A Checklist of Whatcom County Birds

Whatcom County, the northwesternmost county in Washington State and the contiguous U.S., contains a variety of habitat types that cover approximately 2,180 square miles, from sea level to the 10,750’ summit of Mount Baker, a dormant volcano of the Cascade Range.

Marine habitats include deep water areas, rock and gravel shorelines, and numerous estuaries.

Terrestrial habitats include urban and suburban woodlots, lakes, agricultural lands, forested areas, and mountain slopes rising above timberline and into glacial ice fields. This diversity of habitat accounts for an equally-diverse range of bird species and the moderate maritime climate offers birding for all seasons.

Human encroachment has played a major role in the changes in a number of species over the past century. Population increases and land clearing for development have resulted in the loss of habitat for numerous species; clear-cutting has affected many forest species in the higher elevations; and diversions of the Nooksack River and the construction of dams on two major rivers have had adverse impacts on riparian species over a large geographical area.

Still, many species call this area home the year round, and the number of birds wintering in the area is often phenomenal. The area of the county that borders the Canadian border is one of the premier Important Bird Areas in the state and highlights the Cascade Loop of the Great Washington State Birding Trail.

The following birds have been recorded in Whatcom County, Washington (for a checklist of Washington State birds, go to http://www.wabirder.com for a site with links to other checklists, see Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center.)


Below is a partial checklist of county birds

*denotes birds that nest or have nested here. (*) denotes uncertain nesting status.

You can download the current Whatcom County checklist here.

[table  th="0"]

Red-throated Loon,Pacific Loon

Common Loon*,Yellow-billed Loon

Pied-billed Grebe*,Horned Grebe

Eared Grebe,Red-necked Grebe

Western Grebe,Clark’s Grebe

Northern Fulmar,Sooty Shearwater

Short-tailed Shearwater,Leach’s Storm Petrel

Fork-tailed,Storm Petrel

American White Pelican,Brown Pelican

Double-crested  Cormorant*,Brandt’s Cormorant

Pelagic Cormorant*,American Bittern*

Great Blue Heron*,Great Egret

Snowy Egret,Cattle Egret

Little Blue Heron,Green Heron*

Black-crowned Night Heron,Tundra Swan

Trumpeter Swan,Greater White-fronted Goose

Lesser Snow Goose,Brant

Canada Goose*,Wood Duck*

Green-winged Teal,American Black Duck

Mallard*,Northern Pintail

Blue-winged Teal*,Cinnamon Teal*

Northern Shoveler,Gadwall*

Eurasian Wigeon,American Wigeon


Ring-necked Duck,Tufted Duck

Greater Scaup,Lesser Scaup

King Eider,Harlequin Duck*

Long-tailed Duck,Black Scoter

Surf Scoter,White-winged Scoter

Common Goldeneye,Barrow’s Goldeneye*

Bufflehead (*),Hooded Merganser*

Common Merganser*,Red-breasted Merganser

Ruddy Duck,Turkey Vulture*

Osprey*,White-tailed Kite

Bald Eagle*,Northern Harrier*

Sharp-shinned Hawk*,Cooper’s Hawk*

Northern Goshawk*,Swainson’s Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk*,Ferruginous Hawk

