguamish Flats, Vancouver Lowlands, at Nisqually NWR, in open country east of Cascades (e.g., Kittitas Valley).
Boreal Owl Aegolius funereus — Rare year-round resident of Engelmann Spruce/Subalpine Fir forests at or east of Cascade Crest, also Mount Rainier. Distribution poorly understood. Some known sites include Harts Pass, Long Swamp, Salmo Pass, Upper Ahtanum drainage west of Yakima, Sunrise (Mount Rainier), higher Blue Mountains. Most easily detected in fall when birds answer taped calls with piercing skiew! Primary call given in spring, rarely heard in Washington due to deep snow making owls’ habitat inaccessible at that season.
Northern Saw-whet Owl Aegolius acadicus — Fairly common resident of mature conifer, mixed forests at low to middle elevations statewide, withdrawing from snowy parts of range in winter. Winter roost sites often frequented for long periods, marked by pellets, whitewash on ground. Active calling begins in winter but declines greatly by May, making detection much more difficult later in spring.
Common Nighthawk Chordeiles minor — Common summer resident of open country, lower forest zones east of Cascade Crest. Once common west of Cascades, now uncommon, local, declining in open lowland habitats. Still fairly common in San Juans, also seen regularly on upper west slopes of Cascades along rocky, logged-off ridges. Arrives late in spring (late May).
Common Poorwill Phalaenoptilus nuttallii — Fairly common summer resident in rocky portions of shrub-steppe habitats, brushy terrain of Ponderosa Pine zone in Eastern Washington. Sits on gravel roads at dusk, fluttering up to hawk for moths; most easily found by red eyeshine. Accidental west.
Black Swift Cypseloides niger — Fairly common but local summer resident of cliffs in Cascades, mostly from Snoqualmie Pass north; smaller numbers in Olympics. Inclement weather pushes birds into lowland foraging sites where they may be seen low to ground—often over water. Sometimes observed along Outer Olympic Coast. Nesting confirmed in North Cascades at Gorge Creek east of Newhalem. Probable nesting sites include other waterfalls in North Cascades in the vicinity of Darrington, Index (Snohomish County); Cle Elum River valley north of Cle Elum Lake; Stehekin at north end of Lake Chelan. Reports from Pend Oreille indicate Selkirks may be another possible breeding location.
Vaux’s Swift Chaetura vauxi — Fairly common summer resident in moist forests statewide, also cities in forest zones (e.g., Seattle, Walla Walla). Probably declining due to loss of large trees with cavities for nesting; has not made wholesale adaptation to chimneys, although occasionally nests in them. Away from moist forests, noted in breeding season in areas of mature Garry Oaks. In fall migration, gathers in large numbers at favorite roosts such as smokestacks, abandoned icehouses.
White-throated Swift Aeronautes saxatalis — Fairly common summer resident on cliffs in Columbia Basin, Okanogan Valley. Easily seen in Grand Coulee, Frenchman Coulee. Recorded west.
Ruby-throated Hummingbird Archilochus colubris — One record, on east slope of Cascades in June 1992.
Black-chinned Hummingbird Archilochus alexandri — Uncommon to locally common summer resident in lowland, lower-elevation mountain riparian habitats bordering Columbia Basin, Okanogan Valley. Often visits wells drilled by Red-naped Sapsucker. Recorded west.
Anna’s Hummingbird Calypte anna — Recent arrival from south. First Washington record Seattle 1964, first nesting record Tacoma 1972. Now fairly common to locally common year-round resident in lowland residential areas, parks in Western Washington, east along Columbia River to about Lyle. Humans undoubtedly aiding spread (year-round feeding, winter-blooming ornamental plantings). East of Cascades, rare but increasing, now occasionally attempting to winter and confirmed breeding.
Costa’s Hummingbird Calypte costae — Fourteen accepted records, twelve since 2000. Most from spring migration but stretching from April to December. Most records from Puget lowlands and Klickitat County.
Broad-tailed Hummingbird Selasphorus platycercus — Four records, August 2000 in Asotin County, June 2002, May 2005, and May–July 2005 in Walla Walla County.
Rufous Hummingbird Selasphorus rufus — Common summer resident in forest zones statewide, including brushy clearcuts. Arrives early spring, coincident with first flowering Salmonberries and currrants. Especially conspicuous, widespread in summer when postbreeders take to mountain meadows. Sometimes noted zooming southward along barren alpine ridges in fall migration. Casual to rare in winter.
Allen’s Hummingbird Selasphorus sasin — Only state record collected in Seattle in May 1894.
Calliope Hummingbird Selasphorus calliope — Fairly common summer resident in brushlands of lower forests of Eastern Washington mountains; majority in Ponderosa Pine zone. Regular in western Columbia Gorge, locally in small numbers in upper Skagit Valley (may breed). Rare migrant elsewhere in Western Washington.
Broad-billed Hummingbird Cynanthus latirostris — One record from October 2014 in Skamania County.
Belted Kingfisher Megaceryle alcyon — Fairly common year-round resident of streambanks, shorelines (freshwater, saltwater) statewide. Numbers much lower east of Cascades after winter freezeup.
Lewis’s Woodpecker Melanerpes lewis — Fairly common but local summer resident in Eastern Washington, most depart in winter. Favors Garry Oak groves, large Ponderosa Pine snags, cottonwood-lined river valleys. Declining due to loss of cavities for nesting (including competition with European Starlings), human encroachment, degradation of understory in otherwise good nesting areas. Largest numbers at Fort Simcoe; winters there some years. Lyle also good bet year round. Formerly fairly common resident locally west of Cascades—extirpated as consequence of management practices that changed forest structure, suppressed nesting snags. Now casual migrant on Westside.
Acorn Woodpecker Melanerpes formicivorus — Resident in tiny numbers in Klickitat County—most consistent sites near Balch Lake and Grayback Road. Accidental in other locations including a notable surge north on both sides of the Cascades in the winter of 2014–2015.
Williamson’s Sapsucker Sphyrapicus thyroideus — Uncommon summer resident in mixed-conifer forests at middle elevations of east slopes of Cascades, Okanogan Highlands, Blue Mountains. Birds in Washington strongly associated with Western Larch. Good sites include Havillah, Loup Loup Campground, Lodgepole Campground (on SR-410 east of Chinook Pass), many sites above 5,000 feet in Blue Mountains. Also Swauk Basin, Table Mountain, Manastash highlands.
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Sphyrapicus varius — Eleven accepted records. Accidental in winter east, west. One summer record from Okanogan County. Reports increasing.
Red-naped Sapsucker Sphyrapicus nuchalis — Fairly common summer resident in Eastern Washington in relatively open forests (except oaks)—especially riparian corridors. Usually easy to find at Wenas Campground. Hybridizes with Red-breasted Sapsucker near Cascade Crest, mostly along east slope. Highly migratory; winter reports more likely involve hybrids. Rare during migration in western lowlands.
Red-breasted Sapsucker Sphyrapicus ruber — Fairly common year-round resident in conifer, mixed forests west of Cascade Crest, including less-developed parts of Puget Lowlands with sufficient remaining trees. Becomes more conspicuous in city parks, other marginal habitats when severe winter weather forces birds downslope. Spills over onto east slopes of Cascades (dominant sapsucker species in moist forests for many miles eastward from Snoqualmie Pass). Hybrizes with Red-naped in broad zone at upper edge of drier Eastside forest habitats.
Downy Woodpecker Picoides pubescens — Fairly common year-round resident in lower-elevation deciduous, mixed forests (especially riparian), windbreaks, woodlots, ornamental plantings around farms, towns, parks. Local in conifer forests east of Cascade Crest. Underparts, center of back dusky in Westside populations, white in birds from Eastern Washington.
Hairy Woodpecker Picoides villosus — Fairly common year-round resident of conifer forests statewide, at all elevations. Interior breeding populations brightly contrasting black-and-white; Westside breeding race dingier.
White-headed Woodpecker Picoides albolarvatus — Uncommon, local year-round resident east of Cascades in Ponderosa Pine zone. Seldom easy to find. Declining due to loss of mature pines, now nearly extirpated in Spokane region, Blue Mountains. Fairly dependable at Wenas Campground, along lower White Pass Highway, at Little Pend Oreille NWR, along Silver Creek Road in Colville Indian Reservation. Recorded west.
American Three-toed Woodpecker Picoides dorsalis — Uncommon year-round resident in higher forests from Cascade Crest east, locally on upper west slopes of Cascades. Favors Engelmann Spruce, to lesser extent Lodgepole Pine. Attracted to recent burns; locations thus vary. Wanders down to mid-elevation burns but core range higher than that of Black-backed. Perhaps most easily found along FR-39 between Roger Lake, Long Swamp. Very rare breeder in Olympics.
Black-backed Woodpecker Picoides arcticus — Rare, nomadic year-round resident of mid- to high-elevation conifer forests east of Cascade Crest (barely west). Frequents lower elevations, drier forests than American Three-toed. To find one, look for recent burns, as post-burn explosion of insects concentrates populations for several years. Absent productive burns, birds spread out thinly over large areas.
Northern Flicker Colaptes auratus — Commonest woodpecker statewide, year-round resident from sea level to subalpine. Breeding form Red-shafted Flicker (subspecies cafer); populations augmented in winter by large influx from north. Yellow-shafted Flicker (subspecies auratus) rare winter resident. Red-shafted X Yellow-shafted intergrades numerous in winter; a few also noted in breeding population.
Pileated Woodpecker Dryocopus pileatus — Fairly common year-round resident in mature conifer forests, woodlots in Western Washington; much less common on Eastside in similar habitats. Requires large territories with ample decaying snags, downed logs for nesting, foraging. Declines in forests where development, forest-management practices suppress these, but otherwise tolerant of human encroachment, breeding successfully in wooded city parks, suburbs, semi-rural residential areas.
Crested Caracara Polyborus plancus — Three accepted records: Two from Grays Harbor County (Ocean Shores, August 1983 and Oakville, May 2006), one from Clallam County (Neah Bay, January–February 1998).
