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Birding at the Beach

Where to see birds on the North Oregon Coast.
There are lots of good places to see birds on the North Oregon Coast.  Here are some of our favorites.  (Keyed to the red numbers on the map - click on thumbnail map to access printable large map.)  Keep in mind that the birds at a particular spot will vary with the seasons.
  1. South Jetty, Columbia River.  (SJCR)  Parking lot C has a viewing tower (use binoculars or spotting scope!)  View encompasses the ocean (sea birds, whales) some of the river estuary (sea birds, diving birds) and grassy hummocks (raptors, sparrows.)   Parking lot D has viewing bunker overlooking tidal flats where you can see many kinds of ducks and shorebirds. North Coast map
  2. Ecola State Park.  From the viewpoint: whales, sea lions, pelagic and shore birds.   Bald Eagles and Peregrine Falcons nest in the park and can often be seen hunting sea birds here.  Good view of Bird Rocks with a scope.
  3. Bird Rocks.  Nesting site of approximately 28,000 Common Murres each year.   When the birds are nesting it looks like the rocks have a flattop haircut!
  4. Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach.  Nesting site for Tufted Puffins (article by Brian Godfrey of the Wild Bird Shop), Western Gulls, Pelagic Cormorants, and Pigeon Guillemots.  No climbing!  While in Cannon Beach, be sure to check out the treatment ponds at the east end of second street.  A viewing tower has been built and you can sometimes see very interesting birds in or around the ponds.   Green Herons have nested there as well as Wood Ducks.  When winter storms blow and during migrations are good times to look for other unusual birds.
  5. Oswald West State Park.  Large, with varied habitats.  Most birds which can be seen on the North cCoast can be seen here.  Great views from the Neahkahnie viewpoint (west off Hwy 101) for pelagic birds, eagles, Peregrine Falcons, and whales.  Numerous trails lead through coastal spruce and hemlock forests with sunny clearings, rocky outcrops, beaches, streams, etc.  You can usually find Pileated Woodpeckers and many other arboreal species, American Dippers, Rufous Hummingbirds (in season), and many songbirds.   From Short Sands Beach you can watch surfers and maybe see a Great White Shark nibbling on their pink little toes. 
  6. Nehalem Bay State Park occupies most of the Nehalem River spit.  It is pretty long and narrow with the ocean on one side and the bay on the other.  The boat ramp is a good place to park.  You can walk around in the scrub or just sit and watch the diving birds out on the bay.  Be sure and get there when the tide is coming in.   You can also park in the day-use area and walk out to the end of the spit.   Birds are numerous.  You may see Great Blue Herons, Northern Harriers, various sparrows and warblers, etc.  If you go clear out to the end of the spit, you will see hundreds of Harbor Seals.  But don't get too close to them!  They are easily disturbed and that can cause them to expend valuable energy or even roll over and crush their young.  And it is illegal to harass them.  Just take your binoculars and look from the dunes.

If you are in Cannon Beach, be sure to stop by and visit the friendly folk at the Wild Bird Shop.  We are in Ecola Square at the corner of 1st and Hemlock.   Janet or Brian can usually tell you what birds and wildlife are currently in the area and post Mike Patterson's SJCR and Ecola viewpoint wildlife viewing reports on the bulletin board in the hall, just in case you come by when we they not there.

Information provided by our friends at The Wild Bird Shop

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