‘Songbird’ is a widely used but somewhat fuzzy category, corresponding loosely to passerine any species in the order Passeriformes. Perhaps more meaningful is the term ‘perching bird,’ in reference to the arrangement of toes: 3 pointing forward and 1 back, making it easier to hang onto a branch. Largest of the North American Passeriformes (and actually not a bad songster either, once we’ve tuned our ears to the Northwestern symphony) is the creator: salmon-belcher, river-dribbler, cache-robber Raven.

“Songbirds” or passerines form the crown of the family tree.

Southeast Alaska is an uninviting place for most songbirds in winter. Most species, and a huge majority of individuals, head south in winter.

In this section

Common birds of Southeast Alaska

This field-ID laminate introduces common land-&-sea birds of Southeast. Beginning birders can be overwhelmed by the number of species in…

1998 winter newsletter. “Our birds” in Mexico

Report from a visit to the mountains of central Mexico, in search of migrants who summer with us here in…

Evening grosbeaks

Bob Armstrong’s Guide to the birds of Alaska, 6th edition, lists evening grosbeak as ‘casual’ in SE, SC and Central…

2018 | Richard Carstensen |

2007 spring newsletter, American Dippers: Songsters by the streams

The Spring 2007 Discoveries includes a feature essay by Mary Willson on dippers, from many years of research with a…

Spring 2007 | Mary Willson | 12 pages