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Bird Checklists of the United States

Toppenish National Wildlife Refuge

Toppenish, Washington


The Toppenish National Wildlife Refuge and surrounding areas of the Lower Yakima Valley provide diverse habitats for birds and other wildlife. The refuge, lying within the Yakima Indian Reservation, consists of three units along Toppenish Creek and the Yakima River, including excellent marshlands and thick riparian forests. Birds of the shrub-steppe, a dry habitat of sagebrush, basalt rimrock cliffs, and grasslands, can be found on the adjacent slopes of Toppenish Ridge and the Horse Heaven Hills. Throughout the valley floor are scattered oases, such as parks, ponds, and weedy fields, where birds gather to breed and to stop on migrations. Human habitats, such as farmlands, orchards, and towns also attract certain species in abundance.

The area is perhaps best known for spectacular flights of Canada Geese and ducks during fall and spring migrations. Many other species can be seen by driving back roads through farm and marshlands, or by walking through riparian forests along Toppenish Creek and the Yakima River. The area is noted for numbers of bald eagles, prairie falcons, and other raptors during winter, and for the summer breeding colony of bobolinks on Lateral C between Yost Road and Toppenish Creek. Lewis' woodpeckers breed in abundance in the large stands of Garry Oaks at Fort Simcoe. Adjacent shrub-steppe, a vanishing habitat in Washington, is home to some species becoming rare in the state, such as sage thrasher, long-billed curlew, and sage sparrow. These habitats are also the ancestral home of the Yakima Indians, a people who have traditionally observed and learned from birds and other wildlife as part of their daily lives.

This bird list includes 233 species, of which at least 100 breed within the refuge and surrounding habitats. The list encompasses an area within the Lower Yakima Valley between Fort Simcoe and Grandview, from the banks of the Yakima river to the dry Toppenish Ridge and Horse Heaven Hills on the south. This bird list is not considered final as we are sure new observations will continue to add to its quality and accuracy. We encourage and appreciate all observations and ask that they be reported to refuge headquarters as soon as possible.

Thanks go to Bob Boekelheide, Andy Stepniewski, Eugene Hunn, Philip Mattocks, Emily Cragg, and Zee Butler for their assistance in preparing this checklist.

The taxonomic order and species' names follow the sixth AOU Checklist, 1983.


The following categories of season and abundance provide relative indices of bird distribution. They are subjectively determined from many hours of field observations, but remember that birds oftentimes are unpredictable in both time and place.

Season

Sp - Spring, March through May
S - Summer, June through August
F - Fall, September through November
W - Winter, December through February

Abundance

a - abundant: certain to be seen, very numerous
c - common: should be seen in suitable habitat
u - uncommon: might be seen in suitable habitat
o - occasional: seen only a few times during a season
r - rare: not seen every year
x - accidental: only one or two recorded sightings
i - irregular: conspicuously present in some years but absent in others; particularly true of certain finch species
* - known to nest locally


