The Willow Flycatcher is found at the edge of riparian thickets, open scrubland and early successional forest. A loud “Fitz-bew”, repeated after long pauses, is the familiar song of this Empidonax species. The first Willow Flycatchers arriving from southern Mexico and Central America are seen mid-May. The majority arrive over the last two weeks of May, and a few will continue into early June.
This once common bird in our area is now a rare migrant. Not seen or heard until the first week of June, the Common Nighthawk is the last to arrive in the region. Listen for their ‘peent” call at dusk, as they may fly over any neighborhood over the first couple weeks of June. Historically, the Common Nighthawk was a breeder in the Willamette Valley, sometimes making nests on the gravel roofs of high-rise buildings. They also formerly nested on gravel bars in the Willamette and Columbia Rivers. They can now be found nesting in the Coast Range, Cascade Mountains and throughout Eastern Oregon.
A persistent song heard from dawn to dusk, drifting from the top of the highest cottonwood tree, is often your only indication that the Red-eyed Vireo has returned. The Red-eyed Vireo is usually detected at a few local Portland area greenspaces over the first week of June. The Red-eyed Vireos that breed in the Pacific Northwest depart from northwestern South America, then probably fly up through the Plains States before taking a westward turn across the Rockies. Portland-area birds nest about a month later than those east of the Rockies, which supports the idea of westward movement through the mountains.