Spring Migration: A Birder’s Paradise
As spring arrives, with bud break at Tualatin Valley’s vineyards, little pops of green and yellow are emerging from the soil, and clover fields start to bloom, the Valley welcomes the songbirds who are migrating northward after wintering in the south. Take a front seat in Portland’s backyard to some of the most spectacular bird watching in the Pacific Northwest.
While many species of birds live year-round in the Tualatin Valley, the spring brings dozens of other species through the area during migration season. Whether you’re new to wildlife watching or you’re traveling specifically for the hobby, find wetlands of wonder. Spring is, quite literally, in motion as birds and other local creatures pass through, foster their young and build habitats.
Oregon is undoubtedly one of the finer places in the country for birding, as it’s filled with a rich mixture of habitats including forests, wetlands, marshes, lakes, rivers, and beaches.
Many species of birds live here in the Tualatin Valley year-round–more than 100 different species can be regularly found here–and dozens of species are just “passing through” during the spring migration seasons.
Prime Birding Spots
The Tualatin Valley boasts a number of spots perfect for a day of bird watching.
Located atop Cooper Mountain in Beaverton, with breathtaking views of the valley, Cooper Mountain Nature Park offers 3.5 miles of nature trails through several distinct habitats, from conifer forest to prairie to oak woodlands.
Fernhill Wetlands, where round-headed American Wigeons bob in the water and Great Blue Herons will calmly nestle themselves into the wetlands’ marshes, features a tranquil water garden and walking paths.
Hillsboro’s Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve is a 725-acre wildlife preserve with 4.5 miles of trails, wildlife viewing blinds and picture-perfect views. Visitors also enjoy the 12,000-square-foot education center, which has hands-on exhibits and an authentic bald eagle’s nest recovered from the wild.
The Tualatin Hills Nature Center in Beaverton has 222-acres to explore. The interpretive center features exhibits and the nature store, and the center has experts on-hand to discuss wildlife in the area.
The Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge is home to nearly 200 species of birds, more than 50 species of mammals, 25 species of reptiles and amphibians, and a variety of insects, fish and plants. Explore the Wildlife Center, nature store and the one-mile trail that meanders through the refuge, providing great photography opportunities along the way.
Bird Watching Tips
Check the weather report before you go! Spring can be rainy, so dress right for spring bird watching in Oregon and you’ll be happy no matter the forecast.
Just because it’s not the height of summer, doesn’t mean you can’t get dehydrated! Bring water, snacks, and sunscreen for your day in nature.
Keep valuable gear protected from spring elements, such as a harness or neck strap attached to a pair of water-resistant binoculars.
Order a Nature Passport, which details the Tualatin Valley’s birding spots
Stay overnight at a historic hotel, a well-appointed business-class hotel, or find a quaint roadside motel.
From pho and Asian delicasies to pizzas and burgers, explore the tastes of the Tualatin Valley at these local restaurants.
Enjoy unique spring festivals and events guaranteed to offer seasonality, community and entertainment.