Tule Ponds at Tyson

by  L. Ellis

Some marsh birds either remain hidden in dense vegetation or stay close to it.  Grebes, geese, ducks, and coots, use cattails, tules, sedges and tall grasses for shelter and nesting sites.  Bitterns are best seen at dawn and dusk when they come out of hiding to feed along the edges of the marsh.  Common yellowthroats suspend their woven nests from cattails and tules.  Ducks and coots build their nests on firm patches of matted vegetation or mud.   These birds swim into open water to feed on submerged and floating aquatic vegetation, tender shoots, bulbs and seeds.

Other marsh birds are very visible as they perch in the open or fly continuously in and out of the marsh.  Blackbirds forage at a distance for larger insects such as grasshoppers and insects that they bring back to their nests in the cattails.  In spring and summer, swallows hawk for insects over marsh vegetation and the open water, although they do not nest in the marsh. 

Some year round resident birds potentially may nest, or have been observed nesting at Tyson Lagoon.  Some birds spend the winter at Tyson Lagoon and migrate north in spring to nest in the far north.  Other birds are summer visitors  and breed at Tyson Lagoon.  Other water birds that forage in the ponds and over the Lagoon, but breed elsewhere include the American white pelican, gadwall, green-winged teal, northern shoveler, ring-necked duck, Forsterís tern and gulls


  • Pied-billed Grebe

  • Double Crested Cormorant

  • Canada Goose


  • Great Blue Heron

  • Great Egret

  • Snowy Egret

  • Green Heron

  • Black-crowned Night Heron


  • Dabbling Ducks

    • Mallard

  • Diving Ducks

    • Bufflehead

    • Ruddy Duck

    • American Coot


  • Turkey Vulture

  • Red-tailed Hawk

  • Osprey

  • American Kestrel

  • Peregrine Falcon


  • Mouring Dove

  • Black Phoebe

  • Cliff Swallow

  • Barn Swallow

  • Common Yellowthroat

  • Song Sparrow

  • Red-winged Blackbird

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