The Great Fall Migration

Look, up in the sky...       It's a bird... it's a plane...     It's LOTS of birds!

Washington is an essential piece of the Pacific Flyway

Catch the fall bird migration. An incredible number and variety of birds migrate along the Pacific Flyway each year on their way from northern breeding grounds to more southerly winter feeding grounds. Myriad swans, geese, ducks, plovers, sandpipers and other shorebirds appear at sites across Washington, including at the Conservancy’s Port Susan Bay Preserve.

Viewing the Migratory Shorebirds
Here are some great spots in Washington to witness migratory birds, one of nature's most beautiful spectacles. 

Iverson Spit Preserve
This Camano Island county natural area shelters over 125 species of birds. Visitors can walk along the dike to spot birds on the open water and salt marsh.

Padilla Bay Natural Estuarine Research Reserve
Offers walking trails and beach access that are always open to the public. Interpretive Center (cool exhibits and fish tanks) is open to the public Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Willapa National Wildlife Refuge
The refuge and adjacent state parks offer a chance to wander trails and explore along the water's edge. More than 100 bird species have been seen at Leadbetter Point, at the northern tip of the Long Beach Peninsula (parking pass required). If you prefer the forest, you can check out the old-growth at Teal Slough, which The Nature Conservancy helped protect. 

Union Bay Natural Area, Seattle
The University of Washington owns and is working to restore this former landfill, located near the UW stadium. More than 200 species of birds have been tallied here. Trails provide visitors easy access to bird watching around ponds, shrub habitat and open waterfront year-round.

Potholes Wildlife Area
The Potholes near Moses Lake are hundreds of ponds and lakes formed long ago by mighty rivers and massive floods. Explore this rich oasis in Washington's desert and watch for white pelicans, egrets, herons and much more.

Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge
The Turnbull Refuge (south of Spokane) showcases the bizarre Channeled Scablands. The refuge, which the Conservancy helped expand, has many lakes and marshes that attract an impressive variety of birds.

Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge
Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge is located on the shore of the Lower Columbia River, 10 miles downstream from the Portland/Vancouver metropolitan area. This 5,217 acre refuge contains a mosaic of riverine flood plain habitat, intensively managed seasonal and permanent wetlands, and agricultural lands.

Birch Bay State Park
Located north of Bellingham, Birch Bay offers a large beach, as well as extensive freshwater shoreline along Terrell Creek. It's open views afford bird fans a good window onto Puget Sound and the birds traveling through.

Created by the Seattle Audubon Society, this is a great resource for learning about the birds of Washington, including descriptions, photos, recordings and suggested birding spots.