Rare Bird Alert

Updated every Thursday, the Rare Bird Alert covers the entire state and details where and when rare birds have been spotted. This could be anything from an east coast bird that flew off course to an Oregon bird found in an unlikely location.

Have you seen a rare or out of place bird? Contact Brodie Cass Talbott to report your sighting: bcasstalbott@audubonportland.org.

January 16, 2020

Black-legged Kittiwake Mountain Chickadee
Mountain Chickadee Pelagic Cormorant
Common Loon Pacific Loon
Red-throated Loon Rusty Blackbird
Harris’s Sparrow


Black-capped Chickadee
Black-capped Chickadee, photo by Scott Carpenter

Notes on Sightings

While the winter weather never really materialized this week, pelagic birds weren’t taking any chances, and BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKES descended on mass across NW Oregon. Up to seven birds were found at Hagg Lake, an additional three were found at Vernonia Lake, and Audrey Addison scored one at the mouth of the Sandy River. That area, accessed from Company Lake, has been the sight of several unusual finds this week, starting with Justin Cook finding a MOUNTAIN CHICKADEE that decided it wasn’t cut out for mountain life and has joined a mixed flock next to the lake. Unlike the other reported MOCH this winter, this bird has remained and allowed many folks to see it. Some such chasers were Ross Ricketts and Peter Barnes who found a PELAGIC CORMORANT nearby in the Columbia. 

And Pelagic birds continued, with large numbers of loons being reported along the Columbia, including COMMON, PACIFIC, and RED-THROATED, from Columbia Point right up to Chinook Landing. Nick Mrvelj added a RED-NECKED GREBE for good measure. 

Outside of Portland, Shawneen FInnegan were able to find a RUSTY BLACKBIRD in Gaston, and Tom Meyers found a HARRIS’S SPARROW on the Crown Zellerbach trail, for what is possibly the first of the season for the greater Portland area. 

That’s most of it for this week. For reports, corrections, and tips, email Brodie Cass Talbott at bcasstalbott@audubonportland.org