Washington State might be known for it’s Volcanoes, Glaciers and the dizzy heights of Mt Rainier but there is also fantastic opportunity for some bird watching. Avid bird watchers will travel far to experience the best bird watching Washington State has to offer.
Looking for the best bird watching spots in Washington State? Look no further than this list of the best locations for bird watching the state has to offer!
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What is the best bird watching location in Washington State?
1. Skagit Wildlife Area
Spread across the North West of Washington, this wildlife park contains mudflats and marshes to forested uplands and shoreline. It’s huge diversity and variety of habitats encapsulates what is great about Washington for bird watching.
The variety of birds that live in these areas is staggering and it is possible, albeit rare, to see the famous Gyrfalcon. Birders should head for Samish Unit which is located about four miles north of Bayview state park or to the southeast of the town of Conway. These are famous for their winter viewings of raptors and enormous flocks of geese and swans.
Some birds to see:
- Northern Harrier
- Bald Eagle
- Red-Tailed Hawk
- Short-eared Owl
- Rough-legged Hawk
2. Olympic National Park
If you like mountains, lush lands, and bird watching then this is the park for you. Spectacular mountains and lush rain forests make this a top destination. Beware: the road is only open from mid-May to October unless you have a weather permit.
The visitor center contains information about the trails, birds, and habitats that are available to see.
You can head for the west side of the park to the beautiful Hoh Rainforest or drive to Cape Flattery where you can scan the pacific ocean for seabirds. This park offers an incredible variety of birds, some of these are the:
- Sooty Grouse
- Northern Pygmy-Owl
- Black Oystercatcher
- Tufted Puffin
3. Mount Rainier National Park
Arguably the most spectacular park Washington has to offer due to the 14,410-foot active volcano that is on the doorstep of Seattle. Whether you want to summit Mount Rainier or take a quest to see high-elevation species of bids, this is simply a breathtaking park.
Paradise and Sunrise areas are very popular destinations for bird watchers. Here you can see numerous birds at an elevation of 6,400 feet. There are so many rare birds to see here:
- Boreal Owl
- American Dipper
- American Pipit
- Gray-Crowned Rosy-Finch
4. Grays Harbor National Wildlife Refuge
If you are visiting Washington in spring, this is the park for you. Shorebirds migrate here in spring and bring in tens and thousands of:
- Black-bellied Plovers
- Red Knots
- Western Sandpipers
Visit in May to enjoy the extremely popular shorebird festival where there is information, programs, field trips, and many more events to take advantage of. The best place for bird watching is the Refuge trails in the west, the southern and southwestern part of Ocean Shores. A popular destination is Point Brown jetty in Ocean Shores where you can scan the Pacific Ocean.
5. The Great Washington State Birding Trail
Washington is so diverse in habitat and nature it has seven looped trails that visit some of the best areas Washington has to offer.
- Outer Coast – numerous migrating shorebirds that include an enormous flock of western sandpiper.
- Fog-shrouded forest – colorful birds and varied thrushes you’ll be able to glimpse some spectacular northern birds.
- East of the mountains you can find drier surroundings. With different surroundings comes different birds. Rock wrens and many tuneful birds sing melodies on the flats while golden eagles circle above.
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We are avid bird-watchers who recently retired, allowing us more time to travel the world. Fortunately, we have managed to visit numerous countries around Europe, Asia, and America. Watching and photographing birds has been a passion for many years and we are making the most of the extra time on our hands!