Birdwatching & Wildlife Viewing
December is a good time to view ducks and geese on the Upper Columbia as advancing winter conditions move more waterfowl into areas where big water is still open and grain fields provide forage.
Although conditions have not yet allowed a good aerial survey, ducks and geese are virtually everywhere with windy conditions, said Rich Finger, a WDFW district wildlife biologist.
Backyard winter bird feeding stations throughout the region are in full swing now and “armchair birders” are reporting all the usual diners at their spreads – black-capped and mountain chickadees; house and Cassin’s finches; red-breasted, white-breasted and pygmy nuthatches; downy and hairy woodpeckers; northern flickers; dark-eyed juncos; and American goldfinches. Backyard birders are reminded to keep bird feeding stations clean to avoid spreading disease and to locate feeders to minimize predation by domestic cats.
Local Audubon Chapters
Many local Audubon chapters conduct pre-count field trips this month to hone bird identification skills and prepare for official counts. Some of the counts allow backyard birders whose properties lie within the count parameters to be a part of the tally, too. Six CBCs are conducted in this region, open to participation by contacting the coordinators listed here by area and count dates:
- Bridgeport, Dec. 20; Meredith Spencer, 509-686-755, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Chelan, Dec. 27; Steve Easley, 509-682-2318, email@example.com
- Omak-Okanogan, Jan. 3; Heather Findlay, 509-429-8167, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Twisp, Dec. 14; Art Campbell, 509-996-8168, email@example.com
- Wenatchee, Jan. 3; Dan Stephens, DStephens@wvc.edu
All birdwatchers are encouraged to report species observations at the newly-launched, inter-agency, cooperative on-line reporting system. WDFW wildlife biologists will be using bird data provided by citizens through “eBird” to support future range mapping, distribution modeling, and status and trend assessments.