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Birds, Pacific Northwest

Birds are everywhere, on every continent, in every season. There are over 8,000 living species of birds.There are 27 distinct orders in the world and of these, more than 18 orders live just In Canada, involving  more than 600 species  of birds.

The Pacific Northwest has over 450 bird breeds that either live or visit here. We have some that inhabit the oceans and waterways, there are those that hunt the airways, others that sip the sweet nectar of plants and yet others who feed on carrion, some who feed on fish & others who prefer flies.

A Blue Jay, (Steller Jay) giving me a pretty good looking over, these birds are quite curious
Blue Jays Can Be Seen in all parts of the B.C. Coastal Region, Photo By Bud

We have many varieties here on the coast, and once in a while, we get a rare visitor from some other part of the world to surprise and amaze us. You should see the way birders travel once they hear of a rare bird sighting. It’s almost like a birder migration!

There is something very calming about walking in a birding area, like an estuary or mountain trail, and looking for birds. My family and I have always enjoyed both bird-watching and hiking in the fresh air. When out birding, keep your eyes open – you may see many other creatures: little ones like mink, marmots, pine martins, and raccoons, or bigger ones like bears, cougars, deer, wolves, and elk. Plus, there are countless fascinating plants & insects to see. So, stay alert – you never know what might step in front of your camera.

Head out for a stroll and see what types can be found in your area. You’ll be amazed at the diversity of birds, and you will love the wonderful songs they sing. Birding is good for you, it gets you out for walks and it pleases the soul.

A Spotted sandpiper standing on a beach on Vancouver Island, sometimes you will see these birds in very large flocks
Spotted Sandpipers are beautiful, Photo By Robert Logan

With so many species visiting the pacific northwest, it’s easy attracting them to your yard. A basic seed mix will bring a few of the more common ones to your feeders. With a bit of forethought, you can easily attract many other types of birds to your backyard, simply by offering what they need most: food, water, shelter and nesting sites. Offering a variety of food sources is one of the most effective ways to invite new birds to your backyard. While a basic seed mix is a good start for backyard birding, more specialized foods will entice a wider range of species. Try offering suet to the birds – you will draw woodpeckers, nuthatches & other fat loving birds. You might also consider making your own bird suet recipe, specific to the species in your area.

Installing hummingbird feeders can bring such wonder to your yard! We hang several at the end of every February, and by April, we can have hundreds visiting our feeding stations. We place feeders in front of our windows, and then enjoy the show.

Make your yard into a place that birds will want to visit. Plant trees, shrubs, vines & flowers to offer birds food, shelter and safe nesting areas. Cultivate your gardens in groupings, to provide good cover for a variety of species. Even if you’re unable to plant large areas, a small, bird-friendly garden can attract many to your yard.

They visit our feeders year round, and it brings such life to our yard, even in harsh & bleak, winter storm months!

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9 thoughts on “Birds”

  1. A great initiative Bud. I notice on your Birds page a minor slip up. The bird labeled as “Blue Jay” is actually a Steller’s Jay – BC’s provincial bird. Good luck with the website.

      1. I see your change Bud. Use of the term “Blue Jay” when referring to Steller’s jay (note correct spelling) is a colloquial practice that is very common but of course confusing. The Blue Jay of eastern provinces occurs in NE BC and increasingly so in the southeast part of the province. So we have 2 different species with the same name. The official, scientific reference names for birds of North America is decided upon by the American Ornithologists Union and they have also developed official common names to avoid confusion. Unfortunately, there are always changes, depending upon science research etc. For the moment, Blue Jay refers to Cyanocitta cristata which is the lighter-coloured easterly species. Steller’s Jay is the official common name for Cyanocitta stelleri . You will no doubt know that all of the modern field guides have adopted the AOU naming conventions. This avoids the potential confusion that occurs when using the many and colourful local names for species. They often differ regionally and add a lot of character but make accurate communications tricky. Every bird has dozens of local names for sure. Common names for plants on the other hand, are a nightmare and there may never be agreed upon official names for all of them. Hence, botanists rely upon Latin names to ensure they know what they are talking to each other about.
        I have looked at parts of your blog and I think it is very good and a wonderful initiative. I congratulate you on the undertaking.

        1. Thank you Rick, its tough when you know a bird your whole live as one name, then you have to start referring to it in another name. This is one of those that i know better of but still get caught up in old school thinking. I will do better in the future.

          1. For sure Bud. I was not meaning to be picky, but you are obviously attempting to make your site scholarly yet readable for non-scientists which I think is an excellent approach. As a professional biologist, I am attentive to details and hope that I can help with such slips which are really minor in the big picture.
            Here is a link to the official list of birds and taxonomy for North America.

          2. You are right Rick, my goal of my site is to make it easy for people to find and learn about the various components of our coastal wilderness in such a way that it is fun and yet simple to understand. I not only have sections on various animals like birds, insects, spiders ect. I also cover the plants including trees, mushrooms, medicine, edible ect. Plus the coastal shores, rivers, lakes and so on. I do understand that i should be as accurate as i possible can be and will change the Steller’s Jay information to reflect this cross between accuracy and layman-ship. I appreciate your help in this regard, thank you again.

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