Eurasian Kestrel Falco tinnunculus — One bird discovered late October 1999 on Samish Flats, seen irregularly into November.
American Kestrel Falco sparverius — Common summer resident in Eastern Washington open habitats—farmlands, meadows, shrub-steppe, clearcuts, alpine parklands. In winter, withdraws from higher elevations, shrub-steppe; numbers increase in farmlands. Uncommon (summer) to fairly common (winter) resident locally in similar habitats in Southwest, uncommon elsewhere on Westside except rare to absent along outer coast.
Merlin Falco columbarius — Fairly common migrant, uncommon winter resident along outer coast, margins of inland marine waters, especially where swarms of Dunlins occur. Usually fairly easy to find at Nisqually, Dungeness NWRs, Ocean Shores, Leadbetter Point, Skagit and Samish Flats. Uncommon to rare winter resident statewide around towns, cities, farms. A few pairs of coastal Black Merlin (subspecies suckleyi) breed in forests of Olympic Peninsula, Puget Trough (also in cities). Taiga Merlin (subspecies columbarius) suspected to breed (rarely) in Eastern Washington forests. Prairie Merlin (subspecies richardsoni) rare in migration, winter.
Eurasian Hobby Falco subbuteo — Two records, one from Discovery Park, Seattle, in October 2001, one from Neah Bay, Clallam in October–November 2014.
Gyrfalcon Falco rusticolus — West of Cascades, rare winter resident on Skagit and Samish Flats, coastal marshes, beaches (e.g., Ocean Shores), other open lowland landscapes frequented by large flocks of dabbling ducks. East of Cascades, rare winter resident on higher plateaus—most reports from Waterville Plateau, Davenport-Reardan region, Anatone Flats (Asotin County). Drawn to waterfowl concentrations, also wheat fields bordered by brushy or grassy terrain where Gray Partridge, Ring-necked Pheasant likely targets.
Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus — Three races. Peale’s Peregrine (subspecies pealei) increasing but still uncommon summer resident along cliffs of Outer Olympic Coast, San Juan Islands—particularly in vicinity of seabird colonies. Fairly common fall migrant, uncommon winter resident of marshes, open country, coastlines. Continental Peregrine (subspecies anatum) formerly widely distributed in Eastern Washington, mostly extirpated as breeder in decades after World War II. Now found statewide as migrant, winter resident (much less common east), especially near waterfowl, shorebird concentrations. Tundra Peregrine (subspecies tundrius) found in migration, mostly along outer coast. Reintroduced birds (subspecies uncertain) successfully established, increasing locally in Cascades, along Columbia River; a few pairs now nest on tall buildings, bridges in Seattle, Tacoma, Spokane.
Prairie Falcon Falco mexicanus — Uncommon year-round resident in Eastern Washington lowlands, breeding mostly on basalt cliffs in southern half of Columbia Basin, rare north to Okanogan County. In winter, often in open agricultural country. Widespread wanderer late summer, fall over subalpine meadows, ridges east of Cascade Crest, locally west (especially Mount Rainier). Rare winter on Westside, most reliable site Samish Flats.
Olive-sided Flycatcher Contopus cooperi — Fairly common summer resident in conifer forests, especially with openings, tall snags. Vocalizes, hawks insects from high, exposed perches.
Greater Pewee Contopus pertinax – One record from Edmonds (Snohomish County) in November 2008.
Western Wood-Pewee Contopus sordidulus — Common summer resident in riparian woodlands, dry conifer forests east of Cascade Crest. Avoids wet, closed conifer forests, hence much less common, local in Western Washington, where confined mostly to lowland riparian situations.
Eastern Wood-Pewee Contopus virens — One record from Grant County, August 2013. Returned in 2014.
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher Empidonax flaviventris — One record from Franklin County, August 2009.
Alder Flycatcher Empidonax alnorum — Four records: two from Okanogan County, June 2002 and 2006; one from Skagit County, June 2004; one from Pend Oreille County, June 2014.
Willow Flycatcher Empidonax traillii — Common summer resident of Western Washington wetland habitats, shrubby areas, including clearcuts. Less common, local east of Cascades, except widespread, common in Northeast. Absent as breeder from Columbia Basin. Arrives late in spring, becoming conspicuous only late May when calling begins.
Least Flycatcher Empidonax minimus — Rare, increasing migrant, summer resident. Most likely in aspen copses, cottonwood stands in Okanogan, Walla Walla County, but has occurred widely in hardwood groves on both sides of Cascades. Has nested in Puget Lowlands. Fall migrants found regularly at migrant traps such as Washtucna.
Hammond’s Flycatcher Empidonax hammondii — Fairly common summer resident of denser conifer forests—sometimes with deciduous component—statewide. Although favors upper portions of taller trees, may also perch, forage low, in open, especially on migration.
Gray Flycatcher Empidonax wrightii — Recent arrival in Washington (first nested 1972), now fairly common but local summer resident of open, brush-free understories of Ponderosa Pine forests, especially along driest, easternmost slopes of Cascades, northern Columbia Basin. Repeated selective logging may be responsible for creating microhabitat structurally similar to its customary Great Basin habitats. Easy to find in upper Wenas Creek region. Accidental west, mostly spring.
Dusky Flycatcher Empidonax oberholseri — Fairly common migrant, summer resident of brushy openings of forests east of Cascade Crest. Also in higher-elevation aspen clumps, recent lava flows (Mount Adams). Generally favors drier, sunnier, more open habitats than Hammond’s. Rare in clearcuts in early successional stages on upper west slopes of Cascades. Rare migrant west.
Pacific-slope Flycatcher Empidonax difficilis — Common summer resident of moist forest understories in Western Washington; fairly common east of Cascades, mostly in riparian habitat. Cordilleran Flycatcher Empidonax occidentalis may occur in Southeast, but evidence contradictory, incomplete. Best to call all Washington birds Pacific-slope or “Western” until status of this recently-split species pair can be resolved.
Black Phoebe Sayornis nigricans — Increasing in western Washington. Rare, now regular resident in southwest Washington, north to Skagit County. Breeding confirmed at Ridgefield NWR. One eastern Washington record from Clear Lake, Yakima County.
Eastern Phoebe Sayornis phoebe — Casual spring visitor (late May–July). Twelve accepted records, nine east, three west. Two December records, and one from September.
Say’s Phoebe Sayornis saya — Fairly common summer resident in open terrain of lowland Eastern Washington, particularly in shrub-steppe zone; uncommon in openings in Garry Oak, Ponderosa Pine zones. For nesting, favors eaves of ranch buildings, rocky outcroppings. Hardy; some may attempt wintering in warmest parts of Columbia Basin. Rare but regular in spring migration west of Cascades, casual in winter.
Vermilion Flycatcher Pyrocephalus rubinus — Six fall–winter records, all from Western Washington lowlands.
Ash-throated Flycatcher Myiarchus cinerascens — Fairly common summer resident in Garry Oak zone along Columbia River from White Salmon east to about Rock Creek. Easy to find in oaks near Lyle or along Rock Creek. Less frequent northward, e.g., Satus Creek, Fort Simcoe. Rare, local breeder east base of Cascades north to Wenatchee. Not as conspicuous as many flycatchers, often perching within tree canopy. Easiest to detect in early morning when calling most intense. Recorded west.
Variegated Flycatcher Empidonomus varius – One record from Franklin County, September 2008.
Tropical Kingbird Tyrannus melancholicus — Rare fall visitor (late September to mid-December) to Western Washington lowlands, usually near salt water, mostly along outer coast. Grays Harbor, Willapa Bay best bets for finding one. Silent birds difficult-to-impossible to separate from Couch’s Kingbird (not recorded in Washington).
Western Kingbird Tyrannus verticalis — Common summer resident in open habitats in Eastern Washington. Characteristic, easily found species along roadsides in farming, ranch country, often building nest on utility-pole insulators. In Western Washington, breeds in small numbers; rare in migration.
Eastern Kingbird Tyrannus tyrannus — Fairly common summer resident in lowland Eastern Washington in riparian habitats, particularly with dense, tall shrub layer. Rare migrant and local breeder in Western Washington.
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher Tyrannus forficatus — Twelve records, all between May and October, all since 1983. Five records from eastern Washington, mostly in the Potholes area. Seven records from western Washington, most found on outer coast and in upper Skagit.
Fork-tailed Flycatcher Tyrannus savana — One record, from Chinook River valley in September 1995.
Loggerhead Shrike Lanius ludovicianus — Uncommon summer, rare winter resident in shrub-steppe landscapes, declining due to habitat loss. Good sites include Crab Creek in Grant County, Pumphouse Road west of Toppenish NWR. Casual in Western Washington lowlands in spring migration.
Northern Shrike Lanius excubitor — Fairly common (east) to uncommon, local (west) winter resident in open habitats with some brushy terrain. Many good sites on Eastside—e.g., Waterville Plateau. Skagit/Samish Flats typical of Westside sites.
White-eyed Vireo Vireo griseus — One record, from Vashon Island (King County) in July 1981.
Bell’s Vireo Vireo bellii — Four records: Skagit County, September 2007; Adams County, September 2008, Grant County, May 2009; Douglas County, June 2010.
Yellow-throated Vireo Vireo flavifrons — One record, from Spencer Island in October 1995.
Cassin’s Vireo Vireo cassinii — Fairly common (east) to uncommon (west) summer resident in drier forests at low to middle elevations. Commonest in open Eastside forests with tall shrub or alder component—especially Douglas-fir, less often Ponderosa Pine. Also fairly easy to find in drier, open Douglas-fir forests in Western Washington, especially in rainshadowed northeastern Olympics, San Juan Islands.
Blue-headed Vireo Vireo solitarius — Seven records, all from August and September, six from eastern Washington migrant traps and one from Seattle.
