Posted by: Sandy Steinman | May 17, 2015

Muir Woods Dawn Chorus Birding 5/16/15

Yesterday I spent 5:20 AM – 10:00 AM at Muir Woods National Monument to listen to the “Dawn Chorus” as part of the  Master Birding Class. We started before sunrise. It was shady and cool in 40’s most of morning. We walked both in and near Muir Woods.

I  mostly heard but also saw 33 species. Several group members observed a chipmunk raiding a Pacific Wren nest and take five young and the adult wrens’ response. We had a good look at a Pileated Woodpecker at the top of a Snag. We also heard a Spotted Owl when first started.

There were a fair number of plants in bloom with most prolific being Cow Parsnip, Blue Elderberry, Red Clintonia and Star Flower.

See complete bird and plant lists by clicking read more

Bird List Muir Woods 5/16/15

Wild Turkey  2

Turkey Vulture  1

Red-shouldered Hawk  1

Band-tailed Pigeon  X

Mourning Dove  X

Great Horned Owl  2

Spotted Owl  1

Anna’s Hummingbird  1

Allen’s Hummingbird  2

Acorn Woodpecker  1

Downy Woodpecker  X

Northern Flicker  1

Pileated Woodpecker  1

Olive-sided Flycatcher  1

Pacific-slope Flycatcher  X

Hutton’s Vireo  1

Warbling Vireo  X

Steller’s Jay  X

Common Raven  X

Chestnut-backed Chickadee  X

Brown Creeper  X

Pacific Wren  X

Golden-crowned Kinglet  X

Swainson’s Thrush  X

Hermit Thrush  2

American Robin  X

Orange-crowned Warbler  1

Wilson’s Warbler  X

Spotted Towhee  X

California Towhee  2

Song Sparrow  1

Dark-eyed Junco  6

Purple Finch  1

Leaders’ List also included: Black-headed Grosbeak, swallow sp., pygmy nuthatch.

Plant List Muir Woods 5/16/15

Cow Parsnip/ Heracleum maximum

California Buckeye/Aesculus californica

Blue Elderberry/Sambucus nigra ssp. caerulea

California Blackberry/Rubus Ursinus

Thimbleberry/ Rubus parviflorus

Nightshade/ Solanum americanum

Redwood Sorrel/Oxalis oregana

Red Clintonia/Clintonia andrewsiana

Fringecups/ Tellima grandiflora

Fat False Solomon’s Seal/Mianthemum racemosum formerly Smilacina racemosa

Star flower/Trientalis latifolia

Wild Cucumber or Manroot/Marah oreganus

Redwood Violet/Viola sempervirens

Wild Ginger/Asarum caudatum

Milkmaids, Bitter cress or California Toothwort/Cardamine californica

Hedge Nettle/Stacys chamissonis

Common Whipplea/ Whipplea modesta

Fairy Bells/prosartes hookeri (formerly Disporum hookeri

Mammal List Muir Woods 5/16/15

Eastern Gray Squirrel

Sonoma Chipmunk


  1. I first heard the term dawn chorus from a “bird language” teacher named Jon Young, but I see it goes way back, and that there is even an International Dawn Chorus Day on the first Sunday in May. One of the things I like about visiting Chicago in summer is hearing a “real” dawn chorus (compared to what we usually hear here).


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