Birding Factoids

434 species
in 48 families

63 of the 246 species 
endemic to 
North America are 
represented here. 
No state endemics
1 USA endemic

Checklist of Washington BirdsLocal EventsTours and GuidesRare Bird AlertsSpeciality BirdsPrint and Other ResourcesMap
Washington Specialities
(Pause your cursor on the photo to see the species name. Click on the birds for more info... )
American Goldfinch - Washington State Bird - Photo by Jim Stasz
Photo by Jim Stasz

Northwestern Crow - Photo by Marcus Martin

Photo by Marcus Martin

Eurasian Widgeon - Photo coyright Don DesJardin

Photo copyright Don DesJardin

Sanderling - Photo copyright Olivier Debre

Photo copyright Olivier Debre

Glaucous-winged Gull - Photo copyright Don DesJardin

Photo copyright Don DesJardin

Golden-crowned Sparrow - Photo copyright Peter Weber
Photo copyright Peter Weber

Rufous-sided Towhee - Photo copyright David Blevins

Photo copyright David Blevins

American Dipper - Photo copyright Bruce Craig

Photo copyright Bruce Craig

Blue Grouse - Photo copyright Cliff Buckton

Photo copyright Cliff Buckton

Flammulated Owl - Photo copyright Steve Metz

Photo copyright Steve Metz

Brandt's Cormorant - Photo copyright Erik Breden

Photo copyright Erik Breden

Barn Swallow - Highest breeding density in North America - Photo copyright by Erik Kleyheeg

