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Grays Harbor Birds — White-crowned Sparrow

The White-crowned Sparrow is a true bird of the Pacific Northwest, residing here year-round, and considered one of the most common and abundant sparrows of Washington. Here in Grays Harbor, we most often see the subspecies pugetensis, foraging with other White-crowned Sparrows, but also mixing with Golden-crowned, Fox, and Song Sparrows.

Grays Harbor Birds — Bald Eagle

For those of you keeping track of the birds in this column, you’re probably saying, “Hey, didn’t you just do a piece on the Bald Eagle?” And you would be right … I did. But, I am doing so again to make a point. I get asked several times a year about Golden Eagles out on the beach, and while I have learned never to say never, we just don’t see Golden Eagles in Grays Harbor County.

Grays Harbor Birds — Northern Shrike

The Latin name of the Northern Shrike means “butcher watchman,” but don’t cue the scary music yet; this bird only targets smaller birds and mammals. Still, with that sort of a name, this bird makes an interesting subject of study. Unfortunately I have yet to see one in my neighborhood, so have to depend on the tales of those who have seen at least one. This photo by Gregg Thompson shows how intently the bird concentrates.

Grays Harbor Birds - Hermit Thrush

The Hermit Thrush is one of three spot-breasted thrushes that makes its home in Grays Harbor, and if you see one of the three in winter, more than likely it is a Hermit Thrush. It is one of the most widely distributed forest-nesting migratory birds in North America and the only forest thrush whose population has remained stable over the past 20 years. Most who know this bird talk about its ethereal song; it can be heard at this web site http://birdweb.org/birdweb/bird/hermit_thrush

Grays Harbor Birds — Long-eared Owl

From time-to-time, I stray from the path of Grays Harbor Birds to show something out of the ordinary, remarkable, or just plain interesting. This qualifies, but the possibility is we may yet see this bird in our neck of the woods. There are changes taking place in the traditional habitats, and there are exciting discoveries being made, drawing large crowds to observe the unusual. Gregg Thompson found and photographed two of these visitors to the west side of the Cascades. Now if we can just convince them to try our woods, I bet they would stay.