Winter Birding

January 17, 2014 (Updated November 12, 2015)

Winter is just getting started, and it’s a wonderful time to look for feathered visitors. Oregon’s wildlife areas offer tremendous opportunities to see migrating and overwintering birds of all kinds. Get your bird books, binoculars and buddies, and head outside!

The Sauvie Island Wildlife Area hosts more than 150,000 geese, ducks and swans that migrate or winter over. This birding hot spot just outside of Portland is also a great place to see sandhill cranes and great blue herons.


Klamath Wildlife Area Units in Southern Oregon offer the chance to see rough-legged hawks, swans, American kestrels and northern harriers in wintertime. From November to February, the star of the show is the bald eagle. More than 500 nest in the area during the season — the largest concentration in the lower 48 states.

At the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, look for trumpeter swans, great blue herons, sandhill cranes and bald eagles. For more information on recent bird sightings in the refuge, check out

From the cliffs and overlooks at Cape Meares National Wildlife Refuge near Tillamook, take in the view of tufted puffins, pelagic cormorants, common murres, and pigeon guillemots. Don’t miss the 19th century lighthouse and uniquely shaped “Octopus Tree.”

At the William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge outside of Corvallis, you’ll find thousand of ducks, geese and swans during the winter months. It’s also a great seasonal refuge for dusky Canada goose.

For information about Oregon’s birding trails and to get the weekly wildlife report about birds and other wildlife activity, visit the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife bird watching page.

About The

Eileen Garvin
Eileen Garvin lives and writes in Hood River. When she’s not hunched over her keyboard or digging in the garden, you can find her mountain biking, kiteboarding, hiking, skiing or camping somewhere in Oregon.