The Birds of Novato

What birds do we have here? The following list contains birds that can be regularly found in Novato. Some are more abundant than others and some can be more easily found in other parts of the county. Uncommon and locally rare species are excluded from this list. What constitutes “rarity” is of course subject to […]

Backyard Birdsong

Why Birds Sing: Birds make many sounds to communicate. Often they will have different sounds to stay in contact, beg for food, or sound an alarm, for example. But most well known is the phenomenon of song: these longer, more complex, sometimes musical series of notes are the center of spring’s soundtrack. As temperatures warm […]

Big Year #2: Three Week Update

Big Year #2: Three Week Update Earlier this month, I introduced my undertaking of a “Thoreauvian Big Year,” an attempt to see as many bird species as possible this year within a ~10 mile radius of my home in southern Novato, while transporting myself only by feet and bike rather than big gas-powered machines. On January […]

Varied Thrush

Photo above by Eugene Beckes on Flickr The varied thrush is the second of our two larger thrushes, along with the American robin (some outdated names include “winter robin” and “mountain robin”). But where the robin is familiar, the varied thrush is mysterious. While everyone knows robins, to most people in our latitudes the varied […]

American Robin

American Robin Robins are the most familiar of our thrushes: large and visible, comfortable in both human neighborhoods and forests, widespread and abundant across the country, and present all year round in much of it, including here in the Bay Area. Although they seem to have gathered an association with spring in many people’s minds, […]

Thrushes – Overview

Thrushes The thrush family (Turdidae) is a group of medium-small to medium-large songbirds represented in our area by five species: two big colorful thrushes (robin and varied thrush), two small brown thrushes (hermit and Swainson’s thrush), and the western bluebird. All have small, thin bills for feeding primarily on bugs and berries. This means that […]