Rough-legged Hawk,Golden Eagle

American Kestrel*,Merlin*

Gyrfalcon,Prairie Falcon

Peregrine Falcon*,Gray Partridge

Chukar,Ring-necked Pheasant*

Spruce Grouse*,Blue Grouse*

White-tailed Ptarmigan*,Ruffed Grouse*

Northern Bobwhite,California Quail*

Virginia Rail*,Sora*

American Coot*,Sandhill Crane

Black-bellied Plover,Lesser Golden Plover

Semipalmated Plover,Killdeer*

Black Oystercatcher*,American Avocet

Greater Yellowlegs,Lesser Yellowlegs

Solitary Sandpiper,Willet

Wandering Tattler,Spotted Sandpiper*

Whimbrel,Long-billed Curlew

Hudsonian Godwit,Bar-tailed Godwit

Marbled Godwit,Ruddy Turnstone

Black Turnstone,Surfbird

Red Knot,Sanderling

Semipalmated Sandpiper,Western Sandpiper

Least Sandpiper,Baird’s Sandpiper

Pectoral Sandpiper,Sharp-tailed Sandpiper

Rock Sandpiper,Dunlin

Stilt Sandpiper,Short-billed Dowitcher

Long-billed Dowitcher,Common Snipe*

Wilson’s Phalarope,Red-necked Phalarope

Red Phalarope,Pomarine Jaeger

Parasitic Jaeger,Long-tailed Jaeger

South Polar Skua,Franklin’s Gull

Little Gull,Bonaparte’s Gull

Heermann’s Gull,Mew Gull

Ring-billed Gull,California Gull

Herring Gull,Thayer’s Gull

Western Gull,Glaucous-winged Gull*

Glaucous Gull,Black-legged Kittiwake

Sabine’s Gull,Ross’ Gull

Caspian Tern*,Elegant Tern

Common Tern,Arctic Tern

Forster’s Tern,Black Tern

Common Murre,Pigeon Guillemot*

Marbled Murrelet*,Ancient Murrelet

Cassin’s Auklet,Rhinoceros Auklet

Tufted Puffin(*),Rock Pigeon*

Band-tailed Pigeon*,Mourning Dove*

Yellow-billed Cuckoo(*),Barn Owl*

Western Screech Owl*,Great Horned Owl*

Snowy Owl,Northern Hawk Owl

Northern Pygmy Owl*,Burrowing Owl

Spotted Owl*,Barred Owl*

Great Gray Owl,Long-eared Owl*

Short-eared Owl*,Boreal Owl

Northern Saw-whet Owl*,Common Nighthawk*

Common Poorwill,Black Swift*

Vaux’s Swift*,White-throated Swift

Anna’s Hummingbird*,Calliope Hummingbird*

Rufous Hummingbird*,Belted Kingfisher*

Lewis’ Woodpecker (*),Red-naped Sapsucker

Red-breasted Sapsucker*,Downy Woodpecker*

Hairy Woodpecker*,White-headed Woodpecker

Three-toed Woodpecker*,Black-backed Woodpecker

Northern Flicker*,Pileated Woodpecker*

Olive-sided Flycatcher*,Western Wood Pewee*

Willow Flycatcher*,Least Flycatcher

Hammond’s Flycatcher*,Dusky Flycatcher

Pacific-slope Flycatcher*,Say’s Phoebe

Western Kingbird*,Eastern Kingbird*

Horned Lark*,Purple Martin (*)

Tree Swallow*,Violet-green Swallow*

Northern Rough-winged Swallow*,Bank Swallow

Cliff Swallow*,Barn Swallow*

Gray Jay*,Steller’s Jay*

Blue Jay, Western Scrub Jay

Clark’s Nutcracker*,Black-billed Magpie,

American/Northwestern Crow*,Common Raven*

Black-capped Chickadee*,Mountain Chickadee

Boreal Chickadee (*),Chestnut-backed Chickadee*

Bushtit*,Red-breasted Nuthatch*

White-breasted Nuthatch,Pygmy Nuthatch

Brown Creeper*,Rock Wren

Canyon Wren,Bewick’s Wren*

House Wren*,Winter Wren*

Marsh Wren*,American Dipper*

Golden-crowned Kinglet*,Ruby-crowned Kinglet(*)

Western Bluebird(*),Townsend’s Solitaire*

Veery*,Swainson’s Thrush*

Hermit Thrush*,American Robin*

Varied Thrush*,Gray Catbird

Northern Mockingbird,American Pipit*

Bohemian Waxwing (*),Cedar Waxwing*

Northern Shrike,Loggerhead Shrike

European Starling*,Solitary Vireo*

Hutton’s Vireo*,Warbling Vireo*

Red-eyed Vireo*,Orange-crowned Warbler*

Nashville Warbler*,Yellow Warbler*

Cape May Warbler,Yellow-rumped Warbler*

Black-throated Gray,Warbler*

Townsend’s Warbler*,Hermit Warbler

Palm Warbler,Black and White Warbler

American Redstart (*),Ovenbird

Northern Waterthrush,MacGillivray’s Warbler*

Common Yellowthroat*,Wilson’s Warbler*

Yellow-breasted Chat,Western Tanager*

Black-headed Grosbeak*,Lazuli Bunting*

Indigo Bunting,Green-tailed Towhee

Spotted Towhee*,American Tree Sparrow

Chipping Sparrow*,Brewer’s Sparrow

Black-throated Sparrow,Lark Bunting

Savannah Sparrow*,Fox Sparrow*

Song Sparrow*,Lincoln’s Sparrow*

Swamp Sparrow,White-throated Sparrow

Golden-crowned Sparrow (*),White-crowned Sparrow*

Harris’ Sparrow,Dark-eyed Junco*

Lapland Longspur,Snow Bunting

McKay’s Bunting,Bobolink

Red-winged Blackbird*,Western Meadowlark*

Yellow-headed Blackbird*,Rusty Blackbird

Brewer’s Blackbird*,Brown-headed Cowbird*

Northern Oriole*,Brambling

Rosy Finch*,Pine Grosbeak*

Purple Finch*,Cassin’s Finch(*)

House Finch*,Red Crossbill*

White-winged Crossbill (*),Common Redpoll

Pine Siskin*,American Goldfinch*

Evening Grosbeak*,House Sparrow*