With a majestic and varied landscape as a background for your birding endeavors, Hood Canal is a gorgeous place to come search for the over 250 species that call the Olympic Peninsula home.
Chock full of life-birds like bald eagles, rhinoceros aucklets and more on premiere birding trails with helpful self-guided trail maps, this is a birder's paradise!
135-acre preserve on Hood Canal, salt- and freshwater marshes, forested wetlands, river estuary. Birding: Spring and fall, listen for Golden-crowned Kinglets; Bewick’s, Marsh, and Winter Wrens. Birds of prey “prowl” the air: Bald Eagles, Ospreys, Red-Tailed Hawks, Short-eared Owls. Winter brings Northern Shrikes to meadows. Features include dabblers: Northern Pintails, American Wigeons, Green-winged Teals; and divers: Ruddy Ducks, Horned Grebes, Common Mergansers, Common Goldeneyes.
57-acre park; Hood Canal saltwater shoreline and mixed forest. Birding: Fall-spring, high tide offers best waterfowl birding. Common Loons, Surf Scoters, Greater Scaups, Common and Barrow’s Goldeneyes, Buffleheads, Red-Breasted Mergansers; Horned,Western, and Red-necked Grebes. Check foliage for Red Crossbills,Varied Thrushes, Steller’s Jays, Fox Sparrows, and Bandtailed Pigeons.
20-acre freshwater beaver pond, basalt cliff. Birding: See Band-tailed Pigeons in trees, Ring-necked Ducks on ponds, Vaux’s Swifts above cliff. Listen for Wilson’s Warblers, Swainson’s Thrushes, Pacific-slope Flycatchers, Song Sparrows, Winter Wrens. Check big-leaf maples for Northern Flickers, Red-breasted Sapsuckers; snags for Bald Eagles, Belted Kingfishers.
182-acre state park with Hood Canal shoreline, conifer forest. Birding: Use scope to see divers: Common Loons, Marbled Murrelets, Western and Red-necked Grebes, Surf and White-winged Scoters, Common and Barrow’s Goldeneyes, Red-breasted Mergansers, Buffleheads, Greater Scaups, Ruddy Ducks.
43-acre forested shoreline, saltwater bay. Birding: Spring = singers! Listen for Hutton’s Vireos and Pacific-slope Flycatchers in forest. Also find Brown Creepers and Red-breasted Nuthatches. Ducks grab winter spotlight: On rising tide, see Surf Scoters, Common Goldeneyes, Red-breasted Mergansers, plus Common, Pacific, and occasional Red-throated Loons.At low tide, Bonaparte’s, Mew, and Ring-billed Gulls lounge on mudflats.
WDFW 30-acre riparian corridor of conifers, deciduous foliage. Birding: Wood Ducks highlight spring birding. Autumn berries beckon f locks of Cedar Waxwings. Wintering ducks include Buffleheads, Common and Hooded Mergansers. See American Dippers in all seasons.
Private 450-acre woodland sanctuary of old conifers amid clear-cut. Birding: Spring attractions include Wood Ducks, Wilson’s Warblers, Black-headed Grosbeaks, Tree and Violet-green Swallows, American Goldfinches. Spring and fall, scan skies for Bald Eagles, Ospreys. Check snags for Northern Flickers; Downy, Hairy, and Pileated Woodpeckers, and trees for busy Pine Siskins, Dark-eyed Juncos, Black-capped and Chestnut-backed Chickadees, Redbreasted Sapsuckers.
WDFW viewpoint on bay, mudflats, fringe of evergreen trees. Birding: Bay offers dynamite duck viewing: Northern Pintails, Red-breasted Mergansers, American and Eurasian Wigeons, Buffleheads, Common and Barrow’s Goldeneyes, Surf and White-winged Scoters, Gadwalls, Green-winged Teals. See Opreys spring-fall, Dunlins in winter. Common Ravens, and Bald Eagles visit year-round.
Winter wins bird lottery! Shore hosts huge flocks of Dunlins; on saltwater, find Marbled Murrelets, Canvasbacks, Northern Pintails; Common, Red-breasted, and Hooded Mergansers; Buffleheads, Common and Barrow’s Goldeneyes, Black, Surf, and White-winged Scoters; in marsh are Gadwalls, Green-winged Teals, Northern Shovelers. Raptors abound: Bald Eagles, Ospreys, Peregrine Falcons, Northern Harriers, Red-tailed Hawks, Short-eared Owls. Early spring brings Longbilled Dowitchers, Wilson’s Snipes, Western Sandpipers.
Fall bird-salmon migrations coincide in viewing bonanza: Surf and White-winged Scoters, Greater and Lesser Scaups; Horned and Red- necked Grebes, American Wigeons, Northern Pintails. Singers come in spring: Yellow and Orange-crowned Warblers, Hutton’s Vireos, Golden-crowned Kinglets, plus Rufous Hummingbirds. Fall-spring, find forest dwellers: Black-capped and Chestnut-Kinglets, plus Rufous Hummingbirds, Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers.
Itinerary #9: Winter/Spring Birding
With its wealth of shoreline, fresh and saltwater marshes, mudflats, and bountiful forests, the Olympic Peninsula is a birders’ paradise.
If you’ve come across a jaw-dropping photo of a bird in Hood Canal—one that doesn’t just capture detail, but also embodies personality and movement—chances are it’s one of Clinton Ferarra’s masterpieces.