2018 SWOCC Elliott State Forest Draft Recreation Plan

Chapter 9. Birds and Birding

Fig. 9.1. Two Barn Swallows. Photo by Daniel Patton, BLM Dean Creek Elk Viewing Area, May 22, 2018.

Birds and Birding
By Matthew Smith, Tara Boyd, and Daniel Patton

Current Use

Currently, birding in the Elliott is just used as a recreational activity and for hunting, however, there is little to no precise data on locations of bird nesting or hunting spots in the Elliott which make these activities difficult without luck on your side.

The Audubon Society of Portland held a two-month long “Birds of the Elliott State Forest” art exhibit in their facility in 2017 (Moulton 2017). The artist, Suzie Moulton, is a huge fan of the Elliott State Forest as hiking through it helped her through some personal tough times. Suzie sketched each bird she came across while hiking through the Elliott, and later created an assortment of different birds from textiles, which were showcased in the Audubon Society’s headquarters. She even created a game called Project Bird Baby Nest with the goal to entice people and children into learning more about birds native to the Elliott State Forest.

Birding is a major recreational industry,” stated Marty Giles (personal communication, May 22, 2018). Birding is an activity where one can watch, photograph, and/or record data of the various bird species. The Elliott State Forest and bordering lands are the home of some 103 different species of birds, give or take (Decker 2011: E-6-9).

Fig. 9.2. Red-Winged Blackbird. Photo by Daniel Patton, BLM Dean Creek Elk Viewing Area, May 22, 2018.

Roadblocks to Development / Activity

Depending on the recreation areas that are close to birding areas, they may scare birds away making bird watching very difficult. A study led by Dr. Christopher McClure found that “[research] results demonstrate that noise alone is enough to cause some birds to avoid a site.” (Gray, The Telegraph) Road and trail accessibility may hinder desires for proceeding to the locations, as people prefer easier to get to sites (personal experience).  The roads should be freed of potholes and the trails cleared of debris. Signage is a must in order to keep travelers from getting lost, possibly funded through donations and/or using funds generated by the options listed under “Income / School Trust Fund Potential”. Seasonal patterns - they may be  in one area of the forest during one season and completely gone during another, so seasonal areas could be utilized for other recreation activities during migration periods

Map 9.1. “Map showing listed species habitat and lack of recreation potential” (Sim et al 2014: 32).

Income / School Trust Fund Potential

There is potential for School Trust Funds by selling maps of specific bird observation, nesting, and/or hunting locations (after research is done to find these locations) to those unwilling to adventure out and find them on their own. It would cost around $1.27 to create one map, which could then be sold between $3 and $10, depending on the rate of return, which would be a margin of $1.73 to $8.73 each map. Another possibility would be to sell postcards with pictures of the birds in the Elliott on them. Postcards are typically cheap to print, around $0.71 each, and can be sold for $5 a piece, giving a margin of at least $4.29 per postcard. (“Same Day Postcard Mailings”) Selling other birding merchandise and memorabilia (i.e. magnets, coffee cups, posters, etc.) could be another potential but the margin may not be as great. We would need a gift shop for these, or work something out with local businesses surrounding the Elliott to sell the items through them.

Birding passes could be a possibility, but I would not suggest it because that might deter people instead of attract them. The “Oregon Birding Association” awards grants up to $750 for each project that promotes “education, enjoyment, conservation, and science of birds and birding in Oregon”. This could be a great opportunity for income to at least start a birding project for the Elliott.

Recommendations for/against Development

Fencing off key habitats and nesting zones for bird safety and livability with specifically marked zones for birding would be an option. Research is needed to locate prime nesting zones.

Birding locations may interrupt other recreation activities. To prevent this, birding locations should remain separated from the other recreation locations while birds inhabit the areas. In Map 9.1, the circular tan zones are areas said to be protected due to spotted owl  habitats. It appears as though only logging is not permitted.

Table 9.1. Birds of the Elliott (Decker et al. 2011: E-6-9).