Hutton’s Vireo Vireo huttoni — Fairly common year-round resident of lowland hardwood or mixed forests, woodlands in Western Washington. Generally frustrating to locate except when singing (begins February, frequency tapers off into spring). Not usually found in small patches of woods such as gardens or small city parks, but occurs in large parks (e.g., Discovery Park in Seattle). In winter, often joins roving, mixed-species flocks of chickadees, nuthatches, creepers, kinglets, other small passerines. Recorded east slopes of Cascades.
Warbling Vireo Vireo gilvus — Common migrant, summer resident in deciduous woodlands statewide. Washington’s commonest vireo, often breeding in tiny patches of willows, aspens, alders in otherwise conifer-dominated landscapes.
Philadelphia Vireo Vireo philadelphicus — Five records: Grant County in September 1991; Lincoln County in June 2002; Kittitas County in May 2004; Adams County in August 2005; Whitman County in June 2007.
Red-eyed Vireo Vireo olivaceus — Fairly common but local summer resident in tall Black Cottonwood stands along major river valleys. Good sites include Skagit, Nooksack Valleys, Snoqualmie Valley from North Bend to Fall City, floodplain forests along Columbia River (Clark, Skamania, western Klickitat Counties). Probably most numerous, widespread in Northeast—especially valleys of Pend Oreille (easy to find at Sullivan Lake), Sanpoil, Kettle, Colville Rivers. Rarely noted in migration.
Gray Jay Perisoreus canadensis — Fairly common year-round resident in mature conifer forests of higher mountains throughout state. Uncommon, local at lower elevations in southwestern Washington. Usually easy to find at Paradise on Mount Rainier, Hurricane Ridge, picnic areas or campgrounds along upper portions of North Cascades Highway. Populations inhabiting Okanogan Highlands, mountains of Northeast, Southeast characterized by dark-gray underparts, contrasting, nearly all-white head. Birds from Cascades west have smaller white forehead area, extensive, dusky crown, auricular patch, nape; light-gray underparts appear almost white.
Pinyon Jay Gymnorhinus cyanocephalus — Captain Charles Bendire found this species “quite numerous” in oak openings at Fort Simcoe in June 1881. Only other state record: small flock near Goldendale in April 1967 (one bird collected).
Steller’s Jay Cyanocitta stelleri — Fairly common year-round resident of coniferous forests virtually statewide, mostly at low to middle elevations; post-breeding wandering up to subalpine habitats, down to Garry Oak zone. Coastal movements in fall may be striking.
Blue Jay Cyanocitta cristata — Rare but regular winter resident in Eastern Washington towns and cities, especially along eastern edge of state (e.g., Spokane, Pullman, Walla Walla). Casual winter resident in western lowlands, mostly in residential areas.
Western Scrub-Jay Aphelocoma californica — Fairly common year-round resident in lowlands of Southwest. Species on the move, with now breeding north to Bellingham, west to Raymond, east to Goldendale and Yakima. Most common in habitats dominated by Garry Oak, as well as in towns and cities. Resident Washington birds belong to coastal form of species (dark upperparts contrast vividly with white underparts). Individual of distinctive interior population (more muted in coloration) observed at Chief Timothy State Park (Asotin County) in February 2002.
Clark’s Nutcracker Nucifraga columbiana — Fairly common year-round resident in drier subalpine forests in Cascades, Selkirks, Blue Mountains. Small numbers in Olympics (northeastern rainshadow), Blues. Whitebark Pine major food source. Also found in Ponderosa Pine forests, especially if rugged terrain nearby for seed caching. Easily seen at Mount Rainier (Paradise, Sunrise), Chinook Pass, where it seeks handouts. Occasionally wanders to lowlands.
Black-billed Magpie Pica hudsonia — Common, conspicuous year-round resident throughout unforested Eastern Washington, about ranches, farms, riparian edges, shrub-steppe habitats up to lower Ponderosa Pine zone. Generally shuns highly built-up cities. Post-breeding wanderers reach subalpine habitats, especially in Okanogan Highlands, Blue Mountains. Recorded west in winter.
American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos — Common, prodigiously increasing year-round resident of Western Washington, from lowlands up into middle elevations of mountains, especially about farms, cities, suburbs, recently logged areas. In Eastern Washington, common summer resident, uncommon to locally fairly common winter resident in Okanogan, Columbia, Yakima, Walla Walla River valleys. Not found in dense, contiguous conifer forests. Perhaps still absent from San Juan Islands, Outer Olympic Coast (see Northwestern Crow).
Northwestern Crow Corvus caurinus — “After lengthy discussion it is pretty well settled that the Crow of the northwestern sea-coasts is merely a dwarfed race of [American Crow], and that it shades perfectly into the prevailing western type whenever that species occupies adjacent regions” (William Leon Dawson, The Birds of Washington, 1909). True a hundred years ago, still true today. Northwestern Crow originally inhabited Puget Trough shoreline, outer coast from Grays Harbor north, isolated by uncut, deep forests from American Crow populations along streams in Eastern, southwestern Washington. Deforestation by settlers, commercial loggers fostered interbreeding along south Puget Sound by late 1800s, with result that Dawson found it “impossible to pronounce with certainty upon the subspecific identity of crows seen near shore in Mason, Thurston, Pierce, or even King County.” With continuing development, American Crow invaded whole Puget Trough, swamping indigenous Northwestern population. Phenotypically pure Northwestern Crows arguably recognizable along Outer Olympic Coast (e.g., La Push), in San Juan Islands.
Common Raven Corvus corax — Widespread, conspicuous, year-round resident in most terrestrial habitats except cities, towns. Mostly lacking from main urban corridor Everett–Tacoma. Amazingly adaptable, found from sea level to alpine elevations, even in winter. May form sizable winter flocks in lowlands.
Sky Lark Alauda arvensis — Now accidental in state. Formerly bred in small numbers at American Camp on southern San Juan Island. Strayed there from introduced, non-migratory population established on southeastern Vancouver Island since early 1900s (subspecies arvensis from western Europe). First recorded on San Juan Island 1960, first documented nesting 1970, apparently extirpated as breeder by mid-1990s. Subspecific identity of two birds seen across Strait of Juan de Fuca near Sequim, in winter 1998–1999, not determined. Perhaps wanderers from introduced population, perhaps migrants from Asia (subspecies pekinensis).
Horned Lark Eremophila alpestris — Common, widespread, year-round resident, especially in open areas of Eastern Washington. Three breeding races, at least one more as winter resident. Subspecies strigata uncommon year-round resident in lowlands west of Cascades. Seriously declining on account of habitat loss, now confined as breeder to prairies on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, beach dunes at Ocean Shores, sandbars in Columbia River (Wahkiakum, Pacific Counties). Subspecies alpina fairly common but local during nesting season in alpine communities—Olympics, high volcanoes, elsewhere in Cascades (especially east side of crest). Burroughs Mountain on Mount Rainier one fairly accessible site. Subspecies merrilli common year round in most open, low-elevation habitats in Eastern Washington—especially wheat fields, shallow-soiled portions of shrub-steppe zone. Characteristic, conspicuous bird of Columbia Basin, beginning breeding cycle early in spring (February some years), raising as many as three broods. Forms large, roving flocks in winter, especially over wheat fields. Pale subspecies—including arcticola from interior British Columbia as well as alpina—common winter residents, especially in northern parts of Columbia Basin. Good numbers on Waterville Plateau, Timentwa Flats mixed in with merrilli flocks.
Purple Martin Progne subis — Fairly common, increasing, but still local summer resident of Western Washington lowlands, mainly around Puget Sound, lower Columbia River. Historically rare in Washington, increased with Euro-American development until late 1950s when European Starlings began appropriating nesting cavities. Martin numbers crashed to point of near-extirpation by early 1990s; numerous nest-box schemes have greatly aided recovery. Currently, most nest on pilings over water, shunned by starlings. Recorded east.
Tree Swallow Tachycineta bicolor — Common summer resident near open country (where forages, often over water) with cavities (where nests, usually in stubs, snags), at low to mid-elevations; absent from dense forests, central Columbia Basin. Casual winter west. Earliest swallow to return in spring (first birds usually February).
Violet-green Swallow Tachycineta thalassina — Common summer resident throughout Washington, including cities, agricultural areas, open forests of all ages, around open water. In Columbia Basin, local in towns, around farm buildings; uncommon on high cliffs (Yakima Canyon, Columbia River south of Vantage). Nests in cavities in trees, cliffs, buildings, also in nest boxes. Casual winter west. Early migrant, appearing in March (even February in south).
Northern Rough-winged Swallow Stelgidopteryx serripennis — Fairly common summer resident along streams, other water bodies with sandy banks, where nests.
Bank Swallow Riparia riparia — Locally common summer resident in Eastern Washington, mostly near rivers, irrigation canals. Nests colonially, absent from some areas, abundant in others. Especially numerous along Hanford Reach (one colony may contain 10,000 nests some years), parts of lower Yakima River valley. Sometimes forms large roosting or staging flocks during fall migration. Nests locally in Western Washington, perhaps increasing; colonies discovered recently along Toutle River (Cowlitz County), Green River (King County), Skagit River near Concrete and Marblemount (Skagit County). Rare migrant elsewhere on Westside.
Cliff Swallow Petrochelidon pyrrhonota — Common summer resident in lowlands throughout state, often nesting in large colonies under bridges. Abundant locally in Eastern Washington—e.g., on cliffs of Grand Coulee, Yakima Canyon, Hanford Reach, Snake River.
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica — Common summer resident statewide at all but highest elevations—wherever open habitat for foraging exists in proximity to suitable nest-building sites (almost always man-made structures such as buildings, bridges). Casual winter west.
Black-capped Chickadee Poecile atricapillus — Common year-round resident nearly statewide in habitats with deciduous vegetation, mostly at lower elevations. Distinctly less common with westward progression on Olympic Peninsula. Mostly absent from San Juan Islands, also from some areas in central Columbia Basin that appear to contain suitable habitat.
