|Shorebirds refers to a
wide variety of bird species that make their living in or near the tidal zone. Here at
Anchor Bay, some hunt for food in the sand, others among the rocks.
many of these birds may be in their winter plumage, appearing much duller than their more
distinctive breeding plumage, making identification difficult. A sharp eye on food
gathering habits and location, bill size and shape will catch most of them. The tough ones
will require special knowledge and experience.
The key to seeing birds and properly identifying them is knowing ahead of time what to
look for. Before going to the beach, review your bird book for the species most likely to
be encountered. It is more enjoyable to be watching the birds than to be searching through
a pocket guide, and doing a little homework will add immensely to your outing. We
recommend "Western Birds," one of the Peterson Field Guides
While exploring a section of coastline, it is easy to see that some stretches are sandy
beach while others are rocky or have cliffs, or sand dunes. Some have streams that empty
into coves and bays that emerge from woods and thickets. Each nook and cranny provides a
type of hiding place or type of food suited to only a select species. Knowing a little
about what is likely to be somewhere helps us to see what we would miss out of ignorance.
It's funny to watch people walk right by something special and never notice. Flocks of
rare birds could be buzzing past their ears and they wouldn't know it.
There are many birds not on this list that you will see while beachcombing. These are
terrestrial birds whose habitats overlap the beach. Ravens and Turkey Vultures
often ride the updrafts above the cliffs and will take advantage of any feeding
opportunities on the beach below. I've seen Black Phoebes and Yellow-rumped
Warblers working the back beach. I've seen a Burrowing Owl living in a
driftwood stump. Swallows will gather bugs where creeks meet the shoreline. Starlings
and Blackbirds often pick through the intertidal rocks. Egrets and the Great
Blue Heron sometimes will fish while standing on an offshore kelp mat.