WEST SEATTLE BIRDS: Photos, and warnings

David Hutchinson‘s view of a Great Blue Heron nesting on Pigeon Point gives wing to a warning as we start this gallery of bird photos contributed by West Seattle photographer/birdwatchers. The warning actually comes from Trileigh Tucker, along with this photo of a Killdeer:

She told us:

Yesterday’s low tide brought a nice encounter with a Killdeer, who posed for some portraits. But it also reminded me to ask folks to please be especially careful this time of year, on dry gravelly areas above high tide. From the sounds these killdeer were making, I could tell there was a nest nearby. (Photos are with a long zoom lens.) These nests are just shallow scrapes in gravel and very vulnerable to being accidentally kicked or purposefully harassed by crows and other predators. They can also be very difficult to see if you’re walking nearby.

So if people hear a Killdeer calling loudly, back off. And if you see one displaying its orange back and looking injured, it’s actually trying to distract you from a nearby nest—you should back far away as quickly as possible. Don’t try to “help” it.

The nesting alert covers many birds … whether you’re exploring the beach or the forest or doing work in a yard. Here’s a nesting Bushtit photographed by Mark Wangerin:

Back to shorebirds – here’s a Gull with a skate, photographed by Mark MacDonald at Alki:

Also with a snack, a Caspian Tern photographed by Kersti Muul:

She notes that the terns returned right on schedule, two weeks ago. (You’ve probably heard their raspy call.) Which leads us to another warning/reminder: As noted here on Friday night, it’s migration time for millions of birds. Tonight thousands are expected to fly over Seattle. Do them a favor and leave your outdoor lights off. As for the birds who are already here – Vlad Oustimovitch got a bird-bath visit from a Cooper’s Hawk:

Swimming in a somewhat larger body of water – Seola Pond – this baby waterfowl photographed by Jim Clark:

Seen in saltwater, Pigeon GuillemotsLawrence Heeren sent the photo:

Two from Gentle McGaughey – a Bewick’s Wren:

And a Song Sparrow:

Also singing, a White-crowned Sparrow photographed by Cindy Roberts:

And last but by no means least, West Seattle’s famous Bald Eagle “Bey” demonstrating, as photographer Jerry Simmons described it, “air superiority”:

Thanks to everyone for continuing to share photos of local birds and other interesting sightings – westseattleblog@gmail.com any time!

16 Replies to "WEST SEATTLE BIRDS: Photos, and warnings"

  • Ed May 2, 2021 (7:09 pm)

    The Seagull with the ray on beak- Ummmm yeah I got my mask. Chill. Hahaha great pics 

  • angelescrest May 2, 2021 (7:37 pm)

    Thank you so much for sharing these!  I feel so lucky to live here.  The mornings have been an amazing song fest lately.

  • Elaine May 2, 2021 (7:37 pm)

    Thanks for the amazing photos and the warnings about nesting birds. 

  • justme May 2, 2021 (8:08 pm)

    Great photos! We’ve got a chickadee nest right on our front porch. Eggs just hatched but looks like only one survived. We had to dispose of one that must have gotten kicked out. We try to go in and out of the house as gently as possible and sometimes she tolerates us without leaving her nest. Today I was able to watch her feed one of the babies by dropping a worm into the tiny little open mouth sticking up above the edge of the nest. I’m wondering when it comes time for the baby/babies to fly off, if we can dispose of the nest so I can clean up the mess. I hate the thought of throwing it away but it doesn’t seem to be a very safe place to come back to year after year. If they do that sort of thing.

    • anonyme May 3, 2021 (7:04 am)

      Most birds do not return to old nests.  They build a new one each year.  You can dispose of that one, or save it for decorative purposes!  Nesting boxes should be cleaned out each season.  There’s nothing quite as rewarding as watching a little bird family hatch, fledge, and fly away.  My biggest concern right now is cats.  BTW, did Bey ever reconnect with her mate?

  • Sunflower May 2, 2021 (8:44 pm)

    Love seeing all the birds, and learning more! And, happy to see Bey is flying well 💛🙏

    We have a couple spotted towhees nesting nearby, but finding it’s hard to photograph them quickly. Any tips photographers?

  • D May 2, 2021 (11:59 pm)

    Thanks for sharing WSB!

  • Peter Rimbey May 3, 2021 (8:29 am)

    Amazing photographs! Thank you all for sharing.

  • Blinkyjoe May 3, 2021 (8:34 am)

    Just wonderful. We live in a pretty cool place!

  • Ann May 3, 2021 (11:17 am)

    Believe the Seola pond duckling is a Mallard – just a week or two old.   (Beautiful light, btw!) All these photos are terrific and each exposes a wondrous moment in their mostly secret lives.. Thanks to all the photogs who took the time / had the patience to get these – and for posting.

  • Rick May 3, 2021 (1:23 pm)

    Is Seola pond Lake Hicks?

  • Birds on the brain May 3, 2021 (4:51 pm)

    We have a chickadee nest on the ground by our lawn with some babies just hatched – I wondered why I was getting “scolded” and dive-bombed while I was trying to weed a bit yesterday until I finally saw it under some tall grass.  Grow little birdies, grow!Is it cool to put out bird feeders yet without fear of spreading disease?  I’d love to have them back but no interest in the regular cleaning and sanitizing that was the last guidance I saw a while back.

    • waikikigirl May 3, 2021 (5:17 pm)

      Birds on the brain, Can you put up a make-shift fence or some other kind of protection for those babies??? Hate to see their demise to a neighbors cat!

      • Birds on the brain May 3, 2021 (7:22 pm)

        Hi waikikigirl, good idea.  I pondered that as well. It would be interesting to see if momma chickadee would let me get close enough without risking getting my eyes pecked out.  The other day I’m pretty sure she called in reinforcements to protect that nest even – felt like I was staring down a whole gang of toughs after I got too close!

    • anonyme May 5, 2021 (12:44 pm)

      Strange, chickadees are not ground-nesting birds.  Are you sure they’re chickadees?  I wonder if their nest was knocked down?  Whatever they are, that’s a great idea to put up a shelter.  The babies will be hard to contain once they fledge, but at least they’ll have a better chance.  BTW, the lights out alert for migrating birds is still in effect.  The highest numbers were last night, but it is still a good idea in general to use as little artificial lighting as possible.

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