Common Name

Species Name


Chickadee, Black-Capped

Poecile atricapillus

Endemic Native

Chickadee, Chestnut-Backed

Poecile rufescens 

Endemic Native

Corvus Crow

Corvus brachyrhychos

Endemic Native

Corvus Raven

Corvus corax 

Endemic Native

Creeper, Brown

Certhia americana

Endemic Native

Crossbill, Red

Loxia curvirostra

Endemic Native

Dipper, American

Cinclus mexicanus

Endemic Native

Finch, Purple

Carpodacus purpureus

Endemic Native

Flicker, Northern

Colaptes auratus

Endemic Native

Grosbeak, Evening

Coccothraustes vespertina

Endemic Native

Heron, Great Blue

Ardea herodias 

Endemic Native

Jay, Gray

Perisoreus canadensis

Endemic Native

Jay, Steller's

Cyanocitta stelleri

Endemic Native

Jay, Western Scrub

Aphelocoma californica

Endemic Native

Junco, Dark-Eyed

Junco hyemalis

Endemic Native

Kinglet, Golden-Crowned

Regulus satrapa

Endemic Native

Nuthatch, Red-Breasted

Sitta canadensis

Endemic Native

Owl, Barred

Strix varia

Endemic Native

Owl, Great Horned

Bubo virginianus

Endemic Native

Owl, Northern Pygmy

Glaucidium gnoma

Endemic Native

Owl, Northern Saw-Whet

Aegolius acadicus

Endemic Native

Owl, Western Screech

Otus kennicottii

Endemic Native

Siskin, Pine

Carduelis pinus

Endemic Native

Sparrow, Fox

Passerella iliaca

Endemic Native

Sparrow, Song

Melospiza melodia

Endemic Native

Thrush, Varied

Ixoreus naevius

Endemic Native

Towhee, Spotted

Pipilo erythrophthalamus

Endemic Native

Vireo, Hutton's

Vireo huttoni

Endemic Native

Woodpecker, Downy

Picoides pubescens

Endemic Native

Woodpecker, Hairy

Picoides villosus

Endemic Native

Woodpecker, Pileated

Dryocopus pileatus

Endemic Native

Wren, Winter

Troglodytes troglodytes

Endemic Native


Chamaea fasciata

Endemic Native

Sparrow, House

Passer domesticus


Starling, European

Sturnus vulgaris


Dove, Rock

Columba livia

Exotic Oregon Game

Blackbird, Red-Winged

Agelaius phoeniceus


Bunting, Lazuli

Passerina amoena


Cowbird, Brown-Headed

Molothrus ater


Flycatcher, Hammond's

Empidonax hammondii


Flycatcher, Pacific-Slope

Empidonax difficilis


Goldfinch, American

Carduelis tristis


Grosbeak, Black-Headed

Pheucticus melanocephalus


Hawk, Cooper's

Accipiter cooperii


Hawk, Red-Tailed

Buteo jamaicensis


Hawk, Sharp-Shinned

Accipiter striatus


Heron, Green

Butorides virescens


Hummingbird, Anna's

Calypte anna


Hummingbird, Rufous

Selasphorus rufus


Kestrel, American

Falco sparverius



Charadrius vociferus


Kingfisher, Belted

Ceryle alcyon


Nighthawk, Common

Chordeiles minor


Oriole, Northern

Icterus galbula



Pandion haliaetus


Pewee, Western Wood

Contopus sordidulus


Robin, American

Turdus migratorius


Sapsucker, Red-Breasted

Sphyrapicus ruber


Solitaire, Townsend's

Myadestes townsendi


Sparrow, Chipping

Spizella passerina


Sparrow, White-Crowned

Zonotrichia leucophrys


Swallow, Barn

Hirundo rustica


Swallow, Cliff

Petrochelidon pyrrhonota


Swallow, Tree

Tachycineta bicolor


Swallow, Violet-Green

Tachycineta thalassina


Swift, Vaux's

Chaetura vauxi


Tanager, Western

Piranga ludoviciana


Thrush, Hermit

Catharus guttatus


Thrush, Swainson's

Catharus ustulatus


Vireo, Cassin’s

Vireo cassinii


Vireo, Warbling

Vireo gilvus


Vulture, Turkey

Cathartes aura


Warbler, Black-Throated Gray

Dendroica nigrescens


Warbler, Hermit

Dendroica occidentalis


Warbler, MacGillivray's

Oporornis tolmiei


Warbler, Nashville

Vermivora ruficapilla


Warbler, Orange-Crowned

Vermivora celata


Warbler, Townsend's

Dendroica townsendi


Warbler, Wilson's

Wilsonia pusilla


Warbler, Yellow

Dendroica petechia


Warbler, Yellow-Rumped

Dendroica coronata


Waxwing, Cedar

Bombycilla cedrorum


Wren, House

Troglodytes aedon


Yellowthroat, Common

Geothlypis trichas


Nuthatch, White-Breasted

Sitta carolinensis

Oregon Endemic Sensitive

Duck, Merganser

Mergus merganser

Oregon Game

Grouse, Blue

Dendragapus obscurus

Oregon Game

Grouse, Ruffed

Bonasa umbellus

Oregon Game

Dove, Mourning

Zenaida macroura

Oregon Game Migratory

Duck, Hooded Merganser

Lophodytes cucullatus

Oregon Game Migratory

Duck, Wood

Aix sponsa

Oregon Game Migratory

Duck, Harlequin

Histrionicus histrionicus

Oregon Game US Concern

Pigeon, Band-Tailed

Columba fasciata

Oregon Game US Concern

Quail, Mountain

Oreortyx pictus

Oregon Game US Concern

Bluebird, Western

Sialia mexicana

Oregon Migratory Sensitive

Falcon, Peregrine

Falco peregrinus

Oregon Migratory Strategic

Eagle, Bald

Haliaeetus leucocephalus

Oregon Threatened Strategic

Goshawk, Northern

Accipiter gentiles

US Concern

Flycatcher, Little Willow

Empidonax trailii brewsteri

US Migratory Concern

Flycatcher, Olive-Sided

Contopus cooperi

US Migratory Concern

Martin, Purple

Progne subis

US Migratory Concern

Murrelet, Marbled

Brachyramphus marmoratus

US Threatened

Owl, Northern Spotted

Strix occidentalis

US Threatened 


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