Leading a local community in appreciating, understanding, and protecting birds and their natural habitats.

Capitol Hill Connections

A project of Seattle's Urban Bird Treaty City partners (Oct. 2019 - Oct. 2021)

View from the northeast entrance of Cal Anderson Park.

Overview

Capitol Hill Connections is a collaboration among Seattle's Urban Bird Treaty City partners to restrict pesticide use at Cal Anderson Park, engage the Capitol Hill community in park stewardship events, and develop a vegetation plan to enhance habitat for birds and pollinators along 11th Ave E. The planned enhancements would help connect habitat patches from Seattle University up to Volunteer Park through the most densely populated urban village in the Pacific Northwest.

Capitol Hill Connections project area in green.
Map data: Google

Why Capitol Hill?

Seattle’s most populous neighborhood may seem like an unusual place to practice avian conservation. It doesn’t have the best habitat. It isn’t the birdiest. So why are Seattle’s Urban Bird Treaty City partners implementing their first collaborative project on the Hill? Here are three good reasons why:

  1. For the people: Conservation is as much about people as it is about anything else. With nearly 30,000 residents, Capitol Hill has people aplenty. Our project, centered at Cal Anderson Park, will be highly visible to thousands and will provide Capitol Hillers with opportunities to directly contribute to bird conservation right in their own neighborhood. This project has important equity components too; public spaces like parks and rights of way are critical components of resilient communities. People rely on them for exercise, fresh air, meeting people, and more. They are most critical for people with fewer resources. In Capitol Hill, where most people are renters without access to yards, healthy public spaces are essential, especially now as we all work to stay physically and mentally healthy through the pandemic.  

  2. For the hazard reduction potential: Intensely developed neighborhoods like Capitol Hill can be hazardous to birds. There’s a lot of glass, pesticides, and worse. We’ll be working with Seattle Parks to restrict pesticide use at Cal Anderson Park and strategizing with property owners and residents to reduce hazards along 11th Ave E. We want this project to be a model for neighborhood bird conservation – if we can do it in Capitol Hill, we can do it anywhere.

  3. For habitat connectivity benefits: We’ll be drafting a vegetation plan to guide future habitat enhancement efforts along the 11th Ave E corridor. Our end goal is to improve habitat connectivity between more than 60 acres of open space that birds are already using, from Seattle University up to Volunteer Park.

Project Objectives

A bromadiolone bait box near the playground at Cal Anderson Park. Rodents do not remain in bait boxes. It may take
several days for a poisoned rodent to die. In a weakend state, sick rodents may become attractive prey items for raptors.

 

 1. Restrict pesticide use at Cal Anderson Park: Though generally unintentional, many pesticides kill birds, reduce food resources, or disrupt normal behavior. Rodents are the biggest pest problem at Cal Anderson Park. The toxic chemicals used to control rat populations can have lethal consequences for raptors that feed on poisoned rodents. We are encouraging Seattle Parks and Recreation to pilot non-toxic rodent control solutions at Cal Anderson Park.

 

View from the northwest entrance to Cal Anderson Park.

 

 2. Develop a Cal Anderson Park Stewardship Program: We'll be working with Seattle Parks and Recreation, Capitol Hill EcoDistrict, and volunteers to help maintain Cal Anderson with fewer pesticides and to report sanitation or public safety concerns. 

 

Diverse vegetation in the right of way near 11th Ave E & E John St.

 

 3. Draft a vegetation plan for habitat enhancements along 11th Ave E: The 11th Ave E corridor connects over 60 acres of habitat and open space in the Capitol Hill area from Seattle University up to Volunteer Park, with Cal Anderson and the Lowell Elementary Campus in between.  The vegetation plan will identify underused planting strips and other plantable space along the corridor, make bird- and pollinator-supporting plant recommendations, and outline steps for implementation and maintenance. Engaging residents, property owners, businesses and institutions will be critical to achieve this objective. 

 

Who are the Urban Bird Treaty City Partners?

Seattle Audubon leads Seattle's Urban Bird Treaty City partnership. Members include Heron Habitat Helpers, Capitol Hill EcoDistrict, Seattle Parks and Recreation, Seattle City Light, Seattle Public Utilities, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Urban Raptor Conservancy, Seattle University, Seattle Center, and Progressive Animal Welfare Society.

What is the Urban Bird Treaty City Program?

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service started the Urban Bird Treaty City program in 1999. The City of Seattle was officially designated in 2017. The program's goals are:

  • Protect, restore, and enhance urban/suburban habitats for birds
  • Reduce hazards to birds
  • Educate and engage urban/suburban citizens in caring about and conserving birds and their habitats

Who is funding this project?

The Bullitt Foundation and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation are generously funding this project.

How can I get involved?

Go explore! Walk through the project area if it is safe for you to do so. Take a virtual tour if you'd rather stay inside. Send us pictures of the urban birds you see (joshm@seattleaudubon.org). Keep an eye out for rodent bait boxes. Notice the trees and other vegetation. Submit an eBird checklist for Cal Anderson Park.

