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Bird Checklists of the United States

Willapa National Wildlife Refuge and the
Columbia River Estuary

Ilwaco, Washington


Willapa National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) was established in 1937 to protect migrating and wintering populations of black brant, other waterfowl, shorebirds, and their respective habitats. Refuge units now total 11,000 acres with an incredible diversity of habitat types represented. Leadbetter Point, with its broad expanse of natural salt marshes and subtle dunes combined with scattered coniferous forest stands and associated shoreline habitats is a regional attraction for birdwatchers.

By contrast, the forested uplands, winding sloughs, and associated shoreline of Long Island attracts a great variety of forest, marsh, and waterbirds. The Cedar Grove, a 274-acre remnant of the once vast coastal forest supports a lively mix of woodpeckers, swifts, and songbirds.

The freshwater marshes and pastures of the Lewis and Riekkola Units, located along the southern shore of Willapa Bay, attract perhaps the greatest variety of waterfowl on the refuge. The Riekkola pastures support large numbers of Canada geese in winter and serve as a local hotspot for songbirds in the spring.

Other birding hotspots around Willapa Bay and the Long Beach Peninsula include: the marshes and tidal flats at Bay Center and Tokeland; the Raymond Airport; Loomis Lake; and the rocky shoreline of Fort Canby State Park.

The Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1972 to preserve the vital fish and wildlife habitat of the Columbia River estuary. Riverine islands there range from tidal sand flats and marshes to forested swamps and upland pasture. This combination supports large numbers of waterfowl, gulls, terns, wading birds, shorebirds, and a surprising variety of raptors and songbirds. The Lewis and Clark islands are only accessible by boat.

The checklist area includes: Willapa Bay and adjacent habitats west of Highway 101 and south of Highway 105, plus the Long Beach Peninsula; the Columbia River from Puget Island to the Pacific Ocean, and the Julia Butler Hansen Refuge for the Columbian white-tailed deer.

Pasturelands intermixed with small woodlots and slough systems at the Julia Butler Hansen National Wildlife Refuge, provide critical habitat for approximately 230 of the endangered Columbian white-tailed deer. The deer and a population of Roosevelt elk are easily observed from the Steamboat Slough Road. Bald eagles are commonly seen in trees along the shoreline and the pastures support large numbers of Canada geese in winter. Great blue herons, cormorants, grebes, and loons frequent the many sloughs; and a variety of songbirds occur along the edges of woodlots.

Over 250 birds, 53 mammals, and 19 herptiles have been recorded within the checklist area. The best wildlife observation seasons are April through June and August through November. Early morning and late afternoon are the best times of day for observing all wildlife. Waterfowl and shorebirds are best observed two to three hours before high tide.


Major subdivisions within the area of coverage

W - Willapa NWR. W includes Willapa Bay, the Long Beach Peninsula and the Columbia River, west of the Astoria-Megler Bridge
J - Julia Butler Hansen Refuge for the Columbian white-tailed deer
L - Lewis and Clark NWR. For continuity, L includes the Columbia River from the Astoria-Megler Bridge to Puget Island
A - All of the above

Seasons

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

Relative Abundance

a - abundant: species which are very numerous
c - common: species that are nearly certain to be seen
u - uncommon: species that are present, but not certain to be seen
o - occasional: species that are seen several times a year or locally
r - rare: species seen at intervals of 2 to 5 years
* - known to nest in the checklist area


