Birds of the Old Growth Forest

The old growth redwood forests of Redwood National and State Parks can be overwhelming in their size and abundance. It is easy to imagine that the quiet forests are simply occupied by only giant trees. They are, of course, home to many animals, including birds. Though hundreds of species of birds have been recorded in Redwood National and State Parks, only a few are regularly encountered on a hike in the parks’ giant forests. As with forest birding everywhere, most of your detections will be by call or song only. A small bird perched on a tree branch 200 feet (60 meters) above your head is very difficult to see, as is an equally small bird hiding in the thick forest undergrowth. Fortunately, many online bird guides and mobile phone applications can help you identify various bird calls.

When walking through the old growth redwoods on a park trail, the five most common birds you will most likely encounter include:

-Pacific-slope Flycatcher (Empidonax difficilis) – song sounds like “ps-seet, ptsick, seet!”

-Pacific Wren (Troglodytes pacificus) – song a rapid, variable, series of high pitched trills.

-Varied Thrush (Ixoreus naevius) – song a whistled, flutelike single toned note with varied pitch.

-Golden- crowned Kinglet (Regulus strapa) – song extremely high pitched “tsee” notes and trill.

-Wilson’s Warbler (Cardellina pusilla) – song rapid chatter, descending in pitch.

Ten other species you most likely will encounter include:

-Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus)

-Hutton’s Vireo (Vireo huttoni)

-Steller’s Jay (Cyanocitta stelleri)

-Chestnut-backed Chickadee (Poecile rufescens)

-Swainson’s Thrush (Catharus ustulatus)

-Hermit Warbler (Setophaga occidentalis)

-Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis)

-Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta Canadensis)

-Hairy Woodpecker (Picoides villosus)

-Brown Creeper (Certhia Americana)

Last updated: February 28, 2015

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