Backyard Naturalist: Week #2

Where YOU get to be a naturalist in your own backyard.

matt out in nature

Matt out in nature

by Matt Porter
OAS Staff

What a great week of nature observations, made even better knowing you all were out there sharing the same experience! We had a wonderful live session last week to kick-off this blog series with lots of good questions and observations of birds. For those that weren’t able to attend the live session, here’s a recap of some of the Q & A as well as what birds people have been noticing in their own neighborhoods. Sign up for the series is at the bottom.

Q & A Recap From Week 1

Q: Do American Robins migrate? 

A: Yes, Robins do migrate to find available winter food in the form of fruit when the ground freezes and worms and insects are not available.

Here’s a detailed list of questions and answers related to Robin migration written by an ornithologist (someone who studies birds for a living):


Q: When is nesting season for birds?

A: For most birds in North America, the process of breeding and nesting begins to occur in the spring when days begin to get longer. 

Comprehensive article on the general overview of the breeding and nesting process:

How to tell if birds are nesting nearby:


OAS Backyard Naturalist Observations from Week 1:

1. Hayley spotted a Stellars Jay at Riley Ranch Nature Reserve in Bend. Click here for a list of Stellers calls to listen to.

2. Pat has been seeing and hearing Killdeer in the agricultural fields near Tumalo: Click here for a list of Killdeer calls and songs to listen to.

california scrub jay, has blue back and white chest

Bird of the Week:

Common English Name California Scrub Jay

Scientific Name Aphelocoma californica

This bird is probably one of the most conspicuous in any backyard! They are very active and can be quite loud, making them a perfect species for anyone new to birding. This species is part of the highly intelligent Corvidae family along with familiar relatives like the crow, raven, and magpie. The California Scrub Jay adapts to many environments and can be found throughout the state of Oregon. 


Plant of the Week:

Wild Roses of Oregon

The three most common species of wild rose occurring throughout the inland pacific northwest include the baldhip, Nootka, and Woods’ roses. Some are more commonly found near stream banks while others may be found in forested areas. Differences in flowers, stems, and hips/fruits are key to differentiating these species. Click the link in the common name for more identification information. I have seen wild roses in bloom on both sides of the Cascades recently. When you find one, take a moment to admire the delicate scent and soft pink hues of the blooms and note the old hips still holding on from last year. 

nootka rose - pinkish flower with yellow inside


Common English Name Baldhip Rose

Scientific Name – Rosa gymnocarpa


Common English Name Nootka Rose

Scientific Name Rosa nutkana C. Presl


Common English Name Woods’ Rose 

Scientific Name Rosa nutkana C. Presl


Backyard Naturalist Series

Backyard Naturalist Week 1

Backyard Naturalist Week 2

Backyard Naturalist Week 3

Backyard Naturalist Week 4

Backyard Naturalist Week 5


If you are interested in attending this weeks’ live backyard naturalist session and haven’t already registered, please in the link below. Til next week…happy nature observing!