Mountain Chickadee Poecile gambeli — Common year-round resident of coniferous forests throughout Eastern Washington. Spills west over Cascade Crest into higher subalpine forests in a few places—fairly common around Mount Rainier. Also fairly common in drier forests southwest of Mount Adams. Casual in lowlands outside nesting season, irregularly into western Washington.
Chestnut-backed Chickadee Poecile rufescens — Common year-round resident of coniferous forests in Western Washington. Main chickadee on San Juan Islands, where found in all forested habitats. In Eastern Washington, fairly common in wetter forest habitats along east slopes of Cascades (above Ponderosa Pine zone), in Northeast (Mount Spokane north), uncommon in Blue Mountains.
Boreal Chickadee Poecile hudsonicus — Uncommon year-round resident of dense, high-elevation forests along northern tier of counties in Eastern Washington. Favors Engelmann Spruce, Subalpine Fir forests, occasionally nearby Lodgepole Pines. Harts Pass, Tiffany Mountain area, Salmo Pass good bets. Hardest to find in June, when nesting. Inhabits some of the remotest parts of Washington; one of the last of state’s regular resident species to be discovered (1920).
Bushtit Psaltriparus minimus — Brown-crowned Pacific form (subspecies minimus, saturatus) common year-round resident in shrubby growth in mixed-forest openings, parks, gardens throughout Puget Lowlands. Scarce on outer coast. East through Columbia Gorge at least to Rock Creek, also locally along base of east slopes of Cascades in south central Washington (Satus Creek south of Toppenish, Yakima River near Cle Elum). “Interior” form (subspecies group plumbeus) extremely local in eastern Washington. In addition to an unreviewed earlier report from Yakima County, recently confirmed breeding in a small flock at Potholes Reservoir (Grant County).
Red-breasted Nuthatch Sitta canadensis — Common year-round resident in all forested zones, from city parks, suburban gardens to treeline. Winter populations in lowlands—particularly east—include migrants from higher latitudes or elevations.
White-breasted Nuthatch Sitta carolinensis — In Eastern Washington, subspecies tenuissima uncommon to locally fairly common year-round resident in Ponderosa Pine forests and mixed Garry Oak/Ponderosa Pine woodlands ringing Columbia Basin. Coastal subspecies aculeata once locally fairly common in mixed Garry Oak/Douglas-fir woodlands of Western Washington but now virtually extirpated; Ridgefield NWR most important remaining site.
Pygmy Nuthatch Sitta pygmaea — Fairly common but local year-round resident of Eastern Washington Ponderosa Pine forests. Easy to find at Kamiak Butte, Turnbull NWR, forests around Spokane. Recorded west.
Brown Creeper Certhia americana — Fairly common summer resident of moist forest habitats statewide. In winter, fairly common resident of Western Washington lowlands, foothills. In Eastern Washington, fairly common in migration, uncommon to rare winter resident at lower elevations.
Rock Wren Salpinctes obsoletus — Common summer resident of rocky canyons, coulees, talus slopes in Eastern Washington. Uncommon to rare in winter in southern parts of Columbia Basin. A few on west slopes of Cascades—e.g., has colonized blast area of Mount Saint Helens. Otherwise, casual in Western Washington lowlands in migration, winter.
Canyon Wren Catherpes mexicanus — Uncommon year-round resident of cliffs in Eastern Washington, usually best detected by vocalizations. Recorded west near Cascade Crest.
House Wren Troglodytes aedon — Common summer resident of relatively open, brushy habitats at low elevations in Eastern Washington, especially around edges of lower forest zones, in towns. Fairly common to common but highly local summer resident of similar habitats in Western Washington, notably dry prairies, forests of South Sound, Whidbey Island, San Juans, other areas of recent clearcuts.
Pacific Wren Troglodytes pacificus — Common year-round resident of coniferous forest west of Cascade Crest, mostly withdrawing downslope to escape heavy snows in winter. In Eastern Washington, summer resident of wetter habitats at higher elevations, fairly common migrant at lower elevations; winters sparingly in well-vegetated lowland stream bottoms.
Marsh Wren Cistothorus palustris — Common summer resident of low-elevation marshes with cattails or other emergent vegetation suitable for nest sites. In winter, fairly common resident in variety of wetland habitats, but Eastside populations thin out or disappear when subfreezing temperatures settle in. In all seasons, widely distributed west, much more local east (Potholes, Toppenish NWR, Turnbull NWR, major Eastside population centers).
Bewick’s Wren Thryomanes bewickii — Common year-round resident in Western Washington lowlands, including urban environments. In Eastern Washington, until recently confined to Columbia River from Gorge east to about Tri-Cities, lower Yakima River (especially around Satus Creek south of Toppenish). Recent dramatic range expansion; now fairly common to locally common length of Snake River into Idaho, north through Palouse to Spokane area, uncommon up into Okanogan County and some parts of northeast. May die back in severe winters.
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher Polioptila caerulea — Fourteen records statewide. Casual in fall–winter (October–February) at low elevations, mostly in Western Washington. Most records from westside. Summer records from a territorial male in Hardy Canyon (Yakima County) in 2002 and 2003, and from Clark County in 2011.
American Dipper Cinclus mexicanus — Uncommon year-round resident on rushing streams mostly in forested mountainous areas, throughout state. As higher-elevation streams freeze either partially or wholly in winter, many descend to lower elevations. Also gather in fall, early winter in streams where salmon spawn, to dip for eggs.
Golden-crowned Kinglet Regulus satrapa — Common, widespread summer resident of coniferous forests, nesting even in well-treed city neighborhoods. Common outside nesting season in lowland Western Washington, important component of mixed-species foraging flocks. Common migrant, uncommon local winterer in lowlands of Eastern Washington.
Ruby-crowned Kinglet Regulus calendula — Common migrant, winter resident in Westside lowland habitats. Uncommon spring, common fall migrant east. Fairly common summer resident in drier, higher Eastern Washington subalpine forests, also west on rainshadowed northeastern slopes of Olympics, and just west of Cascade Crest. Stays late in lowlands in spring until breeding grounds open up, often heard singing then.
Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe — Three records: Nisqually NWR (Thurston County) in September 2004; Westport (Grays Harbor County) late October–early November 2012; Vashon Island (King County) October 2014.
Western Bluebird Sialia mexicana — Fairly common summer resident in Eastern Washington, primarily in lower portions of Ponderosa Pine, upper shrub-steppe zones. Favors openings in drier forests. Easy to find in suitable habitat in Okanogan Valley, also on bluebird nest-box trails (e.g., Bickleton area, Umptanum/Wenas Road). In Western Washington, uncommon in Joint Base Lewis-McChord area; rare, local in forest clearings, around farmlands elsewhere in Puget Trough. Usually findable somewhere in state in any month. Returns early in spring (first birds back by February). Strong numbers winter most years at Lyle in Columbia Gorge, a few others in Columbia Basin, Puget Trough.
Mountain Bluebird Sialia currucoides — Fairly common summer resident, mostly eastside in open terrain from upper shrub-steppe habitats upslope to alpine. Easy to find on bluebird trails (Umptanum/Wenas Road, Bickleton area). On Westside, fairly common on Mount Rainier (easy to see at Sunrise), Mount Saint Helens. Uncommon on upper west slopes of Cascades, especially in wind-blasted, open forest near crest, descending lower very locally in clearcuts. Rare spring migrant, casual winter resident east, west.
Townsend’s Solitaire Myadestes townsendi — Fairly common (east) to uncommon (west) summer resident of forest openings in mountains, except apparently absent from wet west side of Olympics. Usually near steep, rugged terrain, occupying wide range of elevations from lower forest line (Eastside), middle elevations (Westside) up to alpine. Often nests under overhanging roots or near rock crevices on steep roadcuts. Uncommon spring migrant statewide. Uncommon (east) to rare (west) in winter in berry-rich habitats (riparian areas, ornamental plantings, groves of junipers).
Veery Catharus fuscescens — Fairly common summer resident of dense riparian habitats in lower forest zones (especially Ponderosa Pine) of Eastern Washington, with small, disjunct population in Skagit River drainage in Whatcom County. Easy to find along Wenas Creek. Arrives relatively late in spring (singing after about May 25).
Gray-cheeked Thrush Catharus minimus — One record, from McNary NWR in October 1990.
Swainson’s Thrush Catharus ustulatus — Common summer resident in moist, leafy understory of mixed or hardwood forests at low to middle (occasionally higher) elevations virtually statewide. Especially widespread, conspicuous in lowlands west of Cascades—even in parks, small woodlots. Two well-marked races breed in state—Russet-backed Thrush (subspecies ustulatus) of Western Washington, southeastern Cascades, Olive-backed Thrush (subspecies swainsoni) of northeastern Cascades, Northeast, Southeast.
Hermit Thrush Catharus guttatus — Fairly common to common summer resident in most mid-, upper-elevation mountain forests. Favors habitats with sparser shrub understory than Swainson’s Thrush, at higher elevations, although elevational overlap substantial. Uncommon or absent in moistest forests. Washington’s hardiest Catharus thrush, only one in winter when occurs in small numbers in western lowlands, milder parts east.
Dusky Thrush Turdus naumanni — One record, from Mount Vernon (Skagit County) in June 2002.
Redwing Turdus iliacus – One record from Olympia (Thurston County) from December 2004–March 2005.
American Robin Turdus migratorius — Most common, widely distributed Washington thrush in all seasons. Nests wherever there are trees or heavy brush (but not in dense, wet forests), forages in nearly every conceivable habitat. Large post-breeding flocks congregate in mountains in summer. Wintering numbers in lowlands apparently swelled by birds arriving from mountains or farther north. Spring, fall movements often impressive, but migration patterns, various populations involved not worked out.
