Pacific Northwest Activities

Birding, or birdwatching, is becoming the fastest growing outdoor hobby worldwide. More than 50 million Americans are watching birds and planning birding trips. In Canada, more time is spent birding than gardening!

Birding Opportunities Galore

Birding opportunities in the Northwest are plentiful and rich. The region is incredibly unique and offers a wide range of climates and terrains ranging from ocean shores to high mountains, and from dry semi-arid deserts to temperate rainforests. Thus, it’s not surprising that the Northwest has a huge list of bird species. More than 450 species are unique to the region.

Starting at the shore, there are west coast specialties like Black Oystercatchers, Heerman’s Gulls, Surfbirds, Tufted Puffins, and Pacific Loons.

Moving inland, the forests of the Northwest hold Hermit Warblers, Golden-crowned Sparrows, Spotted Owls, Varied Thrushes and Band-tailed Pigeons.

Heading up the mountains, you will find Sooty Grouse, Great Gray Owls, and Western Tanagers.

Farther east into the intermountain west there are Lazuli Buntings, Sage Thrashers, Cinnamon Teal, American Avocets, Clark’s Nutcrackers and Golden Eagles.

Birders also are fortunate that there are so many public lands in the northwest. The United States and Canada are home to 18 National Parks and countless city, county and state parks as well as other public lands available to everyone. These areas are often great for birding. Many have trails and boardwalks through protected habitats that hold a whole host of specialty birds. Yes, birding in the northwest is highly rewarding no matter where you are!

Suggested Birding Opportunities by State and Province

Birding Alberta: Banff National Park, high mountains and alpine terrain with White-tailed Ptarmigan and Boreal Chickadees.

Birding British Columbia: The Pacific coast and rich marine life hosts a numerous bird species and breath-taking views of misty coastal forests.

Birding Idaho: The newly christened Cassia Crossbill, Sagebrush deserts and tall mountains add to this unique state's bird lists.

Birding Montana: Glacier National Park holds some unique species hard to find anywere else in the state, the eastern prairies are home to shortgrass specialists like McCown’s Longspurs.

Birding Oregon: The coastal mountain ranges and high central plateau mean a wide range of birds and landscapes to explore.

Birding Washington: Puget Sound is a birding mecca, but don't forget the three National Parks and even the sagebrush prairies of central WA.

More birding links:

eBird by Cornell is the world's premiere site for bird sightings and a searchable database to help you find species or places your looking for.

The National Audubon Society has local chapters all over the country and localized information for anyone who wants to get involved or know where to go.

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