Hotspots Near You

  • 198. Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden, Portland, Oregon

    Established in 1950, Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden contains about 2,500 rhododendrons, azaleas, magnolias, and other plants presented in attractive displays. Though not the primary intent of its developers, it has become a first-rate birding venue. What I particularly like is the layout of the ponds, waterfalls, bridges, streams, and lake. They make the garden a birder’s and photographer’s dream because you can get close to birds without disturbing them.

  • 192. Fern Ridge Wildlife Area, Eugene, Oregon

    On a beautiful day in May a few years ago, I walked the marshes of the Fern Ridge Wildlife Area from dawn to dusk and saw 124 bird species — a non-motorized Big Day record in Oregon, as far as I know. At Fern Ridge, it’s just not necessary to hop in and out of your car to rack up sightings. You can meander along several miles of dikes and impoundments, as I love to do, or sit at an elevated viewing platform and let the birds come to you.

  • 179. Black Butte Ranch, Sisters, Oregon

    It is fortunate that the owners of the original cattle ranch at Black Butte could not figure out how to drain its central wetlands. As a result, the property was not valuable as a cattle operation. Today, the large swampy meadow is vital to migratory shorebirds and waterfowl, some of which stay for winter.

  • 155. Hatfield Lakes, Bend, Oregon

    Most birders don’t turn their noses up at the thought of birding at a wastewater-treatment facility. Bend’s Hatfield Lakes (named after Senator Mark Hatfield, who helped secure funding for the facility) is part of the city’s water-reclamation facility. In a landscape known more for its sagebrush, junipers, and pines, the ponds are magnets for migrating waterfowl and shorebirds. Even when the birding is slow, the view of the surrounding snow-capped Cascade Mountains is well worth the walk in.

  • 146. Metolius Preserve, Camp Sherman, Oregon

    On a sunny April morning I rolled down the windows, then reached for a jacket to fend off the crisp, pine-scented mountain air. Driving slowly, I soon heard the tinny, melancholic call of ubiquitous Red-breasted Nuthatches, a call a friend once likened to a duck on helium. I stopped and listened more intently because the area’s ponderosa-forest birds tend to move about in gregarious associations.

  • 127. Nestucca Bay NWR, Pacific City, Oregon

    Thousands of Cackling and Canada Geese take refuge at the Nestucca Bay NWR each winter, including an unusual subpopulation of Aleutian Cackling Goose.

  • 120. William L. Finley NWR, Corvallis, Oregon

    In 1905, conservationist William L. Finley spearheaded the formation of Three Arch Rocks National Wildlife Refuge on the Oregon coast — the first wildlife refuge west of the Mississippi. In the 1960s, about 10 years after his death, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service established this refuge in Finley’s honor. Along with sister refuges Baskett Slough and Ankeny, it provides critical winter habitat for the Dusky Canada Goose and other waterfowl.

  • 99. Fernhill Wetlands, Forest Grove, Oregon

    When I arrive at Fernhill Wetlands, I feel excited about the birds that await, and yet I’m also fully relaxed because, with little traffic or industrial noise, I can easily hear bird songs and the other sounds of nature. Almost always I come away with more than 40 species in a two-hour walk, and usually I find a bird that is rare for the area: Northern Shrike, Ring-necked Pheasant, Warbling Vireo, Peregrine Falcon, or a vagrant gull.