Varied Thrush Ixoreus naevius — Common summer resident in mature, moist, relatively intact Westside forests, from sea level to lower subalpine. Generally descends below zone of heavy snow in winter. Now largely absent as breeding bird from Puget Lowlands due to forest fragmentation, urbanization, but fairly common there as winter resident, attracted to native, exotic food sources. Common in winter in forests along outer coast. East of Cascade Crest, fairly common to locally common summer resident in lower, closed subalpine, upper mixed-conifer forests—lower along stream courses—but mostly absent in drier Douglas-fir and Ponderosa Pine forests. Descends to low elevations where uncommon in winter. Like other retiring woodland thrushes, stays close to cover, can be difficult to see; haunting song, given especially in early morning, betrays its presence.
Gray Catbird Dumetella carolinensis — Fairly common but skulking summer resident along streams in Eastern Washington in dense, shrubby vegetation (willows, Red-osier Dogwood, wild rose, Blue Elderberry). Most common in major river valleys of Okanogan, Northeast (e.g., Pend Oreille, Colville, Kettle, Sanpoil, Okanogan). Less common, local south to Yakima area along east base of Cascades; disjunct population near Trout Lake. Casual west.
Brown Thrasher Toxostoma rufum — Casual vagrant. Fifteen records: 10 in spring/summer, four in fall and one in winter. Also little pattern to location, spread evenly on each side of state, from Clallam County to Spokane County.
Sage Thrasher Oreoscoptes montanus — Fairly common summer resident in Eastern Washington in areas of extensive Big Sagebrush with associated vigorous cover of perennial grasses. Mostly absent where ground cover is introduced Cheatgrass, hence from southern Columbia Basin except on a few high-elevation or north-facing ridges (Rattlesnake Mountain, Horse Heaven Hills east of Bickleton). Easy sites include Quilomene Wildlife Area, Umptanum Road. Casual spring migrant in western lowlands.
Northern Mockingbird Mimus polyglottos — Rare wanderer from south to lowlands on both sides of state, mostly fall–winter. Sometimes appears in urban settings. Several recent breeding records eastside.
European Starling Sturnus vulgaris — Common statewide in lowland habitats. Absent from relatively intact forest, also higher elevations except around developed sites. Introduced to North America from Europe. Reached Washington from east by early 1950s, abundant statewide only 20 years later. Implicated in significant declines of cavity-dependent species in Washington such as Lewis’s Woodpecker, Purple Martin, Western Bluebird. Forms huge flocks in winter.
Siberian Accentor Prunella montanella — Two records: the first, a first for Western Hemisphere outside Alaska at Indian Island (Jefferson County) in October 1983; another on Orcas Island (San Juan County) in January 1991.
Eastern Yellow Wagtail Motacilla tschutschensis — Two records from Ocean Shores: late July 1992, mid-September 2000.
White Wagtail Motacilla alba — Nine accepted records, three of the white form, four black-backed, and two not distinguished to subspecies group. Three from winter, six from April–May. All from Western Washington.
Red-throated Pipit Anthus cervinus— Two records: One from San Juan Island in September 1979; one from Bainbridge Island (Kitsap County) in May 2004.
American Pipit Anthus rubescens — Common migrant (April–May, September–October) in open areas of lowlands virtually statewide, especially along coast (shores, dunes), agricultural fields; often detected calling overhead. Fairly common but local summer resident at high elevations of Cascades, Olympics, occupying moist seeps where alpine vegetation well developed. Easy to find on trails above Paradise at Mount Rainier (especially from Panorama Point up), Hurricane Ridge, Deer Park, high passes in North Cascades. Uncommon winter on shorelines, open farmlands in lowland Western Washington.
Bohemian Waxwing Bombycilla garrulus — Fairly common to irregularly common winter resident in orchards, vineyards, residential areas of Eastern Washington, usually in large flocks. Rare, irregular west of Cascades. Probably easiest to find from Lake Chelan north to Methow, Okanogan River valleys, also Spokane, urban areas in Southeast (Pullman, Walla Walla). Once regular south to Yakima but scarcer recently. Handful of confirmed breeding records from North Cascades. Sometimes found in fall in upper subalpine (Cascades, Northeast), feeding on Common Juniper berries and Mountain Ash.
Cedar Waxwing Bombycilla cedrorum — Common summer resident of open forests, orchards, residential areas with mature ornamental plantings, usually at low to mid-elevations. Irregular winter resident in lowlands; numbers, locations vary year to year. Most consistent in winter in Columbia Basin; lesser numbers around Puget Sound.
Phainopepla Phainopepla nitens — One record, from Seattle in September 1994.
Lapland Longspur Calcarius lapponicus — In Western Washington, uncommon fall migrant, rare winter resident, rare spring migrant in open terrain along outer coast, locally in Puget Trough. Uncommon fall migrant along alpine ridges in Cascades. Most easily found late September–November in open habitats at Ocean Shores Game Range, Damon Point, outer portions of Dungeness Spit. In Eastern Washington, uncommon migrant, rare winter resident in northern parts of Columbia Basin, over higher ridges southward. Flocks on Waterville Plateau, Timentwa Flats late March–April may contain birds in breeding plumage.
Chestnut-collared Longspur Calcarius ornatus — Eight records: Five in spring/summer (late May–early July), three in fall (October–mid-December). Five from outer coast, two from Puget Sound lowlands, one in Okanogan County.
Smith’s Longspur Calcarius pictus — Two records: One in August 2006 at Marymoor Park (King County); one in late-August to early–September 2013 at Ocean Shores (Grays Harbor County).
McCown’s Longspur Calcarius mccownii — One record, Montlake Fill, Seattle, June 2013.
Snow Bunting Plectrophenax nivalis — Local, somewhat irregular fall migrant, winter resident on open terrain. Rare at best in Western Washington, most often found late fall along Pacific, North Olympic Coasts (Ocean Shores, Dungeness Spit), occasionally on beaches elsewhere. Numbers much higher in Eastern Washington. Often fairly common on high Columbia Plateau (Waterville Plateau, Timentwa Flats, Davenport/Reardan area). Highest numbers there in February, perhaps bottled up awaiting snowmelt farther north.
McKay’s Bunting Plectrophenax hyperboreus — Four records: three records of birds wintering with Snow Buntings at Ocean Shores (December 1978–March 1979, January–February 1988, and December 2011–February 2012); another bird seen for two days in November 1993 on Lummi Flats (Whatcom County).
Ovenbird Seiurus aurocapilla — Casual migrant. Fifteen Westside records: 10 from June and one each month from July through November. Eleven Eastside records, eight mid-May to mid-July (two September, one November). Seasonal imbalance may be artifact of easier detection when birds singing.
Northern Waterthrush Parkesia noveboracensis — Fairly common summer resident of wetlands lined with alder and willow, swamps of Okanogan, Northeast. Good sites include Amazon Creek Marsh, Little Pend Oreille Lakes, Myers Creek north of Chesaw, Big Meadow Lake. Rare fall migrant, winter visitor to sloughs in lowland Western Washington.
Golden-winged Warbler Vermivora chrysoptera — Two records: one, banded at Turnbull NWR (Spokane County) in August 1998; one on Bainbridge Island (Kitsap County) September 2003.
Blue-winged Warbler Vermivora cyanoptera — Four records: Skagit County, September 1990; Douglas County, August 2006; Clallam County, June 2011; Walla Walla County, August 2012.
Black-and-white Warbler Mniotilta varia — Casual migrant, occurs almost annually. Records scattered across calendar, map; largest concentration in Eastern Washington in spring (May–June).
Prothonotary Warbler Protonotaria citrea — Three records, all from Tri-Cities area: Richland (Benton County) in September 1970; McNary NWR (Walla Walla County), October 2005; Richland again, August 2007.
Tennessee Warbler Oreothlypis peregrina — Casual fall, accidental spring migrant east, west. One long-staying winter record from Satsop (Grays Harbor County).
Orange-crowned Warbler Oreothlypis celata — Common (west) to fairly common (east) migrant, rare winter resident in lowlands. Two subspecies breed. Relatively bright lutescens common summer resident of deciduous forests, brushy places in Western Washington lowlands, becoming less common, local at higher elevations; decidedly uncommon, spottily distributed in forest zones on east slope of Cascades. Duller orestera fairly common summer resident in mountains of Northeast, Southeast. Third subspecies, celata, rare migrant.
Lucy’s Warbler Oreothlypis luciae — One record from November 2014 in Neah Bay, Clallam County.
Nashville Warbler Oreothlypis ruficapilla — Fairly common summer resident in forested zones of Eastern Washington, extending west in Columbia Gorge to around Mount Adams. Inhabits brushy, open habitats, often along streams, at forest edges, in regenerating clearcuts, near rock slides, road cuts. Small numbers drift down upper west slope of Cascades to nest in similar habitats. Uncommon spring, fall migrant through lowlands on east side of Cascades, rare in fall west of the Cascades. Eastern subspecies ruficapilla recorded once (Stevens County, July 2012).
MacGillivray’s Warbler Geothlypis tolmiei — Fairly common summer resident of shrubby tangles almost statewide, easiest to find in regenerating clearcuts, rank vegetation along roadsides, avalanche chutes, from middle elevations to subalpine. Typical of riparian vegetation through much of Eastern Washington conifer zone. Quite uncommon in Puget Lowlands except locally (e.g., South Sound Prairies). Absent from dense, wet forests, Columbia Basin. Uncommon to fairly common migrant in lowlands virtually statewide.
Mourning Warbler Geothlypis philadelphia —Two records: Lyons Ferry (Franklin County), May 2001; Washtucna (Adams County), August 2007.
Kentucky Warbler Geothlypis formosa — One record, near Darrington (Snohomish County) in June 1992.
Common Yellowthroat Geothlypis trichas — Common summer resident of wetlands, brushy fields at mostly lower elevations in Western Washington; a few winter. Fairly common but local summer resident east of Cascades, where more characteristic of cattail marshes.
Hooded Warbler Setophaga citrina — Six records, four from sping/summer, two from winter. First record wintered at Discovery Park in Seattle (December 1975–April 1976). Three records from Whitman County (June 1986, December 1989, May 2014), each of several days duration. One from Grant County (June 2004). One from Skamania County (July–August 2013).