Photo copyright Erik Kleyheeg
    Key to Icons....Skagit Flats - this is a prime site to see 13 species of birds of prey.
    Key to Icons....Bald Eagles on the Upper Skagit - Trained volunteers will 
      be stationed at a number of convenient locations along the Skagit River to help you learn more about the largest wintering bald eagle population in the Lower 48. Here is more information to help you plan your visit to the Upper Skagit.
    Key to Icons....Bird Spots in Gray's Harbor County - on the Pacific
      coast, 30 minutes west of Aberdeen, WA. Grays Harbor Estuary in Hoquiam, Washington became the newest site in the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network (WHSRN) on April 28, 1996.
    Key to Icons....Grays Harbor Estuary - Grays Harbor, located on the west coast
      of the State of Washington, is one of two major estuaries on the Washington coast. The estuary is a nursery ground and passage way for a vast array of living resources and an important link in the migratory patterns of many fish and wildlife species. Grays Harbor is of critical importance to migrating shorebirds, including as many as 24 species.
    Key to Icons....Olympic National Park - Because the park includes
      ocean coastline and mountain peaks, a wide variety of animals may be found here.There are over 300 species of birds and 70 species of mammals in the park. At least 18 are found no where else in the world. Another Olympic National Park Site, with pictures.
    Key to Icons....Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge - located
      near Sequim in Clallam County, Washington, on the Strait of Juan de Fuca.Key wintering and spring gathering area for brant and other waterfowl. The calmer waters of Dungeness Bay make this an outstanding shorebird area.
    ....Birdwatching in Washington State - by the National Audubon 
      Society of Washington. This excellent site provides a clickable map to many birding places in Washington. Includes specialized chicklists and links to more detailed information sources. 
    ....Birding Coastal Washington - by Bob Morse. A birder in Washington
      State could see up to 365 species of birds by visiting the Washington Coast. This represents almost 80% of the species that have been found in the state. With this many species, it is easy to see why the Washington coast is such an attraction for birders and why it is one of the top 10 best regions to bird in the United States. Many come to see the coastal specialties and hope for the rarity that occasionally appears.
    ....Hotspots in North Central Idaho and Eastern Washington - by the
      Palouse Aubudon Society.
    ....The NorthWest Bird Guide - by Greg Gillson. This website includes 
      site guides to:
      • Mount St. Helens
      • Long Beach
      • Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge
    ....Birding Around in Sequim, WA -  located on the Olympic
      Peninsula along the shore of the Strait of Juan De Fuca.
    ....Lake Hills Greenbelt - by  Stig Linander. The Lake Hills Greenbelt
      Park is located in Bellevue, a suburb to Seattle in Washington State, USA. The Greenbelt contains many different habitats: lakes, streams, meadows, and woodlands. As a large number of different birds can be seen in a relatively small area - about 150 acres - the Greenbelt is ideal for a short birding trip. This site also contains other information about birding in the Seattle area. 
    ....Where to Bird in Clark County - Information is provided on:
      • Vancouver Lake Area
      • The Columbia River Gorge
      • Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge
      • Steigerwald National Wildlife Refuge
    ....Birding in Klickitat County - This website provides everything you
      might want to know about birding in Klickitat County Washington, including checklists, Important Bird Areas, and local events.
    ....Watching Birds in South Kings County - from the Rainier Audubon
      Society (Auburn, Washington area). See this site also.
    ....Where to Watch Wildlife - from the Skagit Audubon Society (Mount
      Vernon, Washington)
    ....Our Favourite Birding Spots - from the East Lake Audubon Society
      (Seattle/Bellvue area). 
    ....Where to find BIRDS on the North Olympic Peninsula - The North
      Olympic Peninsula offers exceptional year-round bird watching. Our mild winter supports large numbers of ocean birds, including waterfowl. Spring and fall are migration times and offer great diversity in species. Summer residents are numerous and varied due to the diversity of habitat - from rainforest to tidelands. 
    ....Birding Washington - Photo-essays on two birding trips with Mary
      Scott to Washington, including Nisqually, Dungeness and Willapa NWRs, Tokeland (where she filmed the bar-tailed godwit), Ocean Shores, Hurricane Ridge, Cape Flattery, and other sites on the Olympic peninsula.
    ....Birdwatching at Potholes Reservoir - by Mike Denny, College Place,
      Washington (originally published in "Winging It" June 1997, the newsletter of the American Birding Association). Potholes Reservoir is located approximately 3.5 miles southwest of Moses Lake in east-central Washington. This reservoir, which serves the irrigation needs of the central Columbia Basin, and the surrounding lands form part of the Columbia Basin Habitat Management Area. Together, the Potholes and the Desert Units cover some 89,000 acres.
    ....Palouse Audubon Society's Area Hotspots - The Palouse Audubon
      Society has been serving the Palouse region of North Central Idaho and Eastern Washington since 1973. Chapter Headquarters is in Moscow, Idaho.
    ....John R. Wallace of U. Washington - The Birding Page gives
      some Birding Hot Spots in Washington
    ....Watching Seabirds from Land in the Pacific Northwest
    ....15 Great Birding Spots on Whidby Island, WA (link broken pending
      chapter getting a new server). See this site also.
    ....South Puget Sound's Best Places for Bird Watching - from the Black
      Hills Audubon Society. Information is provided for:
      • Black Lake Meadows
      • Capitol Lake
      • Grass Lake
      • McLane Creek
      • Mud Bay-Perry Creek
      • Nisqually NWR
      • Olympia Waterfront
      • Priest Point Park
      • Watershed Park
    ....Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge - Olympia, Washington
      Includes a checklist for the area.
    ....North Cascades National Park Complex - Bird Zones in
      the Cascade Range in northwestern Washington.
    ....Bird Watching Hotspots in Walla Walla Vicinity.
      Shirley Muse lists several of her favorite birding locations within an hour's drive of Walla Walla.
    ....Point Counts On The Canopy Crane - Three Dimensional Birding-
      by Don Baccus - A few years ago, University of Washington researches hit upon the idea of erecting a large construction crane in the middle of a patch of old-growth forest, using it to haul researchers to various points within the canopy. Originally it was planned for northwestern Washington, but local timber communities, which figure that more knowledge means less logging, opposed the project, so it ended up being built in southern Washington's Gifford Pinchot National Forest. While the main focus of the project is on the phsysiology of trees, the Forest Service has taken advantage of the crane to conduct systematic point counts of bird species utilizing the canopy. 
    ....Washington National Wildlife Refuges Index - clickable
      map leads to all of the Washington Wildlife Refuges
    ....Washington Trip Reports - a number of Washington trip reports are
      available from Blake Maybank's "Birding the Americas - Trip Report and Trip Planning Repository"...

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Tours and Guides

>>>>>> A Birding Pal is not a paid guide, but someone who likes to help out of town visitors. You can become a Birding Pal today! Help someone to enjoy your local birding spots and find a pal to help you when you travel. Click here for Washington Birding Pals, or join to be a Birding Pal!
Common Murre - Photo copyright Trev Feltham
Photo copyright Trev Feltham