LOONS REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Red-throated Loon A c - c c ___ Pacific Loon A c r c u ___ Common Loon A c r c u
GREBES REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Pied-billed Grebe* A u u u u ___ Horned Grebe A c r c c ___ Red-necked Grebe A r - o o ___ Western Grebe A a u a a
FULMARS, PETRELS AND SHEARWATERS REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Northern Fulmar W - r r u ___ Pink-footed Shearwater W - - r - ___ Sooty Shearwater W u c a - ___ Short-tailed Shearwater W - - - o
STORM PETRELS REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel W - - r - ___ Leach's Storm-Petrel* W - - r -
PELICANS AND CORMORANTS REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Brown Pelican W o c c - ___ Double-crested Cormorant* A c c c c ___ Brandt's Cormorant* W c c c c
BITTERNS, HERONS AND EGRETS REFUGE Sp S F W ___ American Bittern* A o u u o ___ Great Blue Heron* A c c c c ___ Great Egret A o - o - ___ Cattle Egret W - - r - ___ Green Heron A r r r -
WATERFOWL REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Tundra Swan W,L - - u u ___ Trumpeter Swan W,L - - u u ___ Greater White-fronted Goose A o - o o ___ Snow Goose A o - o o ___ Ross' Goose A r - - - ___ Emperor Goose A r - o r ___ Brant W a o c c ___ Canada Goose* A a c a a ___ Wood Duck* A u u u - ___ Green-winged Teal A c r c c ___ Mallard* A c c c c ___ Northern Pintail A u r a c ___ Blue-winged Teal A u r u - ___ Cinnamon Teal* A u u u - ___ Northern Shoveler A u r u o ___ Gadwall A u r u u ___ Eurasian Wigeon A - - o o ___ American Wigeon A c r a c ___ Canvasback A u - u u ___ Ring-necked Duck A u - u u ___ Tufted Duck W - - - r ___ Greater Scaup A u - u u ___ Lesser Scaup A c - c c ___ Harlequin Duck W r - r r ___ Oldsquaw W o - r o ___ Black Scoter W u - u u ___ Surf Scoter W,L c o c c ___ White-winged Scoter W c o c c ___ Common Goldeneye A u - u c ___ Barrow's Goldeneye W r - - r ___ Bufflehead A c - c c ___ Hooded Merganser* A u o u u ___ Common Merganser* A c u u u ___ Red-breasted Merganser W,L c r c c ___ Ruddy Duck W,L o - u u
VULTURES REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Turkey Vulture A u u u r
OSPREY, KITES, EAGLES AND HAWKS REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Osprey* A u u u r ___ White-tailed Kite A o u o o ___ Bald Eagle* A u u u u ___ Northern Harrier* A c c c c ___ Sharp-shinned Hawk A u r u u ___ Cooper's Hawk A u r u u ___ Northern Goshawk A r - r r ___ Red-tailed Hawk* A c c c c ___ Rough-legged Hawk A u - u u
FALCONS REFUGE Sp S F W ___ American Kestrel A u r u u ___ Merlin A u - u u ___ Peregrine Falcon A u - u u ___ Gyrfalcon W - - r r
GALLINACEOUS BIRDS REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Ring-necked Pheasant* W u u u u ___ Blue Grouse* W u u u r ___ Ruffed Grouse* W u u u u ___ Wild Turkey W r r r r ___ Northern Bobwhite* W u u o o
RAILS REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Virginia Rail* A u u u r ___ Sora W r - r - ___ American Coot A u - u c
CRANES REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Sandhill Crane L r - r -
PLOVERS REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Black-bellied Plover A c u a c ___ American Golden Plover A r r u r ___ Snowy Plover* W u u u r ___ Semipalmated Plover A c c c r ___ Killdeer* A u u c u
OYSTERCATCHERS REFUGE Sp S F W ___ American Oystercatcher* W u u u -
SHOREBIRDS REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Greater Yellowlegs A c u c c ___ Lesser Yellowlegs W - - r - ___ Willet W r - o o ___ Wandering Tattler W u o u - ___ Spotted Sandpiper A u o u - ___ Whimbrel W c o c - ___ Long-billed Curlew W u - u o ___ Bar-tailed Godwit W - - o - ___ Marbled Godwit W u o u r ___ Ruddy Turnstone W c o c r ___ Black Turnstone W u u u u ___ Surfbird W c r c r ___ Red Knot W c - u - ___ Sanderling W a c a c ___ Semipalmated Sandpiper W o r - - ___ Western Sandpiper A a a a c ___ Least Sandpiper A c c a u ___ Pectoral Sandpiper W - - c - ___ Sharp-tailed Sandpiper W r - u - ___ Dunlin A a u a a ___ Stilt Sandpiper W - - r - ___ Ruff W - - r - ___ Short-billed Dowitcher W a a c - ___ Long-billed Dowitcher W u r c u
SNIPE REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Common Snipe A c r c u
PHALAROPES REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Wilson's Phalarope W - - r - ___ Red-necked Phalarope W u o u - ___ Red Phalarope W r r o -
JAEGERS REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Parasitic Jaeger W r r u -
GULLS AND TERNS REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Bonaparte's Gull A c u c r ___ Heermann's Gull W o c c - ___ Mew Gull A c r c c ___ Ring-billed Gull A c u c u ___ California Gull A c u a u ___ Herring Gull A - - - r ___ Thayer's Gull A - - - r ___ Western Gull* A c c c c ___ Glaucous-winged Gull* A c c c c ___ Black-legged Kittiwake W u r u u ___ Sabine's Gull W r r r - ___ Caspian Tern* A c c c - ___ Common Tern A u r u - ___ Arctic Tern W r - r -
SEABIRDS REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Common Murre W u c c u ___ Pigeon Guillemot* W c c u r ___ Marbled Murrelet* W,L u u u u ___ Ancient Murrelet W - - r r ___ Cassin's Auklet W - - r r ___ Rhinoceros Auklet W o u o o ___ Tufted Puffin W o u o o ___ Horned Puffin W - - - o