LOONS Sp S F W ___ Pacific Loon - - x - ___ Common Loon - - o o
GREBES Sp S F W ___ Pied-billed Grebe* c u c u ___ Horned Grebe - - r - ___ Red-necked Grebe x - - - ___ Eared Grebe o - u - ___ Western Grebe o o o -
BITTERNS, HERONS AND EGRETS Sp S F W ___ American Bittern* u u u r ___ Great Blue Heron* c c c c ___ Great Egret r - r - ___ Cattle Egret - - - x ___ Green Egret - x - - ___ Black-crowned Night-Heron* u u u u
WATERFOWL Sp S F W ___ Tundra Swan o - u o ___ Greater White-Fronted Goose r - r - ___ Snow Goose - - r - ___ Canada Goose* a r c u ___ Wood Duck* u u u o ___ Green-winged Teal* c o c o ___ Mallard* a c a a ___ Northern Pintail* c r c u ___ Blue-winged Teal* u u u - ___ Cinnamon Teal* c c c o ___ Northern Shoveler* c o c u ___ Gadwall* c u c o ___ Eurasian Wigeon o - o r ___ American Wigeon* c o c c ___ Canvasback u - u o ___ Redhead u o u u ___ Ring-necked Duck c r c u ___ Greater Scaup r - r - ___ Lesser Scaup* o - u u ___ Black Scoter - - x - ___ Surf Scoter - - r - ___ White-winged Scoter - - r - ___ Common Goldeneye u - o u ___ Bufflehead u - u o ___ Hooded Merganser o - o o ___ Common Merganser* c u u u ___ Ruddy Duck* u u u o
VULTURES Sp S F W ___ Turkey Vulture* u u o -
OSPREY, KITES, EAGLES AND HAWKS Sp S F W ___ Osprey* u u u - ___ Bald Eagle c - u c ___ Northern Harrier* c c c c ___ Sharp-shinned Hawk u - c u ___ Cooper's Hawk u o u u ___ Northern Goshawk r - o o ___ Swainson's Hawk* o o o - ___ Red-tailed Hawk* c c c c ___ Ferruginous Hawk r r - - ___ Rough-legged Hawk u - u u ___ Golden Eagle* u o o u
FALCONS Sp S F W ___ American Kestrel* c c c u ___ Merlin u - o u ___ Peregrine Falcon r - r - ___ Prairie Falcon* u o u c
GALLINACEOUS BIRDS Sp S F W ___ Gray Partridge* r r r r ___ Chukar* u u u u ___ Ring-necked Pheasant* c c c c ___ California Quail* c c c c
RAILS Sp S F W ___ Virginia Rail* u u u r ___ Sora* u u o - ___ American Coot* c u c c
CRANES Sp S F W ___ Sandhill Crane x - x -
PLOVERS Sp S F W ___ Black-bellied Plover r - r - ___ American Golden Plover - - x - ___ Semipalmated Plover - - r - ___ Killdeer* c c c u
STILTS AND AVOCETS Sp S F W ___ Black-necked Stilt* u u r - ___ American Avocet* u u r -
SHOREBIRDS Sp S F W ___ Greater Yellowlegs u - u r ___ Lesser Yellowlegs o - - u ___ Solitary Sandpiper - - r - ___ Spotted Sandpiper* u u o - ___ Long-billed Curlew* c u o - ___ Sanderling - - r - ___ Western Sandpiper u o u - ___ Least Sandpiper u o u - ___ Baird's Sandpiper - - o - ___ Pectoral Sandpiper - - o - ___ Dunlin - - r - ___ Stilt Sandpiper - - r - ___ Short-billed Dowitcher r - o - ___ Long-billed Dowitcher u o u -
SNIPE Sp S F W ___ Common Snipe* c c c u
PHALAROPES Sp S F W ___ Wilson's Phalarope* u u r - ___ Red-necked Phalarope u - o -
GULLS AND TERNS Sp S F W ___ Bonaparte's Gull - - o - ___ Ring-billed Gull c c c - ___ California Gull u u u - ___ Herring Gull r - - r ___ Glaucous-winged Gull - - - x ___ Caspian Tern o o o - ___ Common Tern - r - - ___ Forster's Tern - r r - ___ Black Tern r r r -
DOVES Sp S F W ___ Rock Dove* a a a a ___ Mourning Dove* c c c u
OWLS Sp S F W ___ Barn Owl* u u u u ___ Flammulated Owl - - x - ___ Western Screech-Owl* u u u o ___ Great Horned Owl* c c c c ___ Snowy Owl - - - r ___ Burrowing Owl* u u u r ___ Barred Owl - - - r ___ Long-eared Owl* u o u u ___ Short-eared Owl* u u u u ___ Northern Saw-whet Owl o - r o
GOATSUCKERS Sp S F W ___ Common Nighthawk* u c u - ___ Common Poorwill* u u o -
SWIFTS Sp S F W ___ Vaux's Swift o - o - ___ White-throated Swift o o - -
HUMMINGBIRDS Sp S F W ___ Black-chinned Hummingbird u u r - ___ Anna's Hummingbird - - - x ___ Calliope Hummingbird o o - - ___ Rufous Hummingbird o u - -
KINGFISHERS Sp S F W ___ Belted Kingfisher u u c c
WOODPECKERS Sp S F W ___ Lewis' Woodpecker* u u u u ___ Acorn Woodpecker x - - - ___ Red-naped Sapsucker r - r - ___ Downy Woodpecker* c c c c ___ Hairy Woodpecker - - r o ___ White-headed Woodpecker - - - x ___ Northern Flicker* c c c c
FLYCATCHERS Sp S F W ___ Olive-sided Flycatcher o o - - ___ Western Wood-Pewee* c c r - ___ Willow Flycatcher* c c o - ___ Hammond's Flycatcher o - r - ___ Dusky Flycatcher o - r - ___ Gray Flycatcher r - - - ___ Western Flycatcher o - r - ___ Say's Phoebe* u u u r ___ Ash-throated Flycatcher* r r - - ___ Western Kingbird* c c r - ___ Eastern Kingbird* c c r -
