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Best Birding in Portland

There are many great places in Portland to see a variety of birds. The following is a list of spots that are relatively easy to get to.

Bird Alliance of Oregon

Recently renamed (formerly Portland Audubon), this is one of the best places to find out what’s happening with birds in the Portland area. Their link to Portland Metro Area Birding Hotspots includes a list of local places, along with the birds you might see there and directions on how to get there, with information on public transit availability. Their Wildlife Sanctuary has a number of trails, including trails into Macleay Park, part of Forest Park, one of the largest urban parks in the US.

Mt. Tabor

This volcanic cinder cone in SE Portland, is a wonderful place to bird, with paved trails and mature trees, although it can be fairly steep terrain. Among the over 70 species seen in the park in May, there can be a variety of ducks in the old reservoirs, as well as swifts, hummingbirds, hawks, bald eagles, owls, swallows, and warblers.

Powell Butte

Another cinder cone with underground reservoirs that serve the city, there are a number of trails, that take you on grasslands and wooded areas. Over 100 species are possible, including killdeer, kestrels, savannah sparrows, bald eagles, hawks, and lazuli bunting.

Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden

There is an entrance fee here, but the easy walk around the ponds and the beautiful rhododendrons is worth it. 

There is a variety of waterfowl including wood ducks and hooded mergansers, as well as bald eagles, warblers, and woodpeckers. Across the street is the Reed College campus, which includes Reed Canyon, which has a trail around Reed Lake for additional birding.

Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge

This wetland area, along the east side of the Willamette River, is home to over 150 bird species, including warblers, red-winged blackbirds, wood ducks, and great blue herons from a nearby rookery. It can be muddy during wet seasons, and pretty isolated, so bird with a friend.

Whitaker Ponds Natural Area

The park has two ponds and is adjacent to the Columbia slough, so waterbirds are abundant, as well as bald eagles, osprey, warblers, and western tanager. An easy half-mile loop takes you around the western pond.

There are many other areas close to Portland if you have the opportunity such as Sauvie Island, Fernhill Wetlands, Cooper Mountain, and Kelley Point. They are all worth the trip if you have the time.

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