Birds

 With over 10,000 species, birds are one of the most diverse animal groupings inhabiting ecosystems the whole planet through, from the Arctic to the Antarctic.  They are warm-blooded vertebrates, with fore-limbs modified into wings, skins covered with feathers, and a skull and lower jaw that extend forward into mandibles which make a beak.  All birds reproduce by laying eggs.

 

   
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 Western Grebe  (Aechmophorus occidentalis)  
 Western Grebe Description: A common winter resident, this diving bird is famous for its courtship dance. Black and white with a long, straight neck, its bill is yellow and very long. Sexes look alike. These birds labor to get airborne and often must run on the water surface before takeoff. Dives to catch sculpin, herring, perch, and smelt. Length 18 in (46 cm); Wingspan 40 in (102 cm).  
     

 

Double Crested Cormorant

 

(Phalacrocorax auritus)

 
 Double Crested Cormorant Description: These fish-eating birds are common locally in the fall and winter. Black with orange throat pouch. Sexes look alike. Dives from the surface to 60 ft (18.29 m), swimming underwater with great agility in the quest for food. When in flight, head held higher than the neck. Lacking the protective oils of a duck, these birds must dry their wings, or risk hypothermia. Length 27 in (69 cm); Wingspan 50 in (127 cm).  
     

 

Canada Goose

 

(Branta canadensis)

 
 Canada Goose Description: Our most common goose, with nearby resident populations. Gathers in large flocks, and natural populations migrate in large V-shaped formations. Characteristic honking a familiar sound. Sexes look alike. Feeds on sea lettuce and marsh plants. Length 16 - 25 in (41 - 63 cm); Wingspan 50 - 68 in (127 - 173 cm).  
     

 

Brant Goose

 

(Branta bernicla)

 
 Brant Geese Description: A small, dark goose that breeds in the Arctic and winters locally. Black on breast and belly, white on neck and underside. Flight is fast and low over the water. Feeds on aquatic grasses like eelgrass, which it harvests by tipping. Once almost extinct, populations are now recovering. Sexes look alike. Length 17 in (43 cm); Wingspan 46 in (117 cm).  
     

 

Mallard

 

(Anas platyrhynchos)

 
 Mallard Description: One of the most widespread ducks on Earth, found in North and Central America, Eurasia and Africa. Resident year round. Males identified by metallic green head and white neck band; females are mottled brown. Their voice is a loud "quack." Feeds in shallow water on variety of plants, crustaceans and mollusks. Length 16 in (41 cm); Wingspan 36 in (91 cm).  
     

 

Bald Eagle

 

(Haliaeetus leucucephalus)

 
 bald eaglec Description: Occasionally seen along the shoreline, this fish eagle is easily identified by its white head and tail. Body brown, with beak and talons yellow. Sexes look alike. Flies with deep strokes and soars on flattened wings. Prey is caught in the talons. Length 32 in (81 cm); Wingspan 80 in (2 m).  
     

 

Great Blue Heron

 

(Ptilosarcus gurneyi)

 
 Great Blue Heron Description: This common, year-round resident is the largest North American heron. Head white, with darker underparts blue-gray. Breeding adults have long gray plume feathers on breast and back. Sexes look alike. Walks in the shallows, often standing motionless for long periods before spearing a fish on its long, sharp bill. Nests in treetop colonies called rookeries. Length 38 in (97 cm); Wingspan 70 in (1.78 m).  
     

 

Killdeer

 

(Charadrius vociferous)

 
 Killdeer Description: This common type of plover has brown upper body with a white underside, black neck bands, and orange on the upper tail and lower back. Sexes look alike. Pretends to be injured with a broken wing in order to lure predators away from its egg-filled nest on the ground. Repeats its name as a call. Length 8 in (20 cm).  
     

 

Sanderling

 

(Calidris alba)

 
 Sanderling

Description: Sometimes seen along our sandy beaches, this small bird is light gray in winter and brownish-red in spring. Sexes look alike. In flight a broad, white wing stripe and black wrist are prominent. Length 6.5 in (16.5 cm).