LARKS Sp S F W ___ Horned Lark* c u c c
SWALLOWS Sp S F W ___ Tree Swallow* c u c - ___ Violet-green Swallow c o u - ___ Northern Rough-winged Swallow* c c u - ___ Bank Swallow* c c o - ___ Cliff Swallow* c c r - ___ Barn Swallow* a a c -
JAYS, MAGPIES AND CROWS Sp S F W ___ Steller's Jay - - - o ___ Clark's Nutcracker - - - i ___ Black-billed Magpie* c c c c ___ American Crow* c c u u ___ Common Raven* c c c c
CHICKADEES AND TITMICE Sp S F W ___ Black-capped Chickadee* c c c c ___ Mountain Chickadee - - - i ___ Chestnut-backed Chickadee - - - i
BUSHTITS Sp S F W ___ Bushtit* o o o o
NUTHATCHES Sp S F W ___ Red-breasted Nuthatch o i i o ___ White-breasted Nuthatch* u u o o
CREEPERS Sp S F W ___ Brown Creeper r r u o
WRENS Sp S F W ___ Rock Wren* u u o - ___ Canyon Wren* u u u u ___ Bewick's Wren* u u u u ___ House Wren* c c o - ___ Winter Wren u - u o ___ Marsh Wren* c c c u
DIPPERS Sp S F W ___ American Dipper - - r r
KINGLETS, BLUEBIRDS AND THRUSHES Sp S F W ___ Golden-crowned Kinglet c - c u ___ Ruby-crowned Kinglet c - c u ___ Western Bluebird o r r - ___ Mountain Bluebird o r r - ___ Townsend's Solitaire o r u r ___ Swainson's Thrush o - o - ___ Hermit Thrush u - u r ___ American Robin* a c c u ___ Varied Thrush u - o u
MOCKINGBIRDS AND THRASHERS Sp S F W ___ Gray Catbird* u u o - ___ Northern Mockingbird - x - x ___ Sage Thrasher* c c - -
WAGTAILS AND PIPITS Sp S F W ___ American Pipit u - u -
WAXWINGS Sp S F W ___ Bohemian Waxwing i - i i ___ Cedar Waxwing* c u c r
SHRIKES Sp S F W ___ Northern Shrike* u - u c ___ Loggerhead Shrike* c c c o
STARLINGS AND MYNAS Sp S F W ___ European Starling* a a a a
VIREOS Sp S F W ___ Solitary Vireo o - o - ___ Warbling Vireo* u r u -
WARBLERS Sp S F W ___ Orange-crowned Warbler* c u c r ___ Nashville Warbler u - u - ___ Yellow Warbler* c c u - ___ Yellow-rumped Warbler c - a u ___ Townsend's Warbler o r o - ___ MacGillivray's Warbler u - u - ___ Common Yellowthroat* c c u - ___ Wilson's Warbler c o u - ___ Yellow-breasted Chat* u u - -
TANAGERS Sp S F W ___ Western Tanager c o u -
GROSBEAKS AND BUNTINGS Sp S F W ___ Black-headed Grosbeak* u c o - ___ Lazuli Bunting* u c o -
TOWHEES AND SPARROWS Sp S F W ___ Rufous-sided Towhee* u o u u ___ American Tree Sparrow r - r r ___ Chipping Sparrow* o o u - ___ Brewer's Sparrow* c c u - ___ Vesper Sparrow* u u o - ___ Lark Sparrow* o o - - ___ Sage Sparrow* c c u - ___ Savannah Sparrow* c c c - ___ Grasshopper Sparrow* o o - - ___ Fox Sparrow* u - u o ___ Song Sparrow* c c c c ___ Lincoln's Sparrow u - u o ___ White-throated Sparrow - - - r ___ Golden-crowned Sparrow u - u o ___ White-crowned Sparrow a - c c ___ Harris' Sparrow r - r r ___ Dark-eyed Junco a - c a ___ Lapland Longspur - - - r ___ Bobolink* u u r -
BLACKBIRDS, MEADOWLARKS AND ORIOLES Sp S F W ___ Red-winged Blackbird* a a a c ___ Western Meadowlark* c c c u ___ Yellow-headed Blackbird* c c u o ___ Brewer's Blackbird* a a c c ___ Brown-headed Cowbird* c c u o ___ Bullock's Oriole* c c r -
FINCHES Sp S F W ___ Rosy Finch - - - i ___ Pine Grosbeak - - i i ___ Purple Finch i - i i ___ Cassin's Finch - - i i ___ House Finch* a a a c ___ Red Crossbill - - i i ___ White-winged Crossbill - - - x ___ Common Redpoll - - i i ___ Pine Siskin u - u i ___ Lesser Goldfinch - - x - ___ American Goldfinch* c c c u ___ Evening Grosbeak* u o u i
WEAVER FINCHES Sp S F W ___ House Sparrow* a a a a

Additional information may be obtained by contacting:
                      Refuge Manager
                      Toppenish National Wildlife Refuge
                      21 Pumphouse Road
                      Toppenish, Washington 98948       
                      Telephone: 509/865-2405
This resource is based on the following source:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  1989.  Birds of Toppenish National Wildlife 
     Refuge, Washington.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Unpaginated.
This resource should be cited as:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  1989.  Birds of Toppenish National Wildlife     
     Refuge, Washington.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Unpaginated.
     Jamestown, ND: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online.  
     http://www.npwrc.usgs.govtoppen.htm 
     (Version 26MAY98).

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