Peterson’s Bird Notes

Black-capped chickadee taking a break in the author's backyard.

Good morning dear readers! Here I sit on a beautiful Saturday morning. The sun is shining and the temperature’s pleasant and I am stuck inside. Not chained to the computer writing this piece, rather with a low personal energy day after surviving the awful flu that is going around.

Luckily for me, as noted in previous columns, the birds often come to me! It doesn’t hurt that I have a wide variety of habitats view-able from my living room window, which is where I have spent most of the last three days, dozing, reading and staring. There was also a stern talk to the universe about kicking this quickly!

From my large comfortable “bird blind,” I have kept a bird species list for two of those three days. Both reaching 30 species. Interestingly not the same 30 each day. And that is my topic for this column.

Birds are everywhere. A wonderful article in the January 2018 issue of National Geographic states that birds are the only mammals that inhabit all the environments on earth. So everywhere is not a exaggeration.

And in my own studies, OK so they are more like an loose observations, the same spots attract a varying population. (30 species a day but not the same 30 species) Of course during migration, this birder’s favorite times of year, there are travelers stopping in to rest and feed, but what about my observations in these last couple days? There were 26 repeat species. That leaves 4 species each day that were different.

Does that lead us to the question of why one day and not the other? In the past, I have learned that asking “why questions” about birds habitats are hard to pinpoint. Instead, I am putting the hard questions aside and enjoying the birds in front of me. I am focusing on “seeing” the birds.

I am taking pleasure in the antics of Canada geese and the funny way they run (not fly?) away from the bald eagle. The mallards picking their partners from the flock. The black-capped chickadee coming for one seed and quickly getting back into the safety of the branches to eat it. And the large murders of crows who tend to go over early and late in the day.

Being stuck inside has some benefits!

Plan to attend the Necanicum Bird Day on April 7 at the Bob Chisholm Center in Seaside and then the Annual Birdathon Fundraiser for the Wildlife Center of the North Coast on April 14. Find all the details at the Wildlife Center’s website at

Right after that, we’ll be celebrating more outdoor adventures with Cannon Beach’s unique 12 Days of Earth Day, including lectures, plantings, clean-ups and a parade and street fair. Watch for details coming soon!

And don’t forget the First Sunday Cannon Beach Bird Walk. The next one will be on March 4, join a small group at 9 a.m. at the Lagoon Trail on 2nd Street. Bring binoculars and wear appropriate clothing. Everyone is welcome!

Susan has spent her life enjoying the great outdoors from the lakes and woods of northern Minnesota, to Mount Adams in Washington and now the Oregon coast. After spending many pleasurable hours driving her avid birder parents around, she has taken up birding as a passion. Susan resides on Neawanna Creek in Seaside where her backyard is a birder’s paradise.


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