Bird Counts

2017 Cowlitz County Bird List - April Update

Cassin's Finch - Source: USFWS / David Menke

There was a singing Cassin's Finch found near the parking lot of the Science and Learning Center at Coldwater Lake in early April. In the 11 years of this project, this is only the second time we have recorded this species.

They are more typically found on the east slope of the Cascades from the Ponderosa zone on up to the crest with a few found just on the west side of the Cascade crest. With the east edge of Cowlitz County quite a ways west of the crest this species is only found sporadically in our county. A nice addition to this years list.

Download the pdf here.

2017 Cowlitz County Bird List - March Update

White-tailed Kite

The slow trickle of spring migrants continued in March, with the highlight of the month being a White-tailed Kite spending the end of the month along Barlow Point Road west of Longview. This species was once common in the Willow Grove/Barlow Point area until the December 2008 snow episode found this species eliminated from southwest Washington and northwest Oregon.

The nearly two feet of snow that lasted for two weeks left this beautiful raptor unable to find food and they perished. Since then there have been a few records of this species in western Washington, including one at Willow Grove in November 2011, all of which were a few days or less. Many birders have been enjoying "our" bird including many new to the hobby for whom it is their first ever sighting. Hopefully it will stick around and be the beginning of the re-population here of this species. 

Download the pdf here.

2017 Cowlitz County Bird List - January Update


Turkey Vulture
Turkey Vulture - Image US-FWS

Our year got off to its traditional New Year's Day jump start with the Christmas Bird Count. During the rest of January we've added numerous species that typically are not found within the count circle as well as a number of species that are less than annual in Cowlitz County.

The most unlikely find was a Turkey Vulture that was found at Willow Grove in early January. While this species will be ubiquitous in a couple months, mid-winter is an not the time we usually find them. Although it seems every year one or more are found trying to over winter in Washington, they typically have perished by January.

Besides the one in Cowlitz a few have been found in the Puget Sound area as well as farther downstream on the Columbia River into January this year, including a few still around after our recent rare long snow and freezing episode. Amazing!

Download the pdf file here.


Great Backyard Bird Count Feb 17-20

Backyard Birdcount Website

The Great Backyard Bird Count is scheduled for Feb 17-20, 2017. This is citizen science at its best. You can view and report birds wherever you are during this weekend. Last year over 5000 people participated around the world and reported over 18 million individual birds. 

Please go to www.gbbc.birdcount.org for information on participation.

Final 2016 Cowlitz County Bird List

Courtesy of the US FWS

Acorn Woodpecker - Image courtesy of the US FWS

Here is what bird list maintainer Russ Koppendrayer's says of 2016:

We had another fine year with 204 species in the county. We seem to be able to break the 200 species barrier with more regularity in recent years, likely a product of both more birders as well as better reporting. Thanks to all who shared their finds on Tweeters and/or eBird as well as those who contacted me separately. 
Our only miss of birds usually seen annually in the county was Long-billed Dowitcher, a shorebird that migrates through both spring and fall. We missed it in the spring, and the really dry summer and fall left us with almost none of its preferred mudflat habitat for possible fall sightings.
Highlights from the last two months included an Acorn Woodpecker that visited a feeder in the Goble Creek area for about a week and was seen by numerous birders. This  was the third ever record for the county, and amazingly they are in 2014, 2015, and 2016 all in late fall or winter. Also found was our second ever Palm Warbler that spent a couple days in Willow Grove Park during a snow event, foraging on the ground in snow free spots under trees and near sidewalks.  

Download the pdf file here.