Birds of Camp Polk Meadow Preserve

Camp Polk Meadow Preserve is a birding hot spot! More than 160 different species can be seen in the Preserve’s wetlands, open meadows, pine forest, or streamside corridors. Here are some fun facts about fifteen birds you might see at the Preserve!


Camp Polk Meadow Preserve is a birding hot spot! More than 160 different species can be seen in the Preserve’s wetlands, open meadows, pine forest, or streamside corridors. Here are some fun facts about fifteen birds you might see at the Preserve, or you can download our full Camp Polk Meadow Preserve bird list.


American robin. Photo: Kris Kristovich.
American robin. Photo: Kris Kristovich.
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)

One of the most commonly seen birds! This red-breasted beauty lives in cities, farms, and open woodlands. It eats fruits and insects, and appears to “listen” to the ground when stalking earthworms!

Length: 9-16"
Most commonly seen: Year-round

 

 

Black-billed magpie. Photo: Marlin Konjte.
Black-billed magpie. Photo: Marlin Konjte.
Black-billed magpie (Pica hudsonia)

Large, noisy jay; mostly black with iridescent blue-green on back and wings. Found in open woodlands, prairie, and along streams. Eats berries, insects, carrion, and eggs. Can take up to 40 hours to build their nests

Length: 17.5-22"
Most commonly seen: Year-round

 

 

Calliope hummingbird. Photo: Jake Schas.
Calliope hummingbird. Photo: Jake Schas.
Calliope hummingbird (Selasphorus calliope)

Tiny, bright green hummingbird with bright purple throat. Found in meadows, canyons, and along streams. Feeds on flower nectar and insects. Smallest long-distance migrant in the world!

Length: 2.75-3.25"
Most commonly seen: March-May

 

  

Evening grosbeak. Photo: Krist Kristovich.
Evening grosbeak. Photo: Krist Kristovich.
Evening grosbeak (Coccothraustes)

This species with striking plumage migrates irregularly: choosing to stay in northern coniferous forests year-round, or migrate far south if northern cone crops are poor. In the West, these birds migrate to lower elevations in winter.

Length: 7.75-8.5"
Most commonly seen: August-May


 

Great horned owl. Photo: Krist Kristovich.
Great horned owl. Photo: Krist Kristovich.
Great horned owl (Bubo virginianus)

Large, dark-brown/grey-brown owl with distinctive ear tufts. Found in forested areas. Hunts small mammals at night and eats them whole. This predator flies silently and will occasionally eat other owls.

Length: 18-25"
Most commonly seen: Year-round

 

 

Mountain chickadee. Photo: Kris Kristovich.
Mountain chickadee. Photo: Kris Kristovich.
Mountain chickadee (Poecile gambeli)

Tiny and vocal, this bird sings its name, “chicka- dee-dee-dee!” You are likely to find them flocked up with pygmy nuthatches and ruby-crowned kinglets, flittering in evergreens, gleaning insects and small seeds

Length: 5-6"
Most commonly seen: Year-round

 

 

Northern flicker. Photo: Kris Kristovich.
Northern flicker. Photo: Kris Kristovich.
Northern flicker (Colaptes auratus)

Flickers are woodpeckers that make themselves known! If their beauty doesn’t grab you, their drumming on a stove pipe or sharp piercing call will. Look high and low as they also spend time foraging on the ground.

Length: 12.75-14"
Most commonly seen: Year-round 

 

 

Red-winged blackbird. Photo: Kris Kristovich.
Red-winged blackbird. Photo: Kris Kristovich.
Red-winged blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)

Male red-winged blackbirds are bright, iconic, and raucous dwellers of ponds and stream sides. Their female counterparts however, are brown, streaky, and shy. Identifying them can be tricky!

Length: 7.5-9.5"
Most commonly seen: March-November

 

 

Spotted towhee. Photo: John Williams.
Spotted towhee. Photo: John Williams.
Spotted towhee (Pipilo maculatus)

The distinctive coloring of this bird highlights its presence when singing from the tops of shrubs during the breeding season. This same plumage also helps it blend into the leaf litter when scratching for insects on the ground.

Length: 7-7.5"
Most commonly seen: March-November

 

 

Virginia rail. Photo: Kris Kristovich.
Virginia rail. Photo: Kris Kristovich.
Virginia rail (Rallus limicola)

Detection of this bird calls for patience and a good ear! Rails have striped plumage that helps them disappear in dense wetland plants. They are weak fliers, but strong legs help them run on floating vegetation.

Length: 9-10"
Most commonly seen: March-November

 

 

Western bluebird. Photo: Kris Kristovich.
Western bluebird. Photo: Kris Kristovich.
Western bluebird (Sialia mexicana)

Bluebirds are cavity nesters, raising their young in holes in trees. Many bird species compete for limited cavities. If you have a bluebird box, make sure non-native starlings haven’t moved in!

Length: 7-7.75"
Most commonly seen: March-May

 

 

White-headed woodpecker. Photo: Dick Tipton.
White-headed woodpecker. Photo: Dick Tipton.
White-headed woodpecker (Picoides albolarvatus)

These distinctive birds are declining in Oregon. They use mature ponderosa pines for foraging and snags for nesting. Since these pines are in short supply, we’ve created more at Camp Polk.

Length: 8.3-9.1"
Most commonly seen: Year-round

 

 

Wild turkey. Photo: John Williams.
Wild turkey. Photo: John Williams.
Wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo)

These large birds are non-native and were introduced to Oregon in the 1960’s for hunting. Look for turkeys flocked up, leisurely crossing the road between the Preserve and neighboring yards!

Length: 37-46"
Most commonly seen: March-November

 

 

Wilson's warbler. Photo: Kris Kristovich.
Wilson's warbler. Photo: Kris Kristovich.
Wilson's warbler (Cardellina pusilla)

One of the smallest warblers, this migratory species usually nests on or close to the ground. Look for them in the willows and alders, flicking their short tail. Their distinctive black cap is a helpful identifier.

Length: 3.9-4.75"
Most commonly seen: March-May, August-November

  
 

Yellow-rumped warbler. Photo: John Williams.
Yellow-rumped warbler. Photo: John Williams.
Yellow-rumped warbler (Setophaga cornata)

Most warbler species eat insects, but these strikingly colored warblers are able to digest wax-coated berries. This adaptation allows them to winter further north than other species.

Length: 4.7-5.5"
Most commonly seen: March-November

 

 

 

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