 

 

 

 

Least Sandpiper

 

(Calidris minutilla)

 
 Least Sandpiper Description: This locally common shore bird can be seen in the Edmonds Marsh, as well as along the shoreline. Feeds by probing in the mud as well as picking food from the surface. Darker brown in the summer, lighter in the winter. Sexes look alike. Length 4.75 in (12.07 cm).  
     

 

Western Sandpiper

 

(Calidris mauri)

 
 Western Sandpiper Description: A locally common shorebird found on sandbars and tidal mudflats. In the summer back and crown are reddish, in the fall plumage is more gray. Sexes look alike. This bird probes for food at water's edge. Length 5.25 in (13.34 cm).  
     

 

Glaucous-Winged Gull

 

(Larus glaucescens)

 
 Glaucous-Winged Gull Description: One of 12 types of gull that frequent the Puget Sound area. This abundant gull is gray and white with a stocky body, webbed feet and hooked bill. Juveniles have a mottled, dirty, gray-brown appearance. Sexes look alike. Will drop shellfish onto the rocky beach from high in the sky to break open shells. In summer preys on eggs and young birds of other seabirds. Length 22 in (56 cm); Wingspan 54 in (137 cm).  
     

 

Western Gull

 

(Larus occidentalis)

 
 Western Gull Description: One of 12 types of gull that frequent the Puget Sound area. This occasionally seen gull is gray and white with a stocky body, webbed feet and hooked bill. It has darker wings than the Glaucous-Winged Gull. Juveniles have a mottled, dirty, gray-brown appearance. Sexes look alike. Will drop shellfish onto the rocky beach from high in the sky to break open shells. In summer preys on eggs and young birds of other seabirds. Length 21 in (53 cm); Wingspan 55 in (140 cm).  
     

 

Ring-Billed Gull

 

(Larus delawarensis)

 
 Ring-Billed Gull Description: One of 12 types of gull that frequent the Puget Sound area. This uncommon gull is gray and white with a stocky body, webbed feet and hooked bill. It is smaller, and has darker wings than the Glaucous-Winged Gull, with a black wrist. Complete black ring on beak. Juveniles have a mottled, dirty, gray-brown appearance. Sexes look alike. Length 16 in (41 cm); Wingspan 49 in (124 cm).  
     

 

Mew Gull

 

(Larus canus)

 
 Mew Gull Description: One of 12 types of gull that frequent the Puget Sound area. This common gull is gray and white with a stocky body, webbed feet and hooked bill. It has darker wings than the Glaucous-Winged Gull, with a black wrist. Juveniles have a mottled, dirty, gray-brown appearance. Sexes look alike. Length 14 in (36 cm); Wingspan 42 in (107 cm).  
     

 

Bonaparte's Gull

 

(Larus philadelphia)

 
 Bonaparte's Gull Description: One of 12 types of gull that frequent the Puget Sound area. This common visitor in fall and winter is gray and white with a stocky body, webbed feet and hooked bill, and black head. It has gray wings with a white wrist. Juveniles lack the black head, and have a black tail band. Sexes look alike. Length 11 in (28 cm); Wingspan 32 in (81 cm).  
     

 

Common Tern

 

(Sterna hirundo)

 
 Common Tern Description: This common visitor in the fall is slender, with long narrow white wings, a forked tail and pointed, bright orange-red bill. Black cap. Sexes look alike. Flight is elegant with bill pointed downward as eyes search for fish. Length 14 in 36 cm); Wingspan 31 in (79 cm).  
     

 

Rhinoceros Auklet

 

(Cerorhinca monocerata)

 
 Rhinoceros Auklet Description: A small, short-billed, dark-backed bird. Bill is yellow. Sexes look alike. Common locally, this bird displays a white face pattern in summer. Nests in burrows or rock slides. Length 11.5 in (29.21 cm).  
     

 

Belted Kingfisher

 

(Ceryle alcyon)

 
 Belted Kingfisher Description: This common resident dives headlong into the water to catch small fish. It often hovers before diving. Head and back blue, breast white with a separate white band around the neck. Wrists black. Females have an ochre band across the breast. Large head with crest. Chattering call. Often seen locally in and around the Edmonds Marina. Length 12 in (30 cm).