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ARCATA'S CITY MARSH (excepting waterfowl)


Marsh Wren
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These birds, along with Song Sparrows, absolutely rule the local marshes during the breeding season.  The wrens' weird, mechanical phrases, clicking and buzzing from the brush, follow you along all of the trails.

Photographs of birds will be added to this space!

Song Sparrow
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This is the other most common bird to hear in our marshes.  Their short phrases almost always start by repeating the same 2 or 3 notes (think Beethoven's 5th Symphony), followed closely by a fast, varied trill,

present year-round but strong singing April through July.

Golden-crowned Sparrow
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Black Phoebe
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My new favorite sparrow song!  It's a lazy, eerie, 3-note thing ("Oh, dear me" or "I'm so tired"), heard only from late September to early May due to spending their summers in Canada and Alaska.  The Burton/Anderson book describes them as "one of our most numerous winter landbirds," often found in mixed flocks of other sparrow types in brushy areas.  (Thanks to Jennifer Dean Mervinsky for the recording!)





This phoebe's "song" is a sharp, repeated "tutseer," repeated from its various favorite perches while watching for insects and going after them in quick swoops, year-round.  They're usually found near water, but a pair consistently nested in the back parking lot of Eureka High the many years I worked there.  

Red-winged Blackbird
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This musical-but-slightly-grating song will signal to many humans that they're near some type of marsh, from Canada to Florida and California.  The males' constant singing is in defense of their polygynous-based  territories containing several females. Present year-round.

Pacific-slope Flycatcher
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I call this a "reverse wolf whistle," repeated after pauses from the trees and shrubs along the marsh trails.  Once tuned into them, you'll realize that they're extremely common here in the spring and summer in all types of moist forests and understories.

Steller's Jay
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Steller's Jays have a variety of squawking calls, along with a number of other sounds, including a rapid, unnerving rattle.

Orange-crowned Warbler
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This bird's song can be remembered as a "jitterbug" for its fast, repeated trill.  They live in most of our habitats, from brushy areas to forest edges, riparian understory, the marsh forests and young clear-cuts.  

Black-capped Chickadee
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This chickadee is restricted to the lowlands of HumCo, and shares that area with its cousin, the Chestnut-backed Chickadee, which lives all over the county.  The Black-capped has a stronger, "chick-a-dee-dee-dee" call than the Chestnut-back's, and has a nice, pitch-dropping, "cheese-burg-er" song that the Chestnut-backed Chickadee completely lacks.  The Black-capped is pretty restricted to our lowlands, near water, preferring alders, cottonwood, and willow thickets.  Both species are found at our marshes. 

Yellow-breasted Chat
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This loud bird is super fun in that it sounds like several different birds hiding in a bush beside some water.  They actually have around 60 different song types, but only hit 4-6 in any 5min period of singing.  Once thought to be a warbler, it's now known from its DNA that it's the sole surviving member of an ancient lineage, and shares its family with no one.    

Red-shouldered Hawk
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Red-shouldered Hawks, both juvies and adults, make this call.  This pair showed up in our redwood treetops about fledging time, we've never seen them here before, and so I'm guessing it's a parent and offspring out exploring.  They generally prefer forest edges along the coast, and are often seen peering down from the electrical wires and fence posts on Myrtle Avenue between Eureka and 3 Corners Market.

Belted Kingfisher
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The wonderful Belted Kingfisher makes this signature call as it flies along much of our coastline and our bays, estuaries, lakes, streams, and rivers hunting small fish.  The surprise for me was that it nests in holes in dirt banks that it excavates.  (Sorry for the poor recording....they seem to detect my desires towards their be remedied!)

Cackling Geese
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Cackling Geese spend their summers in the Aleutian Islands and the farthest far north of Alaska, but overwinter here and the Central Valley and points south.  For decades they were thought to be extinct from foxes introduced to their islands and overhunting, but conservation efforts have moved their population to be well over 100,000.  These are the "miniature Canadian Geese" that show up from February to April in our coastal lowlands.   

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