American Redstart Setophaga ruticilla — Uncommon to locally fairly common summer resident of dense alder- and willow-dominated wetlands in Okanogan, Northeast. Good sites include Myers Creek north of Chesaw, Sullivan Lake, West Fork Sanpoil Campground, Big Meadow Lake. Rare to locally uncommon west of Cascade Crest, most dependable site County Line Ponds in Skagit River valley. Rare migrant anywhere away from breeding grounds.
Cape May Warbler Setophaga tigrina — Two records: one in Bellingham in September 1974; one in Spokane, January–April 2005.
Northern Parula Setophaga americana — Casual (west) to accidental (east), mostly in summer. All but one record from end of May through mid-September. Exception was the first state record from January–February 1975 in Richland (Benton County).
Magnolia Warbler Setophaga magnolia — Casual fall migrant on both sides of Cascades. Nineteen fall records (nine from westside, 10 from eastside). Five spring records (four on eastside, one on westside).
Bay-breasted Warbler Setophaga castanea — Three state records, all since 2002: near Moses Lake (Grant County), September 2002; near Chehalis (Lewis County), June 2006; Vantage (Kittitas County), September 2010.
Blackburnian Warbler Setophaga fusca —Six records: three spring records (late May, June), all from Eastern Washington; three fall records (August, September, December), two from Western Washington and one from Eastern Washington.
Yellow Warbler Setophaga petechia — Common summer resident statewide. Nests in riparian areas, similar places where willows, other deciduous trees grow near water (ponds, ditches, mountain streamlets).
Chestnut-sided Warbler Setophaga pensylvanica — Casual migrant, more frequent June-July than fall. Overall, Eastside records outnumber Westside records by about 2-to-1, and spring/summer records outnumber fall records by the same margin.
Blackpoll Warbler Setophaga striata — Casual fall migrant (late August–September) in Eastern Washington. About 27 fall records, only two from Western Washington. Five spring records (May and June), four from Eastern Washington, one from Western Washington.
Black-throated Blue Warbler Setophaga caerulescens — Accidental fall migrant east, west; accidental winter visitor west. Nine of eleven records between late September and December. One spring record from Olympia (Thurston County), March– April 1995. One summer record from King County, June 2012.
Palm Warbler Setophaga palmarum — In Western Washington, rare fall migrant, winter resident. Easiest to find on outer coast (especially in Scot’s Broom thickets at Ocean Shores). Casual spring migrant east, west; accidental east in fall.
Yellow-rumped Warbler Setophaga coronata — Breeding form Audubon’s Warbler (subspecies auduboni)—common summer resident in open coniferous forests of Eastern Washington, somewhat less numerous but still widespread, common in open forests of Western Washington (northeastern Olympics, subalpine parkland, old-growth Douglas-fir on upper west-slope Cascades), though mostly shunning tree farms, moist forests of outer coast, dense Silver Fir forests of Cascades. Common migrant statewide. Myrtle Warbler (subspecies coronata) common (west) to uncommon (east) migrant in lowlands. Both subspecies uncommon in western lowlands in winter, mostly around Puget Trough (Myrtle fairly common on South Coast). In Eastern Washington, Audubon’s uncommon winter resident in Columbia Basin (fairly common in southern portion), especially attracted to Russian Olive; Myrtle, though scarcer, also occurs, especially in willows.
Yellow-throated Warbler Setophaga dominica — Two records, one in Twisp (Okanogan County) December 2001–January 2002; one in Asotin County, October 2003.
Prairie Warbler Setophaga discolor — One record, from Wallula (Walla Walla County) in December 1989.
Black-throated Gray Warbler Setophaga nigrescens— Fairly common summer resident in mixed deciduous/conifer woodlands at low elevations west of Cascade Crest. On Eastside, fairly common summer resident locally in similar habitats along Yakima, lower Cle Elum Rivers in western Kittitas County, also a few in mixed woodlands in western Klickitat County; rare migrant elsewhere.
Townsend’s Warbler Setophaga townsendi — Common summer resident of conifer forests (especially fir-dominated) almost statewide; now local in Puget Lowlands due to fragmentation of habitat. In Eastern Washington, largely absent from Ponderosa Pine zone, uncommon in subalpine parkland. Many individuals in southwestern Cascades, eastern Olympics show signs of hybridization with Hermit Warbler (see discussion on page 232). Uncommon winter resident of Westside lowlands.
Hermit Warbler Setophaga occidentalis— Uncommon, local summer resident of conifer forests on south, east slopes of Olympic Mountains, in Southwest. Local on upper east slopes of Cascades from White Pass south. Not on outer coast. Recent research reveals two narrow zones of hybridization with Townsend’s Warbler: one in eastern Olympics, other along west slope of Cascades from about Mount Adams north to White Pass (see discussion on page 232). Many individuals in or near these zones not safely separable.
Black-throated Green Warbler Setophaga virens — Three records: Dishman (Spokane County) in July 1975; Wanapum State Park (Kittitas County) in June 2003; Washtucna (Adams County) in November 2004.
Canada Warbler Cardellina Canadensis – One record, McNary NWR (Walla Walla County), September 2010.
Wilson’s Warbler Cardellina pusilla — Brighter-golden subspecies chryseola common summer resident west of Cascade Crest in variety of moist, wooded habitats with well-developed understory vegetation; arrives on breeding territory late April–early May. Casual in winter. East of crest, duller pileolata subspecies common spring, fall migrant, most passing through late in late May or early June; uncommon, local summer resident of moist, shrubby places in open mountain forests, particularly in Northeast.
Yellow-breasted Chat Icteria virens — Fairly common to locally common summer resident of lower-elevation, open, brushy streamside habitats in Eastern Washington, mostly at the margins between Ponderosa Pine forests and shrub-steppe around edges of Columbia Basin. Scattered records from Western Washington in migration, nesting season.
Green-tailed Towhee Pipilo chlorurus — Rare, local summer resident of brushy habitats on steep hillsides in Blue Mountains, often requiring time, physical commitment to reach. Good sites include Lewis Peak, Biscuit Ridge, Wenatchee Guard Station. Accidental in Puget Lowlands in winter.
Spotted Towhee Pipilo maculatus — Common summer resident statewide, except in high mountains, dense forest, Columbia Basin. Mostly in low to mid-elevation shrubby habitats, including urban areas, open forests, clearcuts, margins of wetlands, brush-filled ravines. Common west, fairly common east in winter; withdraws from snowy areas.
American Tree Sparrow Spizella arborea — Uncommon (east) to rare (west) winter resident of cattail-marsh edges, brushy habitats. Most frequent November–December around Molson, West Foster Creek, Potholes, Big Flat HMU. West of Cascades, most reports from mixed-species sparrow flocks at Skagit Game Range, Snoqualmie Valley.
Chipping Sparrow Spizella passerina — Common summer resident of open conifer forests in Eastern Washington, especially Ponderosa Pine zone, subalpine. Fairly common but local in dry-forest habitats of Western Washington—e.g., northeastern Olympics (Hurricane Ridge to Sequim), Mount Constitution on Orcas Island, Joint Base Lewis-McChord prairies, Mount Rainier (especially rainshadow side). Uncommon elsewhere in migration.
Clay-colored Sparrow Spizella pallida — Rare, local summer resident and occasional breeder in Spokane Valley, Okanogan, Northeast. Mostly reported on hillsides with dense brush. Scattered summer records elsewhere in Eastern Washington. Casual in Western Washington in any season, perhaps increasing.
Brewer’s Sparrow Spizella breweri — Nominate subspecies common summer resident of Big Sagebrush communities with healthy understory of native bunchgrasses (not Cheatgrass). Good sites include Quilomene Wildlife Area (Kittitas County), Beezley Hills (Grant County), Tule Road south of Toppenish NWR (Yakima County), northern Timentwa Flats (Okanogan County). Casual (spring) to accidental (fall) on Westside in migration. Slightly larger, darker, longer-tailed Timberline Sparrow (subspecies taverneri) recorded a few times in migration, mostly April–early May. Best chance brushy ravines east of Cascades away from sagebrush; field identification perilous.
Vesper Sparrow Pooecetes gramineus — Coastal subspecies affinis rare, local, declining summer resident of lowland prairies in Western Washington—remnant populations in prairies of lower Puget Trough (especially at Joint Base Lewis-McChord) and on San Juan Island. Casual in winter. Widespread interior subspecies confinis common summer resident east of Cascades in flourishing stands of native grasses, often with scattered sagebrush—particularly in wetter, higher elevations of northern Columbia Basin. In South Central, mainly on north aspects of higher east-west trending ridges (Rattlesnake Mountain, Horse Heaven Hills). Also found near small trees, brush around edges of agricultural lands.
Lark Sparrow Chondestes grammacus — Fairly common but local summer resident in several distinct shrub-steppe habitats. Most frequent in lowest, hottest parts of Columbia Basin in variety of shrubs (Big Sagebrush, rabbitbrush) with dense Cheatgrass groundcover. Less common, but still regular, in agricultural settings near shrub-steppe. Uncommon on dry ridges, agricultural edge settings in Ponderosa Pine zone. Casual spring, fall migrant west of Cascades.
Black-throated Sparrow Amphispiza bilineata — Rare summer resident in lowest, rockiest, driest parts of Columbia Basin. May not occur annually. Best bet May–June in Vantage area, particularly along Recreation Road north of Vantage and east edge of Yakima Training Center along Huntzinger Road. Casual spring migrant west.
Sagebrush Sparrow Artemisiospiza nevadensis — Fairly common but local summer resident of mature Big Sagebrush stands with less grass cover than those favored by Brewer’s Sparrow. Easy to find in Moses Coulee, Quilomene Wildlife Area, south slopes of Rattlesnake Mountain in Benton County, Hanford Reach National Monument, Yakima Training Center (widespread at lower elevations), lowermost sagebrush habitats on SR-17 just north of Dry Falls in Douglas County. Casual early-spring migrant west.
