A Forest Full of Birds

Sutro Cloud Forest is always alive with birdsong. We couldn’t identify the birds from their calls; we’re not that expert at birding. We were delighted, therefore, to hear from someone much more knowledgeable. Keith McAllister sent us a list of nearly thirty species from one day’s birding around the forest in late March 2010. (His list is given here, and illustrated below.)

That day, Twin Peaks had only four species visible: the Common Raven, the White-crowned Sparrow, the Song Sparrow and the Golden-crowned Sparrow (“maybe, or maybe immature White-crowned”).  Two of these, the raven and the song-sparrow were also found in the forest. Similarly, the open Native Garden at the summit of Mt Sutro had only three bird species – the two hummingbirds and the bushtit – all of which were also found in the forest.

It would appear that chaparral and brush don’t actually form a richer environment for birds than do eucalyptus forests with acacia, blackberry and ivy and 90 other plant species.

We’ve illustrated the list with pictures from the public domain (made by government employees or placed in public domain by the maker) or Wikipedia’s creative commons licensing (the photographer’s name is in brackets under each picture).

Edited to Add: Craig Newmark, who lives on the edge of Sutro forest, has kindly given us permission to use pictures he took at his birdfeeders. Photographs  from his bird list are labeled ‘CN’.

Clicking on any picture gives a larger version.

(including Green Belt forest south of Clarendon)

Red tailed hawk (CN)

Red shouldered Hawk

Cooper's Hawk


Band-tailed_Pigeon (Peter Wallack)

Anna's hummingbird (CN)

Allen's Hummingbird


American robin (CN)

Northern flicker (CN)

Downy woodpecker (CN)


Hairy woodpecker M (Grantus)

pacific slope flycatcher (Goingslo)

Hutton's Vireo


Western scrub jay (CN)

Steller's jay (CN)

Chestnut backed chicadee (CN)


American crow (MDF)

Common raven

Pygmy Nuthatch (CN)


Winter Wren (USDA)

Ruby crowned Kinglet

Bushtit on blackberries


Hermit Thrush

Cedar Waxwing (CN)

Townsend's warbler (CN)


Wilson's warbler (CN)

Song sparrow (CN)

Darkeyed junco (CN)


Lesser goldfinch (CN)

Mr McAllister notes that the Cedar Waxwing  was in a pine tree at the forest/Twin Peaks boundary. There was also a Varied Thrush (or a Song Sparrow mimicking a Varied Thrush.)

We think that birding through the seasons might well yield more species that use the forest. Mr Newmark, who lives right next to the forest, has had 30 species visit his bird-feeders; about half do not overlap with the list above.

UPDATE: We’ve added more species in another post, for a total of 44 45 species.

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18 Responses to A Forest Full of Birds

  1. Sutro Resident says:

    On top of the above listed birds I see House Finches, Golden Crowned Sparrows, White Crowned Sparrows and another unidentified ground feeder – medium sized brown bird with a white speckled breast.

    The sights and sounds of birds is what I love about living on Mt. Sutro – and seeing the magnificent hawks cruise by never gets old.

  2. HarryEye says:

    Wow, what a variey!
    Thanks for helping me identify some of the ones I recorded.

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  4. webmaster says:

    Another reliable birder reported another seven species in late April: Olive-sided flycatcher, Cassin’s vireo, orange-crowned warbler, yellow-rumped warbler, black-headed grosbeak, purple finch, and bullock’s oriole.

    That makes nearly forty species documented. And it’s early in the year.

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