Frances Wood

WHIDBEY BIRDING | Harvey the hawk is one luck bird

Have you watched the YouTube videos of “Harvey,” the Cooper’s hawk that survived Hurricane Harvey? It’s a heartwarming story, beginning with a taxicab driver filming… Continue reading

 

Whidbey gulls flock during crab season

The minute crabbing season opens, I begin to notice our gulls. My husband and I spend more time at the beach untangling the crab pot… Continue reading

 

Springtime on Whidbey brings birdsong, familiar and unfamiliar

As I write this, a bird belts out a song outside my window. The rhythm sounds like; “I’m a SING-er, SING-er, SING-er,” at least, it… Continue reading

 

Second chance sometimes not enough for little Barn Swallows | WHIDBEY BIRDING

It’s been a sad week for baby Barn Swallows.My friend Linda Bainbridge has Barn Swallow nestlings that she’s been watching. Two of the young ones… Continue reading

Feathered friends abound at Greenbank Farm | WHIDBEY BIRDING

Looking for good bird watching with pie or a glass of wine awaiting you when you finish? Try Greenbank Farm, my second recommendation for birding on South Whidbey.

Wild about woodpeckers | WHIDBEY BIRDING

A sharp pounding on the metal downspout outside my window practically rattles my teeth. It’s a northern flicker using this hollow sounding board to communicate with other flickers.

Vermilion flycatcher captures our hearts, imaginations | WHIDBEY BIRDING

My husband and I recently returned from a month of birding in and around the city of Oaxaca, Mexico. It’s in a high, dry valley in South Central Mexico where the native habitat is described as thorn scrub. One of the most common little flycatchers is also a brilliantly colored bird, the aptly named vermilion flycatcher.

When a Merlin calls, a neighborhood takes notice | WHIDBEY BIRDING

Last fall while out in the garden, my husband saw a dark flash dart past him, flying low to the ground and land on a fence post. He called me out to identify the bird and we marked the first sighting of a Merlin for our yard list.

County recycling decision is against the birds | WHIDBEY BIRDING

Last month I had the opportunity to visit family in New York. On the day of my return flight, the morning news announced that New York’s already extensive curbside recycle program would soon expand to accept some previously excluded items like shampoo bottles and other difficult-to-recycle plastics. I rejoiced along with local newscasters who praised the city for broadening its commitment to recycling.

Mourning Doves make room for a newcomer | WHIDBEY BIRDING

Have you noticed a strange looking dove at your feeder or sitting on a power line? If so, you’ve seen the latest bird species to establish itself on Whidbey Island, the Eurasian Collared-dove.

Eat or be eaten: A great reason for far-flung trips | WHIDBEY BIRDING

Whidbey Island in September is only one tiny, micro-spot on the southbound bird migration map. Some shorebirds, swallows, warblers, even the diminutive Rufous Hummingbird fly… Continue reading

ISLAND BIRDING | Field guides can help develop a love of nature in children

“Give a kid a field guide.”I heard these words recently at an Audubon Society lecture and have taken them to heart for my holiday shopping.… Continue reading

Who claims biggest bird title on Whidbey? | WHIDBEY BIRDING

Recently a five-year-old friend asked me, “What’s the biggest bird?” and I was reminded of our fascination with the biggest. To him biggest equated to best.

California quail: facing a purrrfect threat | WHIDBEY BIRDING

Each morning I look out the window and search for “our” California quails. Usually, two pairs strut out from hiding in a native hedgerow and peck at the birdseed my husband and I scatter for them.

WHIDBEY BIRDING | Counting avian species both scientific, competitive

Counting and listing bird species is an integral part of bird watching, and I think it serves an important purpose. The Whidbey Audubon Society recently conducted two Christmas bird counts, one centered near Oak Harbor and the other on South Whidbey.

True love? Then leave the partridge in the tree | WHIDBEY BIRDING

“On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me, a partridge in a pear tree.”

WHIDBEY BIRDING | Wearing white is a smart choice for our winter visitors

Earlier this week I was showing off Whidbey to an out-of-town writer friend. While driving west from Coupeville out across the open farmland, she spotted… Continue reading

WHIDBEY BIRDING | Tropical visitor was a tantalizing treat to our eyes

On a recent warm afternoon while my husband and I were relaxing on our back patio, a flash of red and yellow flickered through the… Continue reading

From soaring to fluttering, flight helps ID birds | WHIDBEY BIRDING

While having coffee with a friend recently, she suggested, “Why don’t you write about bird flight. I’d like to know what those birds are that make a wave pattern as they fly through my garden.”

Taking time to connect to a wild world above ourselves | WHIDBEY BIRDING

Have you noticed those large stick nests atop tall phone poles along Highway 525? There are two between Freeland and Greenbank. Each time I drive by, I crane my neck to pick out the occupants, large birds of prey called Ospreys. They are dark chocolate brown birds with white breasts and smallish white heads.