Recent birds in three parts.

Part 1.  Chickadees.

Let's begin with the chickadees that are nesting in my front yard.  I was super psyched when I noticed they had returned and were spending their days dragging moss and dog hair into the house they used last year. 


They were busy for awhile, then a few weeks ago I realized I wasn't seeing them near the house as much.  I thought maybe the House Sparrows had been too annoying for them or they found a better house somewhere else.  Last week I came home from work and found the house on the ground.  Assuming they had abandoned it anyway I opened the side door to see what was going on.

Oh!  I guess they did not abandon it after all.  I quickly rehung the house and the parents returned immediately to check on their babies.  Since then I have seen them delivering food every day to these little turkeys.


Using Julie Zickefoose's Baby Birds as a reference I believe the nestlings were four days old when the house fell on the ground, so it should be another week before they fledge.  Fingers crossed!

Side note:  I didn't think I was much interested in that Baby Birds book, but we had it at work and I kept getting sucked in so I finally just bought it yesterday.  The artwork is great of course, but the story-telling is even better.

Part 2. Deer

This weekend Audrey and I had plans to hike around Larch Mountain in search of grouse and Hermit Warblers and all those fun mountain birds.   On the drive up we made it as far as milepost 4 when a deer appeared in the road and I hit it.  This was not a good start to a day. 

We got out to see what the deer did and found it had crawled into some blackberries, unable to walk but still breathing.  Ughhhhhhhhhhh.  It was 5:45 a.m. on a Saturday and it took us a bit to figure out who to call.  Eventually I called non-emergency and they were very helpful and said they would send a deputy out.

While we waited we looked at the car damage, watched Warbling Vireos and White-crowned Sparrows, listened to Band-tailed Pigeons, and hoped the deputy was actually going to show up.

Finally a sheriff from Troutdale who looked, as Audrey commented, like a Ken doll, arrived.  He checked out the deer, said he would have to shoot it, and asked us to leave before he did.   As we drove down the road I heard the shot.  RIP, deer.

Audrey suggested doing something to honor the deer, which I thought was a nice idea, and so I made a donation to Oregon Wild in its memory.

With all this bad luck on Larch Mountain we decided to change plans and go bird the Sandy River Delta instead. 

Bunnies are mellow

We barely made it to the meadow when a German shepherd charged at us barking like it wanted to kill us.  Its owner appeared and called it back, then it did it again.  Ugh.  This day was stressful enough without dogs trying to eat us.

Things calmed down and we walked out to the flooded area, rerouted through the trees to another trail, stopping to admire orioles and warblers and buntings and hummingbirds and all that.  At one point we stopped at a random spot and I lifted my bins to look at an even more random shrub.  A little bit of peachy orange caught my eye.  Was it a robin on a nest?  A grosbeak? 

There was a little animal trail nearby that we thought might offer a better view. 

Holy shit.  We just stumbled upon a young Northern Saw-whet Owl in an extremely popular park.  So many questions like is this post-breeding dispersal or did they actually nest in a cottonwood forest with no conifers in sight?   It seems very unlikely that they would nest here with all the dogs and humans.

So sweepy

I returned a couple days later and found no evidence of this owl.  I think we got really lucky that morning.  After the owl we kept birding and finally found a Yellow-breasted Chat wayyyy out in the distance and tons of more accommodating Lazuli Buntings.

What a weird day that was. 

Part 3.  Beach.

Last Friday Jacob and I headed to the coast to hopefully find some Red Phalaropes in breeding plumage as had been reported a couple days earlier.  We hit up Sunset Beach and Fort Stevens where there were no phalaropes anywhere.  Oh well.  We had other fun stuff.


 Sanderlings mostly

 Plover undercover

Plover sin cover

 Jacob spotted this Parasitic Jaeger way out over the ocean:

Jacob vs Sanderlings

 Caspian Terns 

That's about it!  Good times!


  1. You built up some serious karma all in one day. Sorry about the deer (and your car... go team Subaru), but glad to see you cashed it in with that crazy owl!

    1. My luck this spring has been ridiculous! I'll probably only have pictures of house sparrows to post for the rest of the year to balance things out.

  2. The minibill on that WHIM is humorous. Sick LAZB shots, better than anything I have. The electric blue on el macho has an especially charged cripple to it.

    What if people got tattoos of all the shit that hit with their cars? I would have some awesome mountain kingsnake ink. God that sucked. I think the only bird I've knowingly slain with vehicle is MODO.

    Munnies are bellow.

    1. I would be covered in butterfly tattoos, with one ground squirrel and a barn swallow. And now a deer. Maybe that's how swallow and butterfly tattoos got so popular... Hmm...

  3. SO sorry about the deer, and your car. I know it was not easy to deal with. You def got some good to come your way later tho... with the N Saw-whet and a totally electric almost neon Blue Lazuli. I hit a northern cardinal once with my car...he crashed into me, I went back retrieved his body and gave him a proper burial...but man it was a tear jerking funeral as it was nesting season. I know he had a family waiting at home.

    1. Aw, that's rough indeed. I was definitely worried about the deer's family but we didn't see any others nearby.

  4. Wow. So many ups and downs. I love the idea of making a donation to Oregon Wild in honor of the deer. Sounds like you made the best of an awful situation.
    You found that Saw-whet at Sandy River Delta?! WTF!? Please teach me your bird-whispering ways!

    1. Serious wtf moment. Nothing makes sense anymore.

  5. Well talk about an adventure, or misadventure depending on your point of view, LOL. but what a wasted opportunity, you could have filled your freezer with what you could have got off that deer.
    The bird photos are brill by the way, take care, Gordon.

  6. Wow, what a day of birding... hitting a deer, a near life and death experience with a German Shepherd... and then wow a young Saw-whet Owl. So many highs and lows! Makes for entertaining reading, keep the stories coming :)

  7. Not that I'm suggested hitting a deer again. That must have been awful!


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