Large Land Birds, Pacific Northwest
Walking out in the forests of the Pacific Northwest, you might just get to see the large land birds. These are the ravens, crows, quails, grouse and pheasants. These are the large land birds that live on or visit our coast.
When I go mushroom picking in the fall I usually attract a Raven who will hang out all day chatting with me, using its huge vocabulary.
Ravens are found in a range of habitats throughout all of Canada and Alaska and in the United States west of the Rocky Mountains south to Mexico and Central America. Small but growing populations are also found in the Appalachian Mountains and northern Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and New York. They can be found on all of the coast, on Haida Gwaii and in the Qualicum area on Vancouver Island along with Haida Gwaii, you can see the white raven, these birds are incredible to see, pure white and beautiful. These birds do not migrate.
The sooty grouse is found from British Columbia south to California. The sooty grouse was called the blue grouse until 2006 when the blue grouse was split into two species, the sooty grouse and the dusky grouse. The dusky grouse is found in the Rocky Mountains, from the Southern Yukon and Northern British Columbia, south into northern Arizona and western New Mexico. The sooty grouse is found in bush areas in coastal rain forests, burned areas, mountain forests, and sub alpine forest clearings.
In warm months, the sooty grouse eats seeds, berries, and insects. In the winter, the sooty grouse eats conifer needles. Some sooty grouse are short distance migratory and, depending on where the food is, travel to either higher or lower elevations.
The California quail was first introduced to Vancouver Island in the 1880s and they increased in numbers for the next 70 yrs and were quite prevalent by the 50s, but then the numbers started to decrease. I would assume this is due to loss of habitat. They can still be found in open tracts of land surrounded by bush.
With its exotic plumage, and long streamer tail, there is no denying the aesthetic appeal of the ring necked pheasant. It is also highly regarded on the table, so it is no surprise that humans should attempt to keep them closer to hand. A native of Asia, the pheasant was first introduced to British Columbia in 1882. There have been many introductions in various parts of the province, with birds coming from England and China. Many of the introductions have failed, and today viable populations are found mainly in the Fraser Valley, Southeastern Vancouver Island up to Campbell River area, the Okanagan Valley, and the Creston and Salmon Arm areas. In some cases, the populations are augmented on a regular basis.
Northwestern crows are large black birds with long, solid bills. You can tell them apart from the common raven by their smaller size, slightly rounded tails and high pitched voices. The northwestern crow that lives on coast is an awesome bird to observe. You can see the intelligence in their eyes as they look at you. The northwestern crow is smaller than the closely related American crow and have huskier voices. Many birders believe that the northwestern crow is not a true species, but rather, a subspecies of the American crow. Northwestern crows are omnivorous and eat a diet of vegetation and animal life. They will eat land and marine creatures including fish, snakes, frogs, bird eggs.