Cassin's Auklet - Photo copyright Bruce Craig

Photo copyright Bruce Craig
    ....Westport Seabird Offshore Trips - Welcome to Westport
      Seabird Offshore Trips. Join us for our 2001 season off the coast of 
      Washington State, for our all day trips to Grays Canyon, a submarine canyon which lies 35 nautical miles due west from the mouth of Grays Harbor, on the edge of the North American continental shelf. 
    ....Cruises to Protection Island - The Port Townsend Marine Science
      Center has scheduled its seventh year of cruises to Protection Island.  These very special cruises, extremely popular with birders, have also generated increased interest among non-birders looking for an idyllic natural science experience. Home to breeding and flyway populations of numerous bird species, this National Bird Refuge, off-limits to the public, also plays host to numerous marine mammals. Trips are scheduled for 1PM till 4PM on Saturdays, October 7th, 14th, 21st & 28th, November 4th & 25th (Thanksgiving weekend) and Sunday, Dec. 31st(New Year's Eve.), timed to coincide with the annual fall migration. 
    **..Spring Grand Washington with Victor Emanuel Nature Tours (VENT)
      This tour offers a unique opportunity to explore Washington's diversity of habitats at the peak of the nesting season, with most species in full song and in full breeding plumage. Washington's diversity of habitats and landforms is truly astounding--and lies within reasonable driving distances. 
      • Spring Grand Washington May 22 - June 2, 2002  (12 days - limit 16) with leaders Bob Sundstrom & Greg Lasley.
      • See also Fall Grand Washington September 3 - September 11, 2001 (14 days - limit 16) with leaders Bob Sundstrom & TBA.
    **..Pacific Northwest: An Introductory Birding Tour with Victor Emanuel
      Nature Tours (VENT) - This is one of our new series of Introductory Birding Tours to enable new birders to increase their birding skills. While almost all VENT tours are appropriate for birders at any level, beginners will find these trips especially helpful. The focus will be on the basics: use of your field guide, putting a bird in a family, bird identification, and bird habitats. Typically, these tours will stay in one birdy location. All of our leaders have an enormous fund of knowledge about birds. They are patient, skilled, enthusiastic teachers who love to share their knowledge with beginner and seasoned birder alike.
    **..Winter Washington and British Columbia - with Victor Emanuel
      Nature Tours (VENT) The temperate maritime climate and rich food resources of the North Puget Sound region of Washington and British Columbia make it an especially attractive winter home for the myriad birds of prey, diving birds, and waterfowl that return here each year. The high peaks of the Olympic Mountains form a majestic backdrop and create a rainshadow that generally mitigates precipitation in the heart of this excellent birding area. An impressive array of raptors hunt the river deltas along the North Sound. VENT offers nearly 140 tours to over 100 land-based destinations each year and is the largest tour company in the world specializing in birding and natural history.

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Local Birding Events

Rhinocerous Auklet - Photo copyright Bruce Craig
Photo copyright Bruce Craig

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Rare Bird Alert

    ....WOS BirdBox  (206) 281-9172 
    ....TriCities Area (509) 943-6957 
    ....SE Washington (208) 882-6195 

    ....Check Washington RBA Archives
    ....Also see the 1999 Bird Highlights for British Columbia, Idaho, Oregon,

      Washington, Yukon


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North American Specialities

in Washington

Information derived from Sibley & Monroe checklists in Thayer's Birder's Diary - Version 2.5.
These counts will differ in minor ways from counts based on the ABA classification,
but an international checklist system was required to enable world-wide
country to country comparisons.These speciality birds may be uncommon, or extremely rare
at this location, or may only be present in migration. However, documented sightings of each species
noted below have been made in Washington. Consult the Breeding Bird Survey or
Christmas Bird Count data on the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center website
to determine the "best" place to see each bird. Species printed in blue are endangered.

