Around The Ranch

Origins of the Ranch Part LII

Origins of The Ranch

In Search of the Elusive Goatsucker: Birdwatching Over The Years At The Ranch
By Peter Jensen

Birdwatching at Rancho La Puerta has become a popular pastime, thanks to the leadership of guide Rob Larson as well as the many years when fitness instructor Joe Sweeney led the walks, his camera always at the ready.

Even longer ago, back in the 1980s, the de facto Ranch Naturalist was a fellow by the name of Jim Root (a good name for a natural history buff!). He compiled the following list back then, which we used for many years.

Here’s our challenge to all of you birdwatchers today, expert and wannabee’s: bring this almost-40-years-old list to the Ranch and see if you can spot a good number of these winged beauties today.

We’re convinced you will add significantly to your lists. Or start a new pastime. Despite the pressures of drought (alleviated by this winter’s deep, soaking storms), Rancho La Puerta has always been, and always will be, an oasis for migrating birds who like a little “spa-ing” during the long flight down the Pacific Flyway from the northern climes to Mexico, Central and South America.

Not to mention those species that stay year ‘round: after all, the weather’s great and the rent is low—they need only follow the local pecking order. Massages and facials, however, are not included.

 

VULTURES, HAWKS & EAGLES

Turkey Vulture
Cooper’s Hawk
Sharp-Shinned Hawk
Marsh Hawk
Red-Tailed HGawk
Red-Shouldered Hawk
Prairie Falcon*
American Kestrel
Black-Shouldered Kite
Golden Eagle

GAMEBIRDS

California Quail
Gambel’s Quail

HERONS & THEIR ALLIES

Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Black-Crowned Night Heron
Green Heron
Snowy Egret
Wood Stork*

SHOREBIRDS & GULLS

Western Gull*
Killdeer
PIGEONS & DOVES
Rock Dove
Mourning Dove
White-Winged Dove

ROADRUNNER

Greater Roadrunner

OWLS

Burrowing Owl*
Great Horned Owl
Barn Owl
Western Screech-Owl*

GOATSUCKERS

Common Poorwill
Common Nighthawk

SWALLOWS

Cliff Swallow
Tree Swallow

HUMMINGBIRDS

Anna’s Hummingbird
Costa’s Hummingbird
Rufous Hummingbird
Allen’s Hummingbird
Black-Chinned Hummingbird
Calliope Hummingbird

KINGFISHERS

Belted Kingfisher*

 

WOODPECKERS

Common Flicker (Red-Shafted)
Ladder-Backed Woodpecker
Nuttall’s Woodpecker
Acorn Woodpecker
Red-Breasted Sapsucker
Hairy Woodpecker*
Downy Woodpecker

KINGBIRDS, FLYCATCHERS & PHOEBES

Western Kingbird
Cassin’s Kingbird
Ash-Throated Flycatcher
Western Flycatcher
Black Phoebe
Say’s Phoebe

SWIFTS

White-Throated Swift

JAYS, CROWS & RAVENS

Scrub Jay
American Crow
Common Raven

CHICKADEES, TITMICE, BUSHTITS, WRENTITS & NUTHATCHES

Mountain Chickadee*
Plain Titmouse
Bushtit
Wrentit
White-Breasted Nuthatch*

WRENS

House Wren
Bewick’s Wren
Rock Wren
Winter Wren*
Cactus Wren*
Canyon Wren*

MOCKINGBIRDS & THRASHERS

Northern Mockingbird
California Thrasher
Crissal Thrasher

THRUSHES & BLUEBIRDS

American Robin
Hermit Thrush
Western Bluebird
Mountain Bluebird

KINGLETS & GNATCATCHERS

Ruby-Crowned Kinglet
Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher

WAXWINGS & SILKY FLYCATCHERS

Cedar Waxwing
Phainopepla

SHRIKES

Loggerhead Shrike

STARLINGS, OLD WORLD SPARROWS

European Starling
House Sparrow

VIREOS & WARBLERS

Hutton’s Vireo
Audubon’s Warbler
Wilson’s Warbler
Orange-Crowned Warbler
Yellow Warbler

BLACKBIRDS & ORIOLES

Western Meadowlark
Red-Winged Blackbird
Brewer’s Blackbird
Borwn-Headed Cowbird
Hooded Oriole
Northern Oriole (Bullock’s Race)
Scott’s Oriole
Streak-Backed Oriole*

TANAGERS

Western Tanager

GROSBEAKS, BUNTINGS & FINCHES

Northern Cardinal*
Black-Headed Grosbeak
Blue Grosbeak*
Indigo Bunting
Lazuli Bunting
House Finch
Purple Finch
Pine Siskin
American Goldfinch
Lesser Goldfinch
Lawrence’s Goldfinch*

TOWHEES

Rufous-Sided Towhee
Brown Towhee

SPARROWS & JUNCOS

White-Crowned Sparrow
Black-Throated Sparrow
Rufous-Crowned Sparrow
Sage Sparrow
Black-Chinned Sparrow
Fox Sparrow
Lark Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Golden-Crowned Sparrow

Dark-Eyed Junco (Slate-Colored and Oregon Races)

*Indicates casual or infrequent

 

 

 

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