WESTERN BLUEBIRDS-- MIGRATORY OR RESIDENT?

Russell Rogers rrogers122 at attbi.com
Fri Mar 15 21:29:59 PST 2002


Hi Tweeters,

I have studied this species in western WA in depth and can comment on
its seasonal status.

Western Bluebirds (WEBL) breeding in western WA generally leave for
points south. There is one banding recovery that I am aware of to lend
some "proof" of this. A bird banded at Fort Lewis was captured south of
Portland. Actually, now that I think about it, there are two banding
recoveries that I know of, the other being a bird banded at Fort Lewis
and recovered in Grays Harbor County, so perhaps they migrate west to
Japan!

Believe which ever you like. I believe they winter at least as far south
as the Willamette Valley. My "guess" is that they go much further south
in to California and western Mexico, but that is only a guess. Where
ever they go, they tend to disperse from their breeding grounds around
the end of August, and where ever they went, they tend to return around
the end of February and early March. Now, that said, there are
individuals, and sometimes small groups, that will remain somewhere in
the lowlands of western WA all winter. Where these individuals breed is
unknown. I would think that they are generally local birds (i.e. west of
the cascades), but, that too would be a guess.

Historically, pre-1940, I think WEBL were much more common in the
winter. There are some references to them wintering in the south Puget
Sound in numbers. But, as they began to disappear as breeders, they also
disappeared as wintering residents too.

There are enough winter records of WEBL for all of western WA to make
the declaration of a clear arrival and departure date implausible. I
think that the best we can do on a regional level is describe it in
general terms as I did above.

I hope that helps,

Russell

--
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Russell Rogers
6637 Glenwood Drive SW
Olympia WA 98512
(360) 709-9870
mailto:rrogers122 at attbi.com
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Russell Rogers
Fish and Wildlife Biologist
Point Whitney Shellfish Laboratory
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
1000 Point Whitney Road
Brinnon WA 98320
(360) 586-1498 ex 221
mailto:rogerrer at dfw.wa.gov
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