Birding- Herons, Puffins, and More on the Olympic Peninsula

birdingThe Olympic Peninsula is home to a diverse bird population year round, drawing birders to search for songbirds, swans, eagles, egrets and more. Birding trails, activities, and events take place across the peninsula. With so many opportunities for birders, this is the first in a series of posts which will highlight different trails and destinations.

Many migratory birds make their winter and summer homes on the eastern end of the Olympic Peninsula. The region is particularly popular with water fowl. The Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge and Dungeness Spit  is considered an "important bird area" by the Olympic Peninsula Audubon Society. During spring and summer keep an eye out for Tufted Puffin, Arctic Tern, and Black Oystercatchers. In fall and winter Falcons, Snowy Owls, and a variety of ducks return to the spit. On the Migratory Waterfowl Watchers Trail in and around Port Townsend visitors can view Trumpeter Swans, Blue Heron, Osprey, Brant Geese, Harlequin Ducks, and Bald Eagles. The best time to tour this trail is between October and April.


Throughout the year there are numerous opportunities to join guided birding activities. Wednesday mornings the Dungeness River Audubon Center hosts free Bird Walks. Additional programs are held throughout the year. Check the Dungeness River Audubon Center's calendar for current offerings. The biggest Olympic Peninusla event for bird enthusiasts is Birdfest. This popular festival includes birding cruises, guided birdwalks, photography workshops, and more. Christmas Bird Counts are a fun holiday tradition. Open to novice and experienced birders, local chapters of the Audubon Society provide instructions. The idea is to pick an area or route and count the birds you see using a checklist. The information is given to the Audubon Society which tallies it all up and uses the information to protect bird species and habitats. This is a great family event, getting everyone outside, working together, and possibly creating a bit of competition. While Christmas Bird Counts may be new to many people, this event has been taking place around the U.S. for over a century. Check with the Olympic Peninsula Audubon Society  to find out the exact date. Helpful resources for additional information: Clallam County Birding Dungeness River Audubon Center Admiralty Audubon Society Olympic Peninsula Audubon Society  

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