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Vaux's Swifts are back in Rainier, Oregon

Here are some updates for the first May weekend:

Friday: 4220
Saturday: 5790
Sunday: 4040


1900 Vaux’s Swifts roosted Monday, April 26th, night at the Riverside Community Church in Rainier. Check it out an hour before sunset and say Hi to Terri Williams and Carolyn Norred, who are monitoring the chimney. This is the third successive night that swifts have occupied the chimney this month during the northward migration. Tens of thousands more will stop in during the next five or six weeks. And Terri Williams also observed 4 pelicans, and one turkey vulture that passed over.

Birding Classes at LCC (open to all)

Lower Columbia College is offering two bird related classes in the spring of 2021. Classes are open to all and cost a fee that varies with the class.

Beginning Birdwatching class

This class will include one optional field trip to introduce participants to the basics of bird identification and bird watching. It will cover topics such as choosing binoculars, field guides, websites, birding books, software and apps, nearby places to watch birds, birding ethics, and bird feeding. Participants will learn how to identify at least 50 common birds.

Owls of the Northwest class.

This class will discuss some of the fascinating adaptions that owls have that allow them to find prey in the dark and  you will learn about owl biology and natural history and how to identify Northwest Owls.  

Both will be meet over Zoom and are taught by Carlo Abbruzzese. 


Spring 2021 Whistler is online

The Spring 2021 Whistler is available now.

Click to Download the pdf


Read more of its content: 

  • President message: Time for Renewal, Again
  • Membership Form/regional Bird Festival info
  • Wahkiakum CBC Results
  • Leadbetter CBC Results
  • Leave bird feeders down until April 1 to protect birds from salmonellosis
  • 37th Cowlitz-Columbia CBC Results
  • Midwinter Bald Eagle Survey
  • Creating Bird-Friendly Communities - Lights Out




Winter lessons for middle school grade

The Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife has a program that provides lessons focused on the interactions between humans and wildlife for students in 6th - 8th grade.

“Counting Birds for Science”  takes learners into the world of birding and community science. Students explore sighting numbers from the Audubon’s Christmas Bird Count, and gather, graph, and analyze data about birds in their area.

This lesson emphasizes the importance of community science for gathering and recording large amounts of data and observing long-term trends. Educators have the option of birding as a one-time lesson or to gather data over time for a more robust student experience. Though the lesson highlights the Christmas Bird Count, the lesson could also be taught in the spring or fall.  

The lesson is aligned with Common Core State Standards in math and Next Generation Science Standards in life science. Students record, graph, and analyze data and identify trends based on resource availability and interactions with other species. 

"Trafficking Wildlife"  lets students explore the  multi-billion dollar, illegal industry of wildlife trafficking. 

Students take the roles of WDFW detectives and enforcement officers who work to protect regional and international wildlife. Teachers and parents can choose to include a career profile of a WDFW detective. Students read two cases studies of wildlife trafficking in Washington and create their own project informing their community how they can avoid supporting wildlife trafficking practices and help promote the sustainability of wildlife populations.

The lesson encourages critical thinking skills and is rooted in Next Generation Science Standards in life science, as well as Common Core State Standards in writing, and an Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction environment and sustainability standard. 

Details are available on the WDFW website.

Help protect wild birds from deadly salmonellosis

Below is a message from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to anyone using backyard bird feeders. More information here.

Recent reports of sick or dead birds at backyard feeders in King, Kitsap, Skagit, Snohomish, and Thurston counties is prompting the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) to recommend that people temporarily discontinue feeding wild birds or take extra steps to maintain their feeders.

The current die-off of finches- such as pine siskins- as well as other songbirds, is attributed to salmonellosis, a common and usually fatal bird disease caused by the salmonella bacteria, according to WDFW veterinarian Kristin Mansfield.

"When birds flock together in large numbers at feeders, they can transmit the disease through droppings and saliva,” said Mansfield.

The spread of the disease this winter could be exacerbated by what appears to be an “irruption” of winter-roaming finches- an anomaly where finches and other species that generally winter in the boreal forest in Canada and the far north move south and are spotted in areas in larger numbers than non-irruption years. (More information on irruption is available from this National Audubon Society website.)

“The first indication of the disease for bird watchers to look for is often a seemingly tame bird on or near a feeder. The birds become very lethargic, fluff out their feathers, and are easy to approach. This kind of behavior is generally uncommon to birds,” Mansfield said. "Unfortunately, at this point there is very little people can do to treat them. The best course it to leave the birds alone.”

Members of the public can help to stop the spread of salmonellosis by discontinuing backyard bird feeding until

Read more: Help protect wild birds from deadly salmonellosis

Video of a Barn Owl exiting a building

Mary Duvall, a volunteer for the Cowlitz-Columbia Christmas Bird Count on Jan. 1, 2021, took this video of a Barn Owl exiting the barn at the Whipple Tree Farm east of Clatskanie while Darrel Whipple was entering the other end of the building.


Winter 2020 Whistler is online

The Winter 2020 Whistler is available now.

Click to Download the pdf


Read more of its content: 

  • President message: A Chant at Solstice
  • Christmas Bird Count are on - see the dates
  • Membership Form/regional Bird Festival info
  • Children’s Discovery Museum: Discovering a Wonderful World during Covid19
  • A quarter-million swifts roosted in Rainier!







Upcoming Events

Aug 14;
WHAS Annual Picnic
Sep 10-11;
Puget Sound Bird Fest
Sep 23-25;
Wings over Willapa Festival
Oct 08;
Board Meeting