[midvalleybirds] "Unalaskan" singers at E.E. Wilson Wildlife Area today

clearwater at peak.org clearwater at peak.org
Fri Mar 1 13:50:21 PST 2019

Some singers in today's bright sunshine -- Bewick's Wrens, Song Sparrows, White-breasted Nuthatches, and Pacific Chorus-Frogs -- could be called "un-Alaskan" just because they're year-round residents here in Oregon. 

However one singer that caught my attention, in the SW corner of E.E. Wilson Wildlife Area, was a SOOTY FOX SPARROW, part of the "unalaschcensis" group of Fox Sparrows, named for the island in the Aleutians now known as Unalaska. 

This is a song that we only get to hear occasionally, mainly during early spring before these birds migrate back to their breeding grounds far to the north. It's a complex jumble of staccato notes, hard to describe. But one phrase that tends to catch my ear, toward the end of the song, sounds somewhat like the "sweet-sweet-sweet, I-am-so-sweet" phrase of a Yellow Warbler. 

If you hear something that sounds vaguely like a Yellow Warbler this time of year, coming from a dense thicket, this is the number one suspect. 

Happy early spring (again), 

Joel Geier 
Camp Adair area north of Corvallis 

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