Ducks by Salvez Dodd

The Portland metro area is blessed with birding opportunities in all seasons. Habitats found in and around Portland include marshes, mudflats, meadows, oak savannahs, riparian areas, rain forests, and residential areas. The birder who is prepared to venture out into the fall and winter rain is rewarded by the opportunity to view rare migratory birds that rest in the Pacific flyway. Tour options include:

  • A walk through the Hoyt Arboretum to identify local trees and see songbirds and woodpeckers.
  • The Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden bursting with color in the spring, along with wood ducks and ruddy ducks in the ponds.
  • Tryon Creek State Park, with trilliums blooming on the forest floor and dippers in the streams.
  • The natural areas of Sauvie Island with old-growth oaks and the cries of owls and sandhill cranes filling the air. A stop at one of the Sauvie Island farmer's markets for lunch or a box of locally grown raspberries is always a possibility.
  • The Fernhill reservoir in Washington county, unsurpassed for viewing wintering waterfowl. Typically over 40 types of ducks, geese and swans rest in the ponds with swallows, woodpeckers and kestrels in the surrounding trees.
  • My home—I live on a protected wetland and have seen almost 100 species, including bald eagles, great egrets, great horned owls, and the more common kingfishers, mergansers, great blue herons, and rufous and Anna's hummingbirds.
  • The Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge, where one might see a golden crown kinglet, many ducks, and hummingbirds.

All of these destinations are within an hour's drive of downtown Portland, and some naturally lend themselves to combining with other Portland attractions:

  • The Crystal Springs garden and Oaks Bottom refuge are very close to each other near Sellwood, a charming neighborhood with many antique shops and a small-town feel. If you are lucky enough to be here in spring, a visit to Crystal Springs and Oaks Bottom followed by lunch or dinner and antiquing in Sellwood would make a wonderful day.
  • The Hoyt Arboretum is located in Washington Park, also home to the Oregon Zoo, the world-class Portland Japanese Garden, the International Rose Test Garden, and more.

Salvez Dodd's photo is used under a Creative Commons license. If you wish to save or reuse the work, please consult the terms of the applicable license.

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