Bikin' Bird Nerd

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.

 Aaron studies a less-than-real bird

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

  1. Common Loon
  2. Western Grebe
  3. Leach’s Storm-petrel
  4. Clark’s Grebe
  5. Horned Grebe
  6. Brown Pelican
  7. Pelagic Cormorant
  8. Double-crested Cormorant
  9. American Bittern
  10. Great Blue Heron
  11. Great Egret
  12. Tundra Swan
  13. Common Goldeneye
  14. Wood Duck
  15. Mallard
  16. Gadwall
  17. American Widgen
  18. Northern Shoveler
  19. Lesser Scaup
  20. Ring-neck Duck
  21. Surf Scoter
  22. Canada Goose
  23. Bufflehead
  24. Common Merganser
  25. Hooded Merganser
  26. Ruddy Duck
  27. Turkey Vulture
  28. Bald Eagle
  29. Osprey
  30. Northern Harrier
  31. White-tailed Kite
  32. Cooper’s Hawk
  33. Red-tailed Hawk
  34. Red-shouldered Hawk
  35. American Kestrel
  36. Peregrine Falcon
  37. Ruffed Grouse
  38. Spruce Grouse
  39. California Quail
  40. Wild Turkey
  41. Willow Ptarmigan
  42. American Coot
  43. Killdeer
  44. Black Oystercatcher
  45. Lesser Yellowlegs
  46. Solitary Sandpiper
  47. Spotted Sandpiper
  48. Whimbrel
  49. Wilson’s Snipe
  50. Mew Gull
  51. Ring-billed Gull
  52. Bonaparte’s Gull
  53. California Gull
  54. Herring Gull
  55. Glaucous-winged Gull
  56. Western Gull
  57. Arctic Tern
  58. Common Murre
  59. Pigeon Guillemot
  60. Marbled Murrelet
  61. Ancient Murrelet
  62. Rhinocerous Auklet
  63. Tufted Puffin
  64. Rock Dove
  65. Western Screech-Owl
  66. Great-horned Owl
  67. Northern Saw-whet Owl
  68. Common Nighthawk
  69. Belted Kingfisher
  70. Vaux’s Swift
  71. White-throated Swift
  72. Black Swift
  73. Anna’s Hummingbird
  74. Rufous Hummingbird
  75. Acorn Woodpecker
  76. Nuttall’s Woodpecker
  77. Hairy Woodpecker
  78. Red-breasted Sapsucker
  79. Northern Flicker
  80. Olive-sided Flycatcher
  81. Western Wood-pewee
  82. Pacific-slope Flycatcher
  83. Black Phoebe
  84. Hutton’s Vireo
  85. Casin’s Vireo
  86. Warbling Vireo
  87. Steller’s Jay
  88. Western Scrub-jay
  89. Gray Jay
  90. Yellow-billed Magpie
  91. American Crow
  92. Common Raven
  93. Barn Swallow
  94. Cliff Swallow
  95. Violet-green Swallow
  96. Tree Swallow
  97. Oak Titmouse
  98. Black-capped Chickadee
  99. Bush Tit
  100. White-breasted Nuthatch
  101. Red-breasted Nuthatch
  102. Brown Creeper
  103. Pygmy Nuthatch
  104. Bewick’s Wren
  105. Winter Wren
  106. Wrentit
  107. Ruby-crowned Kinglet
  108. Varied Thrush
  109. American Robin
  110. Veery
  111. Swainson’s Thrush
  112. Hermit Thrush
  113. Northern Mockingbird
  114. Bohemian Waxwing
  115. Cedar Waxwing
  116. Orange-crowned Warbler
  117. Yellow Warbler
  118. Townsend’s Warbler
  119. Common Yellowthroat
  120. Wilson’s Warbler
  121. Western Tanager
  122. Black-headed Grosbeak
  123. Spotted Towhee
  124. Chipping Sparrow
  125. Song Sparrow
  126. Fox Sparrow
  127. Savannah Sparrow
  128. Dark-eyed Junco
  129. White-crowned Sparrow
  130. Golden-crowned Sparrow
  131. White-throated Sparrow
  132. Bullock’s Oriole
  133. Western Meadowlark
  134. Red-winged Blackbird
  135. Brewer’s Blackbird
  136. Brown-headed Cowbird
  137. Red Crossbill
  138. White-winged Crossbill
  139. Pine Grosbeak
  140. House Finch
  141. Pine Siskin
  142. American Goldfinch
  143. Lesser Goldfinch
  144. Evening Grosbeak
  145. House Sparrow
  146. European Starling
  147. American Redstart