Date: 1/11/19 10:06 am
From: Wayne Weber <contopus...>
Subject: [obol] Re: Nice January walk in California? No, Polk County, Oregon
Oregon birders,

Nearly all the bird species mentioned by Joel and Harry are stereotypical California species-- species which breed through much or most of California, and have done at least since the earliest ornithological explorations. However, one of these, the Great-tailed Grackle, is a newcomer even to California. The first record of Great-tailed Grackle in California was in the Colorado River Valley in 1964. When I made my first visit to that part of California in 1970 (near Imperial Dam), I was highly surprised to find Great-tailed Grackles there. None of the bird-finding guides or standard ornithological references indicated that they should be there. This species has had a much bigger range expansion than the other ones mentioned.

The regular occurrence of Great-tailed Grackles in Oregon is quite recent—recent enough that I have not yet seen one in Oregon! It appears that they may be breeding in Malheur County in the southeast as well as in Jackson County. (Yes, I’ve seen GTGR both in BC and in Washington, but they sure don’t breed there!) One of my priorities for 2019 is to finally add GTGR to my Oregon state list.

All this just goes to emphasize how dynamic bird populations are, with never-ending changes in breeding (and wintering) ranges. There have been some major range contractions as well, such as Western Bluebird (disappeared from all of southwestern BC and much of western WA), California Condor, and Yellow-billed Cuckoo. The longer you watch birds, the more things change.

Wayne C. Weber

Delta, BC, Canada


From: <obol-bounce...> [mailto:<obol-bounce...>] On Behalf Of Harry Fuller
Sent: Friday, January 11, 2019 7:57 AM
To: <clearwater...>
Cc: Midvalley Birding Midvalley; OBOL
Subject: [obol] Re: Nice January walk in California? No, Polk County, Oregon

Other birds coming up from the south: Great-tailed Grackle now nest in Jackson County as do Mockingbirds and White-tailed Kites. The California Towhee, Wrentit and Oak Titmouse are well-established there as well as breeding BG Gnatcatchers...I suspect many of these species move up the coast first and then follow rivers inland...not coming over the 4300 foot high Siskiyou Pass...but once in the Rogue or Umpqua or Willamette Valley they should thrive. Nuttall's may have a harder time because it is highly dependent on oaks and cottonwoods, not common along the coast or in Siskiyou and Modoc Counties on the northern Cal border. THere is some suspicion but no proof yet that Cak Thrashers are also breeding in Jackson County. I am currently working on an update to a federal publication of 1975, Birds of Jackson County...two major trends stand out: 1) we know a hell of a lot more about birds there now (i.e. where the Great Grays and Spotted Owls nest), 2) several species have moved north and gotten established...I've seen Red-shouldered Hawks as high as 4500' elevation...Anna's Hummingbird in 1975 was considered a rare summer visitor, now males stay year round along with s few females who don't migrate out.

In 1975 there had been no record of even a sighting of Red-shoulder or kite in Jackson County!

On Fri, Jan 11, 2019 at 5:21 AM <clearwater...> wrote:

Hi all,

Yesterday afternoon I was out for a stroll through vineyards and and oak woods on a small winery between Dallas and Monmouth, in sunshine and pleasant 50 F temperatures.

A RED-SHOULDERED HAWK was sneaking around the woods along a small creek.

A BLACK PHOEBE was chirping and catching insects around the barn.

I heard ANNA'S HUMMINGBIRDS grinding away at their song, at three different spots along the walk.

Two or three decades ago, all three of these species were more associated with northern California and the southwest corner of Oregon. Now they are part of our regular local avifauna in the mid-Willamette Valley.

Turkey Vultures have also become a frequent though still uncommon sight on warm, sunny days in winter, and Acorn Woodpeckers colonies are widespread. We're still missing Nuttall's Woodpecker, Oak Titmouse, and California Towhee, at least for the time being.

Joel Geier
Camp Adair area north of Corvallis


Harry Fuller

author of: San Francisco's Natural History: Sand Dunes to Streetcars:

author of Great Gray Owls of CA-OR-WA:

author of Freeway Birding:
birding website:
my birding blog:

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