Birds by the Billions: A Guide to Spring’s Avian Parade

At Washington’s Long Beach Peninsula, for example, which abuts Willapa National Wildlife Refuge and Willapa Bay, you may catch sight of a pelagic species like a sooty shearwater, whereas tons of of hundreds of shorebirds like black-bellied plovers work the moist sand. If you’re extraordinarily fortunate, you may see an enigmatic marbled murrelet in an historic Western pink cedar, a seabird that solely nests in mossy old-growth bushes.

Meanwhile, red-winged blackbirds and purple martins flock to Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge on the Columbia River. Greater sage-grouse collect close to Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge. Grebes, a red-eyed, black-and-white relative to the flamingo, come to the Klamath Basin close to Klamath Falls, Ore., to carry out mating spectacles that embrace a splashy, synchronous “rush” of flightless working throughout the water.

“Spring is always so fun because we get all the migrants back,” mentioned Jackie Ferrier, a venture chief in Washington’s Willapa National Wildlife Refuge Complex. “I mean swallows, ospreys, woodpeckers, warblers, turkey vultures. People think, ah, turkey vultures, but I get excited to see them every year.”

Dianne Fuller can relate. After an extended profession in nursing, Ms. Fuller retired on Loomis Lake on Washington’s Long Beach Peninsula. Now 73, she’s been birding since she was 20.

Come spring, there’s no place she’d quite be than strolling the early morning dunes or paddling the flat water in a kayak and mentioning the kingfishers to her miniature Australian shepherd, Beau, who stows aboard.

“Medicine is like detective work and it’s the same thing with birds,” Ms. Fuller mentioned. “If you really watch them, study the length of the bill, the size of the feet, the shape of the wing, suddenly you realize this bird is filling some niche in this part of the world, and it’s just amazing.” TIM NEVILLE

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