DOVES REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Rock Dove* A u u u u ___ Band-tailed Pigeon* A c c c - ___ Mourning Dove A r r r -
OWLS REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Barn Owl* A u u u u ___ Western Screech-Owl* A u u u u ___ Great Horned Owl* A u u u u ___ Snowy Owl W - - - r ___ Northern Pygmy-Owl* A u u u u ___ Burrowing Owl W,L r - r r ___ Barred Owl* W u u u u ___ Long-eared Owl A r - r r ___ Short-eared Owl A u o u u ___ Northern Saw-whet Owl* A u u u u
GOATSUCKERS REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Common Nighthawk* A r u u -
SWIFTS REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Vaux's Swift* A c c c -
HUMMINGBIRDS REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Anna's Hummingbird W - - - r ___ Rufous Hummingbird* A a a o r
KINGFISHERS REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Belted Kingfisher* A u u u o
WOODPECKERS REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Red-breasted Sapsucker A u - u u ___ Downy Woodpecker* A u u u u ___ Hairy Woodpecker* A u u u u ___ Northern Flicker* A c c c c ___ Pileated Woodpecker* A u u u u
FLYCATCHERS REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Olive-sided Flycatcher* A c c o - ___ Western Wood-Pewee* A u u o - ___ Willow Flycatcher* A u u o - ___ Pacific-slope Flycatcher* A c c u - ___ Western Kingbird J r - - -
LARKS REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Horned Lark* A u u u o
SWALLOWS REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Purple Martin* J,L o o r - ___ Tree Swallow* A c c u o ___ Violet-green Swallow* A c c u o ___ Northern Rough-winged Swallow* A u u o - ___ Cliff Swallow* A c c o - ___ Barn Swallow* A c a o -
JAYS, MAGPIES AND CROWS REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Gray Jay W o o o o ___ Steller's Jay* A u u c u ___ Scrub Jay J,L o o o o ___ American Crow* A c c c c ___ Common Raven* A u u u u
CHICKADEES AND TITMICE REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Black-capped Chickadee* A c c c c ___ Chestnut-backed Chickadee* A c c c c
BUSHTITS REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Bushtit* A o r o o
NUTHATCHES REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Red-breasted Nuthatch A u r u u
CREEPERS REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Brown Creeper* W,L u u u u
WRENS REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Bewick's Wren* A u u u u ___ Winter Wren* A c c c c ___ Marsh Wren* A c c c u
KINGLETS, BLUEBIRDS AND THRUSHES REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Golden-crowned Kinglet* A c c c c ___ Ruby-crowned Kinglet A c r c u ___ Western Bluebird W r - r - ___ Mountain Bluebird W r - r - ___ Townsend's Solitaire W o r r - ___ Swainson's Thrush* A c c u - ___ Hermit Thrush A u - u u ___ American Robin* A c c c u ___ Varied Thrush* A c u c c
WAGTAILS AND PIPITS REFUGE Sp S F W ___ American Pipit W - - o -
WAXWINGS REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Cedar Waxwing* A u c u r
SHRIKES REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Northern Shrike A o - u u
STARLINGS AND MYNAS REFUGE Sp S F W ___ European Starling* A c c c c
VIREOS REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Solitary Vireo* A r - r - ___ Hutton's Vireo* A u u u u ___ Warbling Vireo* A u u o -
WARBLERS REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Orange-crowned Warbler* A c c u - ___ Yellow Warbler* A u u r - ___ Yellow-rumped Warbler* A c u u c ___ Black-throated Gray Warbler* A c c u - ___ Townsend Warbler A c - u u ___ Hermit Warbler W,L r r - - ___ Palm Warbler W - - r r ___ MacGillivray's Warbler W,J r r - - ___ Common Yellowthroat* A c c u - ___ Wilson's Warbler* A c c u -
TANAGERS REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Western Tanager* A u u o -
GROSBEAKS AND BUNTINGS REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Black-headed Grosbeak* A u u r -
TOWHEES AND SPARROWS REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Rufous-sided Towhee* A u u c c ___ Chipping Sparrow A r - r - ___ Savannah Sparrow* A c c u - ___ Fox Sparrow A u - u u ___ Song Sparrow* A c c c c ___ Lincoln's Sparrow A r - r - ___ White-throated Sparrow W o o - - ___ Golden-crowned Sparrow A c - c c ___ White-crowned Sparrow* A c c c u ___ Dark-eyed Junco* A c c c c ___ Lapland Longspur A r - c r ___ Snow Bunting W - - o o
BLACKBIRDS, MEADOWLARKS AND ORIOLES REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Red-winged Blackbird* A c c c c ___ Western Meadowlark* A u u u u ___ Yellow-headed Blackbird A r - - - ___ Brewer's Blackbird* A c c u u ___ Brown-headed Cowbird* A c c u r ___ Bullock's Oriole* J,L o o r -
FINCHES REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Purple Finch* A c c u u ___ House Finch* A c c c c ___ Red Crossbill* A u c u u ___ Common Redpoll A - - - r ___ Pine Siskin* A c o c c ___ American Goldfinch* A u c c r
WEAVER FINCHES REFUGE Sp S F W ___ House Sparrow* W,J c c c c