Lark Bunting Calamospiza melanocorys — Casual spring, fall migrant. Three records from southeastern Washington, one from Columbia Basin, six from near North Olympic, Pacific coasts, one from Puget Trough (first-year male at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in mid-July).
Savannah Sparrow Passerculus sandwichensis — Common summer resident of low-elevation grasslands, seaside dunes, farmlands statewide, mostly in human-influenced landscapes—even weedy vacant lots in cities. Also found in high-elevation meadows of Okanogan, Northeast (e.g., Harts Pass, Horseshoe Basin, Rainy Pass, Bunchgrass Meadows). In winter, rare west, casual east in same habitats—numbers vary from year to year. Westside breeding populations belong to coastal subspecies brooksi, Eastside to widespread interior subspecies nevadensis. Other subspecies can be common in migration, but differentiation difficult in the field.
Grasshopper Sparrow Ammodramus savannarum — Uncommon, local, summer resident of grasslands in Eastern Washington; one breeding-season record west. Sensitive to changes in vegetation—here one year, gone the next. Secretive nature, high-pitched song (often barely audible above frequent winds in this habitat) make it difficult to detect. Soap Lake Road (Okanogan County) seems dependable. Fairly common in northeastern Columbia Basin, on boulder-strewn plains northwest of Moses Lake toward Soap Lake (Grant County). Grasslands at Swanson Lakes, Turnbull NWR, Snake River in southeast also good. Casual west.
Le Conte’s Sparrow Ammodramus leconteii — Five records, four from late May through June, one from November: Kennewick (Benton County), May 1964; Willapa Bay (Pacific County), November 1982; Deep Lake (Stevens County), June 1993; Lake Wenatchee (Chelan County), June 1996; Marblemount (Skagit County), June 2014.
Nelson’s Sparrow Ammodramus nelsoni — One record, Sullivan Lake in September 1986.
Fox Sparrow Passerella iliaca — Several subspecies in Washington, assignable to four groups. Sooty Fox Sparrow (subspecies group unalaschensis) rare summer resident in dense brush on Outer Olympic Coast, Dungeness prairies (formerly), some smaller San Juan Islands. Common (west) to uncommon (east) winter resident in lowlands, augmented by other subspecies of Sooty group from farther north. Slate-colored Fox Sparrow (subspecies group schistacea) fairly common but local summer resident in brushy forest habitats from moderate elevations to subalpine, in Blue Mountains, Selkirks, Kettle Range, Okanogan Highlands, both slopes of Cascades. Local breeders winter south of Washington. Another subspecies (altivagans) intermediate between Slate-colored and Red groups, from farther north, uncommon (east) to rare (west) fall migrant, rare winter resident. Red Fox Sparrow (subspecies group iliaca) likely annual in winter, on passage. Thick-billed Fox Sparrow (subspecies group megarhyncha) apparently present at least some years around White Pass and possibly other sites in the far south Cascades in summer, with only one or two accepted records in the state.
Song Sparrow Melospiza melodia — Common year-round resident at low to mid-elevations statewide, at home in all but most arid, barren, or densely forested habitats. Local in Columbia Basin. Prefers brushy places with water easily available. Populations from Cascades west have dark brown backs and strongly-marked underparts compared to paler populations breeding from Columbia Basin eastward. Other forms of this highly variable species, sometimes found in winter, not yet systematically tracked, sorted out.
Lincoln’s Sparrow Melospiza lincolnii — Secretive migrant statewide, in numbers much greater than generally appreciated. Uncommon to locally fairly common winter resident in dense brush in lowlands west of Cascades, uncommon east. Fairly common summer resident of mid-elevation wetlands in Cascades, mountains of Northeast.
Swamp Sparrow Melospiza georgiana — Rare migrant, winter resident, mostly west of Cascades in marshes, other wetland habitats. Secretive. Often observed in dense growth of introduced Reed Canary Grass.
White-throated Sparrow Zonotrichia albicollis — Uncommon migrant, winter resident in dense lowland brush. Increasing. Rare, perhaps increasing, in summer.
Harris’s Sparrow Zonotrichia querula — Uncommon winter resident of lowland, relatively open, brushy habitats, more frequent east of Cascades.
White-crowned Sparrow Zonotrichia leucophrys — Three forms. Subspecies pugetensis common summer resident throughout Western Washington, in shrubby habitats in cities, farmland, clearcuts, young forests, extending up to Cascade Crest in recently logged sites. Fairly common summer resident in Eastern Washington in brushy habitats along Yakima River drainage from vicinity of Snoqualmie, Stampede, White Passes down to lower edge of Ponderosa Pine zone. Uncommon in winter in western lowlands, rare east. Subspecies gambelii uncommon, local summer resident in Cascades, from Slate Peak, Horseshoe Basin south to White Pass. Common migrant in Columbia Basin, especially April when wave upon wave move through shrub-steppe. Fairly common migrant in Western Washington (but uncommon on outer coast). Large numbers winter locally in southern Columbia Basin. Uncommon to locally fairly common in winter in Western Washington (more common than pugetensis). Song distinctive, allowing easy separation from pugetensis where breeding ranges come into contact in Cascade passes—both forms also sing in late winter, on spring passage. Subspecies oriantha uncommon summer resident locally on high peaks in Northeast (e.g., Salmo Mountain), Blue Mountains. Accidental in North Cascades, and dark-lored birds recorded west of the Cascades in winter and spring migration. Main wintering range probably south of Washington.
Golden-crowned Sparrow Zonotrichia atricapilla — Common migrant, winter resident of shrubby cover in lowlands of Western Washington, east in Columbia Gorge to about Maryhill. Uncommon to irregularly fairly common migrant, uncommon winter resident east of Cascades. Has nested in subalpine in northernmost Cascades (fairly common summer resident in mountains just north of Fraser River in British Columbia).
Dark-eyed Junco Junco hyemalis — One of commonest, most widespread species in state. Two forms, formerly considered separate species are regular in state. Oregon Junco common year-round resident of brushy edges, open forests in conifer-dominated habitats at all elevations statewide, though spottily distributed through heavily populated portions of Puget Trough in summer. In winter, numbers increase on both sides of Cascades—particularly at lower elevations, including Columbia Basin where absent in breeding season. Slate-colored Junco uncommon winter resident, usually noted among flocks of Oregons. Some winter birds intermediate (females often impossible to separate). One record of a third form, Gray-headed Junco, in King County (December 2006).
Rustic Bunting Emberiza rustica —Three records: immature stayed at former Kent sewage ponds (King County) for winter of 1986–1987; adult male wintered two years later at same spot—possibly same bird; another individual visited feeders at Leavenworth, November 1998–January 1999.
Summer Tanager Piranga rubra — Seven records, four from winter and three from late spring/summer: One bird visited Skagit County feeder, December 1997–January 1998; one at Ridgefield NWR (Clark County), May 2001; one in Chimacum (Jefferson County), June 2004; one in Ilwaco (Pacific County), December 2012; one in Seattle (King County), also December 2012; one in West Seattle (King County), November 2013; one in Olympia (Thurston County), June 2014.
Western Tanager Piranga ludoviciana — Common summer resident statewide in conifer forests (except coastal rain forests). Now largely absent as breeder from developed areas of Puget Trough. Most common in Eastern Washington; Douglas-fir forests favored breeding habitat there. Fairly common migrant nearly statewide. Casual in winter west.
Rose-breasted Grosbeak Pheucticus ludovicianus — Casual statewide in spring, summer (May–July)—occurs almost annually. Accidental fall, winter (September–January).
Black-headed Grosbeak Pheucticus melanocephalus — Common summer resident of mature lowland broadleaf forests (especially riparian) statewide. Can occur with scattered conifers, but absent where conifers dominate.
Lazuli Bunting Passerina amoena — Fairly common summer resident of brushy habitats in Eastern Washington, mostly at lower elevations but extending higher in recently logged sites; uncommon, local on subalpine ridges. In lowlands west of Cascades, uncommon spring migrant, possibly increasing but still uncommon local summer resident.
Indigo Bunting Passerina cyanea — Casual to rare in late-spring, summer on both sides of state. Most records (29 records) from May – July. Accidental (four records) in fall (September–November): one record from March in Snohomish County. About three-quarters of records from Western Washington.
Painted Bunting Passerina ciris — Three records: A well-photographed male visited Seattle feeders in February–March 2002. A similarly cooperative adult male near Tonasket (Okanogan County) in July–August 2012. An immature was found at Neah Bay (Clallam County) in September 2013.
Dickcissel Spiza americana — Nine records: three from May–June, six from October– February. Seven from Western Washington, two from Eastern Washington.
Bobolink Dolichonyx oryzivorus — Fairly common but local summer resident of irrigated hay fields in Okanogan, Northeast; outpost colony near Toppenish in Yakima County. Casual in migration in other parts of state when most often detected calling in flight. First noted in Washington in hay fields at Valley (Stevens County) in 1907, about same time invaded similar irrigated habitats in neighboring parts of Idaho, British Columbia.
Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus — Common summer resident statewide in wetland habitats of all types, sizes. Also common in winter, when birds move away from frozen-over sites to forage in fields, feedlots in large flocks, frequently with other blackbirds, starlings. Males establish, advertise territories early. Females frequently remain in segregated flocks prior to pair formation.
Tricolored Blackbird Agelaius tricolor — Uncommon, extremely local summer resident in Eastern Washington, first found in small breeding colony discovered in 1998 in wetlands along Crab Creek east of town of Wilson Creek. Also breeding near Othello (Adams County), near Texas Lake (Whitman County), possibly elsewhere. Casual in winter in Columbia Basin—usually one or a few birds among larger flocks of other blackbird species. Also a few fall, winter reports from Vancouver Lowlands.
Eastern Meadowlark Sturnella magna – One record, Marblemount (Skagit County) in June 2012.
