Winter Bird Watching in Oregon's Tualatin Valley
Winter Birdwatching Tips

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Oregon Winter Birdwatching Tips

Winter is an Ideal Time to Go Birdwatching in Tualatin Valley

While winter may not be your first thought for the best months to go bird watching in the Pacific Northwest, Tualatin Valley’s bird watching scene soars every month of the year. Just minutes away from the urban buzz of Portland, you’ll find the chirps and tweets in Tualatin Valley’s wetlands, nature preserve and nature parks. Follow these winter birdwatching tips to celebrate National Bird Day on January 5…or any time, really.

Three Reasons to Go Winter Birdwatching in Tualatin Valley

  1. Fallen foliage means there are fewer leaves on trees to obstruct your view of migrating birds. Spotting not only birds, but also their tracks and signs of foraging, is much easier in the winter months.
  2. With fewer resources (i.e. food!), the winter months encourages several species of birds to congregate in a mixed flock. Check multiple birds off your “must-see” list at once. This phenomenon is best seen, well, now.
  3. An average of 20,000 waterfowl—including Canada Geese, northern pintails, mallards and even Bald Eagles—can be observed in one day at the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge. That’s a lot of birds. Additionally, Jackson Bottom Wetlands is a hangout for American Wigeon and Great Blue Heron. Fernhill Wetlands, Killin Wetlands Nature Park and the Wapato Lake National Wildlife Refuge (opening soon) are also great places to view birds.

Three Winter Birdwatching Tips

  1. While Tualatin Valley doesn’t typically have snow on our trails, there are always a few days that do. Our winter weather resource page has links to road updates, live cams and more. From fog to rain to snow, be sure to dress for the weather of the moment. That means water-resistant gear, good boots or whatever else will keep you warm and dry.
  2. During winter months you can still get dehydrated. A pack of water, snacks and sunscreen is all a part of the adventure.
  3. Keep valuable gear protected from winter elements. We suggest a harness or neck strap attached to a pair of water-resistant binoculars.

COVID-19 NOTE: Face coverings are required in outdoor spaces if physical distancing is not possible. Plan ahead, avoid crowded areas and take care out there

Staying overnight? Be sure to book a hotel room close to the trails. Because chickens are birds, you can keep “birding” as you visit the resident garden chickens at the McMenamins Grand Lodge. Your morning omelet is thanks to their super fresh eggs.

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