My meagre list of birds …

Over the holidays, I purchased the iBird Explorer PRO app for my iPhone and have been having a lot of fun with it. One of its many features allows the user to keep a list of favourite birds, which I’m using to keep track of the birds I’ve positively identified in the wild. Here is my meagre list so far:

American Dipper
American Robin
Anna’s Hummingbird
Bald Eagle
Barn Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
Canada Goose
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Common Loon
Common Raven
Dark-eyed Junco
Dusky/Sooty Grouse
Glaucous-winged Gull
Gray Jay
Great Blue Heron
House Finch
Mallard
Northern Flicker
Northwestern Crow
Osprey
Red-winged Blackbird
Rock Pigeon
Rufous Hummingbird
Spruce Grouse
Steller’s Jay
Trumpeter Swan
Varied Thrush
Winter Wren
American Dipper
The first bird I identified with the app was this American Dipper my wife and I spotted feeding along the edge of Rolley Lake.

One warning though, listening to the various bird calls and songs included in the app may drive your dog batty. Best not used indoors!

4 Responses to “My meagre list of birds …”


  • That’s a great list – I’m very impressed! One visitor we
    used to get frequently to our bird feeder at the house was the
    brown-headed cowbird, a greedy, rude bird roughly the size of the
    red-winged blackbird, with very nasty nesting habits. Maybe it is
    seasonal; bet it will be added to your list in the near future. 🙂
    There are also several types of gulls in the harbour area of
    Vancouver – herring gulls come to mind in addition to the
    glaucous-winged gulls you already have on your list – but they
    might not get out this far from Burrard Inlet. But really, I can’t
    think of any other birds in this area that aren’t on your list.
    Excellent observations, excellent purchase. Poor Jaco,
    though!

  • Additional data: I’ve been thinking up more “birds I have
    known”. I forgot to mention all those seasonal shorebirds I have
    seen, mostly on Gulf and Vancouver Islands, but also at Tsawwassen
    and Ladner shorelines: plovers, sandpipers, phalaropes, dunlins,
    curlews, oystercatchers. Then there’s the western bluebird which,
    if you get far enough into the interior, is staging a small
    comeback thanks to the natural history amateurs who have been
    supplying nesting boxes for the past bunch of years, and monitoring
    them. My 90-year-old uncle was involved in that project, and
    happily points out the boxes he has vetted as we drive through the
    countryside. And you’ve probably seen a zillion red-tailed hawks,
    since they are really common in farm areas, and a few other hawks
    and diurnal owls can be seen locally. So, more to add to your list
    as the year moves along through the seasons. It will be very
    interesting to compare this New Year’s list, which is amazing in
    its variety, to next New Year’s list.

    • Hi Iris,

      Thanks for the comments. I know I’ve seen other birds about too, particularly down at Blackie Spit, but my vague memory and general unobservant state has left me less than 100 per cent certain about adding them to the list. We also have a Yellow Warbler that comes about, but I’m not sure. It may be an American Goldfinch. I hope to get a better look next time. I think we’ve also had a Swainson’s Thrush in the backyard last year, but I’m not sure. One bird, however, I forgot to add to the list is the European Starling.

      • Oh, goodness, of course! My memory has more spaces than content these day, it seems.

        I seem to recall seeing the odd Goldfinch years back, but no Warblers come to mind. Oh, and Nighthawks are still about, I’m sure.

        And you are so right about the European Starling – they’re everywhere! They were, I think, a relatively recent introduction to the West Coast since I don’t recall them from decades back. Haven’t seen any Crested Mynas (we called them Japanese Starlings too) lately, though I remember them being hugely prevalent in Vancouver when I was growing up. Oddly enough, they seem to have pretty much disappeared around the time the European Starling showed up…perhaps they were competing for the same habitat and all.

        So you got me curious. Here’s what I found about Mynas:
        http://www.dailybust.com/ANALYSIS-OF-STARLING-AND-MYNA-MOVEMENTS-IN-THE-PACIFIC-NORTHWEST.html
        “Crested Mynas were introduced to the northwest in 1897 at Vancouver, B.C. The entire North American population originated presumably from only 1 or 2 pairs of birds which escaped while part of a shipment of caged birds from Hong Kong was being unloaded (Cummings, 1925).”

        Then I found this under the Reifel Bird Sanctuary section at:
        http://www.wildbirds.com/FindBirds/CanadianProvinceInformation/BritishColumbiaBirding/tabid/179/Default.aspx
        “The last Crested Myna, an Asian bird temporarily established here, died in 2003.”

        Then I found this about the European Starling:
        http://www.seattleaudubon.org/sas/LearnAboutBirds/SeasonalFacts/EuropeanStarling.aspx
        “It is hard to imagine now, but European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) were purposefully introduced from Europe into this country. After two failed attempts, about 60 European starlings were released into New York’s Central Park in 1890 by a small group of people with a passion to introduce all of the animals mentioned in the works of William Shakespeare. The offspring of the original 60 starlings have spread across the continental United States, northward to southern Canada and Alaska, and southward into Central America. There are now an estimated 150 million starlings in the United States.
        “In 1889 and 1892, the Portland Song Bird Club released 35 pairs of starlings in Portland, Oregon. These birds established themselves, but then disappeared in 1901 or 1902. The next sighting of a starling in the Pacific Northwest was not until the mid 1940s. Presumably these birds could be genetically linked to the 1890 Central Park introduction.”

        So my recollection of Mynas was valid after all. Too bad they got squeezed out in a way; they had an incredible range of calls and copy-cat sounds far beyond most birds (I think that’s why they were pets in the Orient). They were also striking in appearance, glossy black with a little crest, and a white band on the wing that showed when they were in flight.

        I’ve wondered the odd time why I never see a Myna anymore so now I know. Thanks for leading me on a detecting trail.

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