There will be many other ways to get involved as this project progresses. We're working on the volunteer position descriptions now (spring 2020) and will be advertising volunteer opportunities as soon as they're ready and it is safe for us to gather together again.

Bird Lists for Project Area

Volunteer Park Cal Anderson Park Seattle University 11th Ave Corridor

American Crow

American Goldfinch

American Robin

American Wigeon

Anna's Hummingbird

Bald Eagle

Band-tailed Pigeon

Barn Owl

Barn Swallow

Barred Owl

Bewick's Wren

Black Swift

Black-capped Chickadee

Brewer's Blackbird

Brown Creeper

Bufflehead

Bushtit

California Scrub-Jay

Canada Goose

Cedar Waxwing

Chestnut-backed Chickadee

Chipping Sparrow

Cliff Swallow

Common Goldeneye

Common Merganser

Common Raven

Cooper's Hawk

Dark-eyed Junco

Double-crested Cormorant

Downy Woodpecker

European Starling

Fox Sparrow

Gadwall

Glaucous-winged Gull

Golden-crowned Kinglet

Golden-crowned Sparrow

Great Blue Heron

Hairy Woodpecker

Hammond's Flycatcher

Hermit Thrush

Herring Gull

Horned Grebe

House Finch

House Sparrow

Hutton's Vireo

Killdeer

Mallard

Marsh Wren

Merlin

Mourning Dove

Nashville Warbler

Northern Flicker

Northern Rough-winged Swallow

Orange-crowned Warbler

Osprey

Pacific Wren

Pacific-slope Flycatcher

Painted Bunting

Peregrine Falcon

Pied-billed Grebe

Pine Siskin

Purple Finch

Red Crossbill

Red-breasted Nuthatch

Red-breasted Sapsucker

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-winged Blackbird

Ring-necked Duck

Rock Pigeon

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Rufous Hummingbird

Savannah Sparrow

Sharp-shinned Hawk

Snowy Owl

Song Sparrow

Spotted Sandpiper

Spotted Towhee

Steller's Jay

Swainson's Thrush

Townsend's Solitaire

Townsend's Warbler

Tree Swallow

Turkey Vulture

Varied Thrush

Vaux's Swift

Violet-green Swallow

Warbling Vireo

Western Tanager

Western Wood-Pewee

White-crowned Sparrow

Wilson's Warbler

Wood Duck

Yellow Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler

American Crow

American Goldfinch

American Robin

Anna's Hummingbird

Bald Eagle

Bewick's Wren

Black-capped Chickadee

Brown-headed Cowbird

Bushtit

California Gull

Caspian Tern

Cedar Waxwing

Cooper's Hawk

Dark-eyed Junco

European Starling

Gadwall

Glaucous-winged Gull

Golden-crowned Kinglet

House Finch

House Sparrow

Mallard

Northern Flicker

Orange-crowned Warbler

Peregrine Falcon

Red-tailed Hawk

Rock Pigeon

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Snow Goose

Song Sparrow

Tree/Violet-green Swallow

Yellow-rumped Warbler

American Crow

American Goldfinch

American Robin

Anna's Hummingbird

Bald Eagle

Bewick's Wren

Black-capped Chickadee

Black-throated Gray Warbler

Brown Creeper

Brown-headed Cowbird

Bushtit

California Gull

California Scrub-Jay

Cedar Waxwing

Common Redpoll

Cooper's Hawk

Dark-eyed Junco

Double-crested Cormorant

Downy Woodpecker

European Starling

Fox Sparrow

Glaucous-winged Gull

Golden-crowned Kinglet

Golden-crowned Sparrow

Great Blue Heron

Green-winged Teal

House Finch

House Sparrow

Lincoln's Sparrow

Mallard

Merlin

Northern Flicker

Orange-crowned Warbler

Osprey

Pacific Wren

Peregrine Falcon

Pine Siskin

Red Crossbill

Red-breasted Nuthatch

Red-breasted Sapsucker

Red-tailed Hawk

Ring-billed Gull

Rock Pigeon

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Rufous Hummingbird

Savannah Sparrow

Sharp-shinned Hawk

Snow Goose

Song Sparrow

Spotted Towhee

Steller's Jay

Swainson's Thrush

Townsend's Warbler

Trumpeter Swan

Varied Thrush

Violet-green Swallow

Warbling Vireo

Western Tanager

White-crowned Sparrow

Wilson's Snipe

Wilson's Warbler

Yellow Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler

American Crow

American Goldfinch

American Robin

Anna's Hummingbird

Bald Eagle

Bewick's Wren

Black-capped Chickadee

California Scrub Jay

Canada Goose

Cedar Waxwing

Cooper's Hawk

Dark-eyed Junco

European Starling

Glaucous-winged Gull

House Finch

House Sparrow

Mallard

Northern Flicker

Peregrine Falcon

Red-tailed Hawk

Rock Pigeon

Song Sparrow

Steller's Jay

Tree/Violet-green Swallow

Western Gull

White-crowned Sparrow

 

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