USA Endemics in Washington

___ McKay's Bunting
North American Endemic Specialities in Washington

___ Anna's Hummingbird
___ Bewick's Wren
___ Black Oystercatcher
___ Black-chinned Hummingbird
___ Black-headed Grosbeak
___ Blue Grouse
___ Brandt's Cormorant
___ Brewer's Sparrow
___ Bullock's Oriole
___ California Gull
___ Calliope Hummingbird
___ Canyon Wren
___ Cassin's Auklet
___ Cassin's Finch
___ Chestnut-backed Chickadee
___ Clark's Grebe
___ Clark's Nutcracker
___ Common Poorwill
___ Cordilleran Flycatcher
___ Ferruginous Hawk
___ Gray Flycatcher
___ Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch
___ Harris's Sparrow
___ Lewis's Woodpecker
___ Mew Gull
___ Mountain Bluebird
___ Mountain Quail
___ Northwestern Crow
___ Pileated Woodpecker
___ Prairie Falcon
___ Pygmy Nuthatch
___ Red-breasted Sapsucker
___ Red-Legged Kittiwake
___ Red-naped Sapsucker
___ Ruffed Grouse
___ Sage Sparrow
___ Sage Thrasher
___ Say's Phoebe
___ Sharp-tailed Grouse
___ Spotted Owl
___ Spotted Towhee
___ Spruce Grouse
___ Timberline Sparrow
___ Townsend's Solitaire
___ Trumpeter Swan
___ Western Bluebird
___ Western Grebe
___ Western Gull
___ Western Screech-Owl
___ Western Scrub-Jay
___ White-headed Woodpecker
___ White-tailed Ptarmigan
___ Williamson's Sapsucker
___ Xantus's Murrelet
Speciality Birds in Washington (or why you should want to bird in Washington!) Information provided by Bob Morse
___ Black-footed Albatross
___ Northern Fulmar
___ Buller's Shearwater 
___ Pink-footed Shearwater
___ Flesh-footed Shearwater
___ Short-tailed Shearwater
___ Leach's Storm-Petrel
___ Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel
___ Pelagic Cormorant
___ Harlequin Duck 
___ Peregrine Falcon
___ Pacific Golden-Plover
___ Wandering Tattler
___ Bar-tailed Godwit
___ Rock Sandpiper
___ South Polar Skua
___ Thayer's Gull
___ Pigeon Guillemot
___ Marbled Murrelet
___ Rufous Hummingbird
___ Pacific-slope Flycatcher
___ Hutton's Vireo
___ Varied Thrush
___ Townsend's Warbler
___ Hermit Warbler
___ "Sooty" Fox Sparrow
___ Golden-crowned Sparrow
___ Red Crossbill

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Print and Other Resources on Birds

and Birding in Washington

(logos and links take you to on-line locations where you can order/purchase these resources)
AMAZON.COM is the registered trademark of, Inc.
A small portion of your purchase price for any books purchased by following links from this site will go toward supporting the maintenance and development costs of this site.
    ....Birder's Guide to Washington -  by Diann MacRae. 
    ....National Geographic Guide to Birdwatching Sites : Western U.S.
      by Mel White. For outings near home or far, in habitats ranging from forests to seashores, this guide includes site descriptions, starred species lists, best seasons and vantage points, and travel and visitor information. 100 full-color photos, 8 maps. 
    ....National Audubon Society Field Guide to the Pacific Northwest -
      by National Audubon Society, Peter Alden. Handy and lightweight, this is an all-purpose field guide to the region's natural history for those who don't care to lug around a bunch of separate guides to flora, fauna, and geography. An easy-to-use field guide for identifying 1,000 of the region's wildflowers, trees, mushrooms, mosses, fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, butterflies, mammals, and much more.
    ....Birds of the Pacific Northwest Mountains : The Cascade Range,
      the Olympic Mountains, Vancouver Island, and the Coast Mountains - by Jan L. Wassink. Enjoy a guide which includes color photos of almost two hundred species in their natural surroundings, descriptions of bird habits, and intriguing pairings of how and where to look for each bird. This is a fine, affordable guide which goes beyond mere identification, teaching the basics of understanding birds. 
    ....Birds of the Pacific Northwest Coast - by Nancy Baron, John Acorn,
      Gary Ross (Illustrator), John Alden. 
    ....All the Waterbirds : Pacific Coast - by Jack L. Griggs, Edward S.
    ....Shorebirds of the Pacific Northwest - by Dennis Paulson, Jim
      Erckmann (Illustrator). This book is well written and wonderfully arranged for the shorebird buffs and beginners alike. The book gives a great over view on the identification of shorebirds and gives many interesting facts as to their range and occurrence in the Pacific Northwest area. 
    ....A Birder's Guide to Coastal Washington - by Bob Morse. This
      270 page spiral bound guide features 160 of the best places along coast to find birds. The "Coastal Specialties" are identified with full color photographs and details on where to find them. The guide has a seasonal checklist on all 365 coastal bird species along with information on pelagic birding, coastal accommodations, and key web site addresses. 
    ....Adventures in Birdwatching: Vol. 2 - Washington Predators
      This 3-Volume Set is produced in association with the National Audubon Society and the Nature Conservancy. Join nature enthusiast Ken Dial as he travels to several birding hot spots filled with the most spectacular species of birds imaginable.
    ....See also Washington Regional Guides from the American Birding
    ....See also US Print Resources

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Links checked February 10, 2002