Western Meadowlark Sturnella neglecta — Common summer resident in open, low-elevation landscapes of Eastern Washington—shrub-steppe, agricultural fields, ranchland. Once locally common breeder on Western Washington prairies but now rare, seriously declining due to habitat loss; can still be found on South Sound Prairies (Weir Prairie, Mima Mounds), has colonized blast zone on northwest side of Mount Saint Helens. Uncommon to locally fairly common winter resident west of Cascades, mostly in agricultural fields or near coasts. Uncommon, quite local in winter east, mostly on bare, snow-free fields (rarely in shrub-steppe).
Yellow-headed Blackbird Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus — Common summer resident of cattail, tule marshes in Eastern Washington, mostly in lowlands but locally up into forest zones (as at Molson). Uncommon to rare in winter in Columbia Basin, mostly at feedlots or in corn stubble. In Western Washington nests regularly at a few places including Ridgefield NWR; rare elsewhere or in other seasons, especially during spring migration (late April to late May).
Rusty Blackbird Euphagus carolinus — Rare statewide at lower elevations in fall–winter, usually among flocks of Brewer’s and Red-winged Blackbirds. Usually more than one every winter on Skagit or Samish Flats or in Snohomish County.
Brewer’s Blackbird Euphagus cyanocephalus — Widespread, common resident summer (east), year round (west) at low- to mid-elevations. Mostly found around agricultural lands but also in shrub-steppe, open forest, cities. Forms large foraging flocks in winter, often with other blackbird species. Very locally common east in winter, mostly in feedlots, but absent from vast majority of summer range.
Common Grackle Quiscalus quiscula — Casual, nearly annual since 1995. Eastside records outnumber Westside records by about 2-to-1. Most records concentrated late April to early July, rest scattered August to March. First breeding record Ephrata 2002.
Great-tailed Grackle Quiscalus mexicanus — Ten records split evenly between east and west. Seven from summer (May–August), two from winter (January–March and March–May), one in Puyallup (Pierce County) from August 2013 into 2014.
Brown-headed Cowbird Molothrus ater — Common migrant, summer resident statewide, except in closed forests or at high elevations; small numbers in mixed flocks winter at feedlots on both sides of Cascades. Originally local in Eastern Washington grasslands, increased with Euro-American settlement. On Westside, occurred only casually until first breeding record (Seattle 1955), spread explosively after that. Strongly implicated in decline of many vireos, warblers, other passerines, although specific data for Washington are meager.
Orchard Oriole Icterus spurius — Eight records: seven from Western Washington, all from October and through winter; one from Eastern Washington, Grant County in June 2005.
Hooded Oriole Icterus cucullatus — Ten records, nine from late April to early August, one from November. Casual spring–summer visitor to Western Washington lowlands; one June record from Eastern Washington, Walla Walla County July 2008.
Bullock’s Oriole Icterus bullockii — Common summer resident of lowland riparian habitats, farmlands, orchards in Eastern Washington. Once rare in Western Washington, expanded into lowlands there after about 1970—now uncommon to locally fairly common in farmlands, parks, suburbs, riparian areas of lower Puget Trough, where often associated with cottonwoods.
Baltimore Oriole Icterus galbula —Six records, four from summer (May–June), one late fall (November) and one early spring (March). Three records from King County, three from Eastern Washington (Kittitas, Chelan, Benton Counties).
Scott’s Oriole Icterus parisorum — Two records: one in Chehalis (Lewis County), February–April 1980; one in Selah (Yakima County), April 2007.
Brambling Fringilla montifringilla — Casual west (16 records) to accidental east (three records) winter visitor. Dates range from late October to mid-April. Prolonged stays typical—over four months, in one case. Records tend to bunch up. Two to three records each in winters of 1990–1991, 1991–1992, 1992–1993, 2012-2013, 2014–2015. Absent most other winters.
Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch Leucosticte tephrocotis — Uncommon summer resident in alpine zone of Cascades, small population in Olympics. Often seen above Paradise (Panorama Point), Sunrise (Burroughs Mountain) on Mount Rainier. Nests in rocky areas, forages among rocks or on snow or icefields. In fall, gradually descends through mountains to winter in open country in Eastern Washington, especially northern parts (locally in Southeast). Usually easier to find than in summer, but still uncommon; frequented sites include Lenore Lake, Lower Monumental Dam, Lower Granite Dam, among many others. Often roosts at night in abandoned nests of Cliff Swallows or crevices in cliffs, dispersing by day to weedy areas in open fields or along roads where it feeds on grain spilled from passing trucks. Casual in winter west of Cascade Crest. Washington breeders, most winterers belong to gray-cheeked sub-species littoralis, Hepburn’s Rosy-Finch. Small numbers of brown-cheeked subspecies tephrocotis (nominate form, breeding in Rocky Mountains) occur among winter flocks of littoralis, particularly in Southeast.
Pine Grosbeak Pinicola enucleator — Uncommon summer resident of subalpine in high Olympics, Cascades (around Mount Rainier, from Snoqualmie Pass north), Selkirks, rare in Blues. Most suitable breeding habitat accessible only by hiking or backpacking. By auto, seems most reliable at Harts Pass, Rainy Pass, Washington Pass in North Cascades. Descends to lower levels in winter when locally uncommon in Eastern Washington, particularly in drainages with abundance of berry-producing shrubs or seed-laden conifers, towns with Mountain Ash trees, apple orchards with persistent fruit. Check especially northern Okanogan, Methow River valleys. Rare wanderer in western lowlands in winter.
House Finch Haemorhous mexicanus — Common year-round resident in variety of relatively open lowland habitats throughout state, especially cities, towns, agricultural areas, wandering in non-breeding season to weedy fields in shrub-steppe zone. First reported in Eastern Washington in 1885, apparently self-introduced from Idaho or Oregon. By 1920s spread through non-forested eastern parts of state. Casual in Western Washington until first nesting, Christmas Bird Count records (both in 1952), expanded rapidly after that.
Purple Finch Haemorhous purpureus— In Western Washington lowlands, foothills, fairly common but apparently declining year-round resident of mixed forests, particularly near openings. Uncommon to locally fairly common summer resident of forest zones along lower east slopes of Cascades (especially drainages of Methow River in Okanogan County, Wenatchee River in Chelan County, Yakima River in Kittitas County, Wenas Creek in Yakima County). Rare in winter in Eastern Washington. Eastern subspecies, purpureus, recorded three times, once in Okanogan County (2009), once in Pierce County (2012), and once in Kitsap County (2014).
Cassin’s Finch Haemorhous cassinii — In Eastern Washington, common summer, uncommon winter resident in Ponderosa Pine zone. Summer resident in open subalpine forests along both slopes of Cascade Crest (uncommon), on Mount Rainier (fairly common). Otherwise, accidental west in any season.
Red Crossbill Loxia curvirostra — Fairly common but often irregular year-round resident of most conifer-forest zones in state. Of 10 types of Red Crossbill described in North America (potential species splits), seven occur in Washington (Types I, II, III, IV, V, VII, X). Although call-notes distinctive, types difficult to separate in field (may intermingle). Understanding of Washington status a work in progress.
White-winged Crossbill Loxia leucoptera — Erratic visitor at any season, mainly to higher mountains in Okanogan, Northeast, especially in forests of Engelmann Spruce. Often absent for extended periods (even years). Invades from north in major flight years, typically in July or August, spreading through mountains, sometimes lowlands. Singing conspicuous in these years; breeding suspected but never confirmed. Harts Pass, Salmo Pass good bets even in non-invasion years.
Common Redpoll Acanthis flammea — Irregular winter visitor, extremely rare some years to irruptively uncommon others. Most often noted in Okanogan, Northeast in alders, birches at mid-elevations of major river valleys, ornamental birches in towns—Winthrop, Chesaw good sites.
Hoary Redpoll Acanthis hornemanni — Irruptive winter visitor, casual at best; not reported every year. Experience of invasion of 2001–2002 suggests minute but fixed proportion of redpolls reaching Washington will be Hoary Redpolls (subspecies exilipes). Of 20 accepted records, half from Okanogan or Ferry Counties, only two from Western Washington (Whatcom and Skagit Counties), the remaining eight from across Eastern Washington. Separation from Common Redpolls and documentation remains difficult.
Pine Siskin Spinus pinus — Usually Washington’s most abundant, ubiquitous finch. Common summer resident of conifer forest, mixed forest with important conifer component, statewide; found at all elevations, even in small conifer stands in cities. Presumably most descend from higher elevations in winter, when fairly common to irregularly common in western lowlands—numbers vary from year to year, even largely absent in winter of 2013–2014. Uncommon (irregularly fairly common), local winter resident in Columbia Basin.
Lesser Goldfinch Spinus psaltria — Uncommon but increasing year-round resident in agricultural or weedy habitats along Columbia River in southern Klickitat County and along Snake River. Usually in open areas not far from Garry Oaks. Recent years have seen a likely range expansion through the Snake River and up the westside lowlands, nearly reaching the Puget Trough.
Lawrence’s Goldfinch Spinus lawrencei – Two records, both recent: May 2011 in Friday Harbor (San Juan County); May 2013 in Keyport (Kitsap County).
American Goldfinch Spinus tristis — Fairly common to common statewide in variety of lowland habitats in all seasons. Numbers drop in winter, especially west. Often commences nesting in June or July, well after most other birds.
Evening Grosbeak Coccothraustes vespertinus — Fairly common summer resident in lowto mid-elevation conifer forests statewide (except wettest forests on coast), somewhat irregular in winter but usually uncommon. On the move in spring, when it is a common visitor to deciduous trees (for buds), bird feeders. Seeks areas of insect concentrations such as Spruce Budworm outbreaks; thus numbers at any given locality can vary from year to year. Perhaps most readily detected calling high overhead.
House Sparrow Passer domesticus — Locally common at lower elevations, mostly around cities, farms; more confined to urban areas west. Introduced to North America from Europe. Moved west with railroads, reaching Spokane in 1895, Seattle by 1897.