Sharon Wootton

More deer wearing radio collars for predator-prey study

The Department of Fish and Wildlife is assessing the impact of wolves and cougars on deer and elk.

 

Snow geese, swans returning to Skagit Valley

The Fir Island Farms Reserve Unit is the best place to view the beautiful white birds.

 

In the mood for a romp in the snow? Get your permit first

Winter recreation permits are for skiing, snowmobiling, dog sledding, snowshoeing, tubing and more.

 

A man photographs Vaux’s swifts during Swift Night Out on Sept. 8 in Monroe. Olivia Vanni / Herald file)<div class="adL"></div></div><div class="adL"></div></div></div><div class="hq gt a10" id=":118" style="margin: 15px 0px; clear: both; font-size: 12.8px; color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif;"></div></div>
                                A man takes a photo of the Vaux Swifts during Swift Night Out on Sept. 8, 2018 in Monroe, Wa. Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Thousands of Vaux’s swifts put on a show at chimney in Monroe

The Vaux’s Happening Project counted a third of a million of the wee birds migrating in Washington.

A man photographs Vaux’s swifts during Swift Night Out on Sept. 8 in Monroe. Olivia Vanni / Herald file)<div class="adL"></div></div><div class="adL"></div></div></div><div class="hq gt a10" id=":118" style="margin: 15px 0px; clear: both; font-size: 12.8px; color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif;"></div></div>
                                A man takes a photo of the Vaux Swifts during Swift Night Out on Sept. 8, 2018 in Monroe, Wa. Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Birds on the brain: Stupefying facts from new avian research

Here is some of the latest information from bird studies that made the news this year.

Can you guess this rare bird? Hint: A group is called a ‘cloud’

One was spotted at Wiley Slough on Fir Island just last month, probably a fall migrant.

The moon is visible in the background as a multitude of migratory Vaux’s swifts flock to roost for the night inside a brick chimney at Chapman Elementary School in Portland, Oregon, on Sept. 13, 2016. (Don Ryan/AP file)

You can watch thousands of Vaux’s swifts funnel into a chimney

On Sept. 8, hang out at the Frank Wagner Center in Monroe to see the migrating birds dive right in.

The moon is visible in the background as a multitude of migratory Vaux’s swifts flock to roost for the night inside a brick chimney at Chapman Elementary School in Portland, Oregon, on Sept. 13, 2016. (Don Ryan/AP file)

Give rattlers a wide berth on the trail

The venomous snakes are shy and retiring — unless you blunder into one.

Missing your hummingbirds? Hummers come and go as they please

The birds are important pollinators of wild and agricultural plants, as well as those in gardens.

Embracing nature: Visit state parks with new book as your guide

Washington State Parks has published its first comprehensive guidebook to Washington’s state parks.

Deep birds: Comormants can dive 150 feet to hunt for fish

Research also shows that the birds can hear under water. Their hearing ability is the same as seals.

Join your local Audubon Society to watch and learn about birds

The groups host bird-watching field trips that can be a short ride up the road or a drive to Canada.

Raptor factors: Vultures can smell death hundreds of feet up

The birds with bald heads and hooked ivory-white beaks get a bad rap — but they are kind of creepy.

If you haven’t, try hiking along Washington’s most scenic rivers

Celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Wild & Scenic River Act, which protects 13,000 miles of rivers.

Keep yourself out of trouble when crossing streams and rivers

Every year more people are killed in the U.S. while crossing a river than are killed by snake bites.

Jogger attacked by territorial barred owl on Mount Erie — twice

These owls are known for their aggressiveness and for a rapid invasion of spotted owl territory.

Choose from four feather-filled festivals this spring

Why not mark the centennial of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act by attending a bird festival?

This column will build up your knowledge about bird nests

Sharon Wootton gathered some interesting facts all about birds and their nests.

Highlights and surprises from the Christmas Bird Count

Birders walk more than 100 miles and count 138 species — including some rare ones.

You can bird-proof your home to prevent window deaths

Studies estimate that billions of birds die after crashing into glass in the U.S. each year.