Perching Birds

Song sparrows are one of the many perching birds that call Willapa National Wildlife Refuge home/Photo Coutesy of Rollin Bannow

These birds have strong feet and gripping toes to perch. Sometimes called “songbirds”, most of this group sings to establish territory or attract mates. This is a diverse group of birds. Look below to discover which ones you might find at the refuge.  

  • Flycatchers

    The western kingbird has bristles surounding its bill/Photo Courtesy of Dr. Madeline Kalbach

    Perching birds with large heads and broad, flattened bills, flycatchers are mainly insect eaters. Their large bills increase the chance that they will catch flying insects. Members of this family have distinctive calls and feeding behaviors which can aid in identification.

  • Crows, Ravens and Jays

    Ravens are all black with a chunky bill and keen intelligence/Photo Courtesy of Dr. Madeline Kalbach

    Bold, noisy and gregarious birds, the corvids have strong bills and feet. Known for their smarts, the corvid family includes ravens, crows and jays.

    Discover who lives here...

  • Horned Lark

    Streaked horned larks have distinctive black face markings and horns/NPS photo

    Primarily a ground dwelling bird, the horned lark tends to hop or run rather than fly. Horned larks have a yellow face, a black mask and breast band, and black horns.

     Discover moreabout this threatened bird…

  • Swallows

    The barn swallow is easy to identify, with its blue and tan coloration and long, forked tail/Photo Courtesy of Rollin Bannow

    Aerial acrobats, swallows and martins have long, pointed wings and a long tail. They use their broad bills to gather insects from the air. Several species nest here, returning in late spring to fields and wetlands throughout the refuge.

    Learn more about the swallows that nest here…

  • Chickadees, Nuthatches, Creepers and Kinglets

    The chesnut-backed chickadee is an active forager in the refuge/Photo Courtesy of Dr. Madeline Kalbach

    Small and energetic forest foragers, nuthatches, creepers and chickadees often travel together as they hunt for insects. Red-breasted nuthatches most often forage by moving upward on tree trunks. Brown creepers generally travel down tree trucks. Chickadees have strong feet and forage on outer limbs, sometimes hanging upside down. Kinglets are tiny, rounded birds that often hover to reach insects on the very tips or undersides of branches.

    Find out more about these birds...

  • Wrens

    The bewick's wren has a long, slender bill and a light eyebrow stripe/Photo Courtesy of Dr. Madeline Kalbach

    Highly vocal with bubbly song, wrens are frequently heard in most habitats of the refuge. Wrens have a long, slender, and curved bill, an eyebrow stripe, and a long tail they generally hold up. Listen for marsh wrens near wetlands and sedge-dominated salt marsh.  Bewick’s and Pacific wrens live in refuge forests.

    Discover more about Refuge wrens...

  • Thrushes

    The orande and brown varied thrush are commonly seen throughout the refuge in winter/Photo Courtesy of Minette Layne

    Various members of the thrush family nest at the refuge and delight listeners with their melodic, sometimes haunting, songs. Hermit and Swainson’s thrushes inhabit riparian areas and young forests in summer months. American robins are found in open areas and grassy fields. Varied thrushes are most often associated with coniferous forests and are abundant during winter months. 

    Uncover more about thrushes that live here...

  • Waxwings

    The cedar waxwing has an overall silky appearance, it also has a crest and a black mask/Photo Courtesy of Rollin Bannow

    Gregarious and silken in appearance, waxwings are often on the move looking for ripe fruits to eat. Listen and look for cedar waxwings near wetlands, hedgerows and areas with wax myrtle.

    Learn more...

  • Vireos and Warblers

    warblers have a small, pointed bill designed for gleaning insects/Photo Courtesy of Dr. Madeline Kalbach

    Small, foliage gleaning birds, the warblers and vireos can easily be confused. Vireos have bigger heads, thicker bills and more deliberate movements. Warblers are generally brighter in color. There are several species of warbler and vireo in residence at the refuge.

    Find out more about some Refuge warblers...

  • Tanagers

    The western tanager is brightly colored and nests in the refuge/Photo Courtesy of Rollin Bannow

    Although brightly colored, the western tanager is more likely to be heard than seen at the refuge.

    Discover more about this tropical summer visitor…

  • Towhees and Sparrows

    The golden crowned sparrow is brownish grey with a crown of yellow/Photo Courtesy of Dr. Madeline Kalbach

    Smallish songbirds, sparrows generally make their homes in the shrubs and grasslands of the refuge. Sparrows primarily use their conical beaks to eat seeds, but feed their young insects. Some sparrows live on the refuge year round, while others migrate.

    Learn more about refuge sparrows…

  • Black-headed Grosbeak

    Black-headed grosbeaks are more commonly heard than seen during summer months at the refuge/Photo Courtesy of Dr. Madeline Kalbach

    A chucky songbird with a large conical beak, black-headed grosbeaks nest along forest edges in the refuge. Listen for their lazy robin-like song during summer months.

    Uncover more about this bird…

  • Blackbirds and Meadowlarks

    This female Brewer's blackbird exhibits the pointed bill owned by all members of the blackbird family/Photo Courtesy of Dr. Madeline Kalbach

    Strong flight and pointed bills are characteristics of the blackbird family. These birds are often quite vocal.

    Read more about the blackbirds and meadowlarks that live at Willapa National Wildlife Refuge…

  • Finches

    The American goldfinch is a brightly colored member of the finch family/Photo Courtesy of Rollin Bannow

    Finches are seed-eating birds with stout conical bills and undulating flight. In winter, finches often gather in mixed flocks with other types of finches.

    Learn more about the finches at Willapa...