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Category Archives: birds

These bright red birds are delight to see anytime but in the snow their vibrant color really pops! Crossbills are a member of the finch family – like American Goldfinches, House Finches, Pine Siskins and Pine Grosbeaks. They use their crossed beaks to break into pine cones and get the nutritious seeds. They will also come to feeders for sunflower seeds. I have read that if they have sufficient food, they can breed anytime of the year. Before the fire we observed them here year-round. Now they are just an occasional visitor to our feeders. They must miss our pine trees as much as we do.

This time of year, activity at the bird feeders picks up. For the first time we are trying a platform feeder and it is very popular. Finches and quail and other birds are really enjoying it. And the Steller’s Jays have returned. We haven’t seen them here since before the fire in 2014! There are lots of woodpeckers – Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers and Northern Flickers too.

It’s not unusual to see Canada Jays at Washington Pass. These sweet birds, often referred to as Camp Robbers and formerly known as Gray Jays, are gregarious and opportunistic. They have evolved to know that people often have food with them and so when they see people, they will investigate the situation. And people see these sweet looking birds and often want to lure them closer for fun and photos. I watched as others fed the jays in the parking lot and was able to get some nice photos of them in the snow.

The western larch trees, sometimes called tamarack, provide homes for Williamson’s Sapsuckers and other birds. The male and female appear quite different and there was a time when they were classified as two separate species. I found a nest just below our campsite and was able to photograph the two birds coming and going as they fed their young. It was a long ways up in the tree and I had to sit down and lean back to get these images and wait patiently while they foraged for insects in between feedings. If you scroll through the photos you will get a good idea of the two different plumages of the male and female. And at the end are a few other birds.

There were lots of loons and they will get a separate post.

After our big trip to Alaska, I got pretty far behind on my photos around here so yes, I am catching up. Here are a few pretty migratory birds I have seen on our hillside.

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