Biking Birder Blog

by Aaron Viducich

It was something that Sara said to me a while ago that got me thinking.  She commented, “it’s interesting how you always remember a place that you have been by remembering a bird that you saw there”. I didn’t pay much thought to the remark, but later the significance of it donned on me. Yes this blog is going to be about birds, but don’t be scared away if you don’t know the difference between a Yellow-billed Magpie and a Ruby-crowned Kinglet, this story is about how I relate the world I’m experiencing with the creatures that are inhabiting it. I will however, include a trip bird list at the end for any fellow bird nerds.

the unbird

Aaron studies a less-than-real bird

Biking is a perfect way for me to travel and birdwatch at the same time. We move slow enough so that I can see the occasional bird in a roadside thicket, but even more importantly at biking pace I can hear many of the birds that are close to the road. It being springtime right now, the birds have a lot to say. We commonly stop at creeks and rivers (typically good bird habitat) and camp outside most nights. I have even heard a few owls!

For me, learning the local birds and occasionally getting a glimpse of their behavior is a great way to better understand the habitat that I am experiencing.  Birds become an avenue for me to learn about new places, and to learn new things about old places. I am always keeping my eyes open and my ears listening for birds, so it keeps me paying attention to all the things that are going on around me. This is where Sara’s comment comes into play. Because birds are such an important part of how I paint the pictures that become my memories, birds are a big part of how I recall places I have visited. Birds provide me with a constant source of things to learn, whether it’s a fresh habitat with all new birds, or I’m tracking down an elusive bird in a familiar place, they keep me on my toes. That is one of the things that attracted me to birding in the first place and now it seems that the more I learn, the more I realize that I don’t know much at all, and I find that exciting.

The trip has been great so far. We have traveled through some vastly different habitats. The trip started in the Pacific Northwest, where a lot of the birds are very familiar to me. The ferry brought us through the inside passage where I was lucky enough to spot a few fast flying sea birds. Now as we are pedaling south through the Boreal forests of Alaska and Canada, the birds are keeping me busy.  So far on this trip I have seen several species of birds that I have never seen before. As we head into the Rocky mountains, then down into the great plains and eastward, the list will grow as will my appreciation and understanding of the places we pass through.

Bike49’s Birdlist as of 7.5.2010

Common Loon

Western Grebe

Leach’s Storm-petrel

Clark’s Grebe

Horned Grebe

Brown Pelican

Pelagic Cormorant

Double-crested Cormorant

American Bittern

Great Blue Heron

Great Egret

Tundra Swan

Common Goldeneye

Wood Duck

Mallard

Gadwall

American Widgen

Northern Shoveler

Lesser Scaup

Ring-neck Duck

Surf Scoter

Canada Goose

Bufflehead

Common Merganser

Hooded Merganser

Ruddy Duck

Turkey Vulture

Bald Eagle

Osprey

Northern Harrier

White-tailed Kite

Cooper’s Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-shouldered Hawk

American Kestrel

Peregrine Falcon

Ruffed Grouse

Spruce Grouse

California Quail

Wild Turkey

Willow Ptarmigan

American Coot

Killdeer

Black Oystercatcher

Lesser Yellowlegs

Solitary Sandpiper

Spotted Sandpiper

Whimbrel

Wilson’s Snipe

Mew Gull

Ring-billed Gull

Bonaparte’s Gull

California Gull

Herring Gull

Glaucous-winged Gull

Western Gull

Arctic Tern

Common Murre

Pigeon Guillemot

Marbled Murrelet

Ancient Murrelet

Rhinocerous Auklet

Tufted Puffin

Rock Dove

Western Screech-Owl

Great-horned Owl

Northern Saw-whet Owl

Common Nighthawk

Belted Kingfisher

Vaux’s Swift

White-throated Swift

Black Swift

Anna’s Hummingbird

Rufous Hummingbird

Acorn Woodpecker

Nuttall’s Woodpecker

Hairy Woodpecker

Red-breasted Sapsucker

Northern Flicker

Olive-sided Flycatcher

Western Wood-pewee

Pacific-slope Flycatcher

Black Phoebe

Hutton’s Vireo

Casin’s Vireo

Warbling Vireo

Steller’s Jay

Western Scrub-jay

Gray Jay

Yellow-billed Magpie

American Crow

Common Raven

Barn Swallow

Cliff Swallow

Violet-green Swallow

Tree Swallow

Oak Titmouse

Black-capped Chickadee

Bush Tit

White-breasted Nuthatch

Red-breasted Nuthatch

Brown Creeper

Pygmy Nuthatch

Bewick’s Wren

Winter Wren

Wrentit

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Varied Thrush

American Robin

Veery

Swainson’s Thrush

Hermit Thrush

Northern Mockingbird

Bohemian Waxwing

Cedar Waxwing

Orange-crowned Warbler

Yellow Warbler

Townsend’s Warbler

Common Yellowthroat

Wilson’s Warbler

Western Tanager

Black-headed Grosbeak

Spotted Towhee

Chipping Sparrow

Song Sparrow

Fox Sparrow

Savannah Sparrow

Dark-eyed Junco

White-crowned Sparrow

Golden-crowned Sparrow

White-throated Sparrow

Bullock’s Oriole

Western Meadowlark

Red-winged Blackbird

Brewer’s Blackbird

Brown-headed Cowbird

Red Crossbill

White-winged Crossbill

Pine Grosbeak

House Finch

Pine Siskin

American Goldfinch

Lesser Goldfinch

Evening Grosbeak

House Sparrow

European Starling

American Redstart

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