WHAS - Bird Lists and Wildlife Sightings

Please send information about wildlife sightings to our Wildlife Sightings Chair.

To see some recent Washington State bird sightings go to the Tweeters list. To subscribe to Washington State Tweeters or to get more info about Tweeters visit WA Tweeters.

Sandhill Crane (WDFW Image)


2021 Cowlitz County Bird List - February Update

Swainson's Hawk - Image courtesy of Dick Daniels
Swainson's Hawk - Image courtesy of Wikimedia/Dick Daniels

By Russ Koppendrayer

We're off to a very nice start to the 2021 year list as far as number of species goes. Of the hardy species that overwinter in Cowlitz County in small numbers while most of their compatriots head farther south, we have found more than is typical. 

Only one bird has been found so far this year that would be considered a rarity. That would be the juvenile Swainson's Hawk that was seen for three days in the Woodland Bottoms. A species that nests in the grasslands and sagebrush habitats of interior North America, they migrate south for the winter. A few stop as close as Mexico, but the majority spend their time in Argentina and typically begin to return to areas east of the Cascades in April. While not the first record of Swainson's Hawk in western Washington in winter, it was indeed a very surprising find.

As was our individual, I believe all previous winter visitors were birds that hatched the previous spring and apparently have a flaw in their migration instinct. A few birders enjoyed seeing it at any rate and hopefully it survives the winter. As it was after the snow and cold that it was found it may well stand a chance.   

Download the pdf here.


2021 Cowlitz County Bird List - January Update

Cedar Waxwing - Image courtesy of Russ Koppendrayer
Cedar Waxwing - Image courtesy of Russ Koppendrayer

By Russ Koppendrayer

We got off to a typical fine start to our year list as far as the number of species seen.

A bit unusual was the number of species that over winter in small numbers that we usually miss until they begin to return from their winter haunts. Cedar Waxwing would be one of these species that in many years we don't find any until June, but this January we had three reports. The flock found feeding on berries at Lake Sacajawea astoundingly contained an estimated 150 individuals.

All the Code 4 (over 4 records, but less than annual) seen fall into the category of species found nearly every year. 

Download the pdf here.


2020 Cowlitz County Bird List - Final Update

White-tailed Kite- Image courtesy of Kevin Cole via Wikemedia
White-tailed Kite- Image courtesy of Kevin Cole via Wikimedia

By Russ Koppendrayer

Two species have been added to the list since the last report two months ago. This gives us the most species found in Cowlitz County in one year over the life of this project. The first addition was a Heermann's Gull that was actually seen in mid October, but didn't get through the eBird review in time for the October report. This was the third ever record for the county for this gull that has a strong attachment to salt water. While we have three records, Wahkiakum county just downstream on the Columbia River has only one record and the next county upstream (Clark) has never witnessed this visitor. Heermann's Gull is a handsome mostly gray gull whose favorite foraging technique is to follow Brown Pelicans when they plunge dive on baitfish and take advantage of any fish stirred up or spilled by the pelicans.  

The second addition was a White-tailed Kite that appeared for a couple days at Willow Grove. This species has become quite rare anywhere in Washington in the last twelve years. After being well established in the southwest part of the state, their range has regressed southward with the nearest population now in the Tillamook, Oregon area.

As previously stated there is now a new county highest total for species in a year. These 209 species include the three that were new to the county. We added Gray Flycatcher, Siberian Accentor, and American Redstart to our list in 2020.

We'll see what 2021 has to offer for birding excitement and pleasure, and good birding to all.

Download the pdf here.


Cowlitz-Columbia Christmas Bird Count 2020


Friday, January 1, 2021  Cowlitz -Columbia Christmas Bird Count (3CBC) is the first of the New Year. We will be out for an 8 hour period covering a 15 mile diameter circle looking for any birds that will let us see them.

More details will come later.

To sign up, call Bob Reistroffer 360-751-5595 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

This count will be different because of COVID-19. The guidelines are:

  1. NO in-person compilation gatherings.
  2. Social distancing and/or masking are required at all times in the field.
  3. Carpooling may only occur within existing familiar or social “pod” groups.
  4. Activities must comply with all current state and municipal COVID-19 guidelines.           


Wahkiakum CBC 2020

The Wahkiakum CBC is still on, December 29, 2020.

There are some national standards for the Christmas Bird Count this year due to Covid-19, which we will follow. Participants should not carpool with people other than their own family group or social pod.

There will be no gathering at the end of the day - participants should submit their data via email. As the Wahkiakum count is generally birding outdoors in a sparsely populated area, the chance of transmitting the virus will be low as long as participants mask up and wash hands for purchasing fuel or food, or are otherwise interacting with others.

Those who wish to participate may contact Andrew Emlen at 360-795-8009.


Upcoming Events

Dec 17;
Leadbetter CBC
Dec 29;
Wahkiakum CBC
Jan 01;
Cowlitz Columbia CBC