ACCIDENTALS - the following birds have been recorded in the area five times or less and are considered accidentals.
Flesh-footed Shearwater                      Hudsonian Godwit
Red-billed Tropicbird                        Parakeet Auklet
Magnificent Frigatebird                      Eastern Phoebe
Snowy Egret                                  Say's Phoebe
Greater Flamingo                             Clark's Nutcracker
Falcated Teal                                Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Redhead                                      Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Red-shouldered Hawk                          Dickcissel

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: The following individuals contributed detailed notes, valuable observations and their time to the enhancement of this checklist.

Alan Richards, Naselle, Washington
Richard L. Wilson, Bay Center, Washington
Denise and James Caldwell, Cathlamet, Washington

RECOMMENDED FIELD GUIDES:
National Geographic Society. Field Guide to the Birds of North America.
     Second Edition. Washington, D.C. National Geographic Society: 1987.

Peterson, Roger T. 1961. A Field Guide to Western Birds. Second Edition.
     Houghton Mifflin Co. Boston.

For more information, contact:
                     Refuge Manager
                     Willapa National Wildlife Refuge
                     HC 01, Box 910
                     Ilwaco, Washington 98624-9707
                     Telephone: 360/484-3482
This resource is based on the following source:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  1991.  Wildlife of Willapa National 
     Wildlife Refuge and the Columbia River Estuary, Ilwaco, 
     Washington.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Unpaginated.
This resource should be cited as:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  1991.  Wildlife of Willapa National 
     Wildlife Refuge and the Columbia River Estuary, Ilwaco, 
     Washington.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Unpaginated.
     Jamestown, ND: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online.  
     http://www.npwrc.usgs.govwillapa.htm 
     (Version 26MAY98).

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