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Portland Area Birding Resources?

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Old Thursday 23rd December 2010, 08:44   #1
Gordon S.
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Location: Portland, Oregon
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Portland Area Birding Resources?

Hi All!
Newbie birder here. I've come to this hobby sort of backwards. I've been an avid landscape photographer for many years, but until recently have not owned anything approaching a proper bird lens. I now have a camera/lens combo that I think will be quite good, and I'm eager to take some nice bird photos with it. I've been out looking for birds for several weeks, but have had very little luck. I've been to what I assume are good locations: Oaks Bottom, Ankeny NWR, Baskett Slough, Ridgefield, Sauvie Island, Camissia. I have seen and photographed many water birds at these locations, as expected, but I've not seen much of anything else. A few Red-winged Blackbirds, that's about it. I realize it's not a great time of year, that many species have migrated south, but it still seems like I should be finding more perching birds, songbirds, woodpeckers, etc. So I'm realizing if I want to become a good bird photographer I'll first need to learn a lot about migration patterns, bird habitat, behavior, and so on. Where to start though? The sheer volume of information out there just seems daunting. Hopefully some of you can point me in the right direction to get started. Mainly right now I'd be keen to learn of any resources in the Portland area that suggest where a person might go during a given season to see a certain species, or a certain type of bird. I've not had much luck finding something like that so far.
Thanks for the help!
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Old Friday 24th December 2010, 19:01   #2
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Hi there.....Welcome to the Forum,and Greetings from Spain..Just moved back to Spain,after 12 years in the USA,the last three in Portland,OR!..Of Course I would reccomend You to stop by the Portland Audubon Society web site,to find birding events,and get in topuch with birders in the area,...the coming Christmas Bird Count is fun,and a great opportunity to make friends and learn where the birds are...For me,since I dont drive,it was all metro birding..Smith & Bybee wetland park has many areas that will offer some photo opportunities..I also liked the Tualatin river wildlife refuge,specially since the bus stopped just there!..very nice Hide(need to call to reserve)that you can get for a full day,and will likely some good Raptor oportunities.The location of the refuge can really grant some rarities too...what else...well ,You will find out..!
In my way back to Spain,we first crossed the country,From Portland to Colorado,to my wifes home....a small detour got us to Malheur National wildlife refuge,and thats probably THE destination for Oregon birds,since its numbers are counted by thousands of birds wintering there...a bit further ,but not that far really,Is Bear lake wildlife refuge,in the SE corner of Idaho ,bordering Utah...also a fantastic site....
Welcome again,and Merry Christmas
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Old Wednesday 29th December 2010, 14:17   #3
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Portland Area Birding Resources

i live in Portland too. The passerines are here this time of year. i'm quite surprised you did not find them at the places you visited, because they are there.

Anyway, here are some local resources: has maps, directions of many birding hotspots in the state. same thing with reference to the above as well as additional hotspots the local Audubon Society chapter which sponsors field trips and classes. Local birder Greg Gillson's web page with tons of local information state wide birding listserve

and finally a local Portland Area Birding group forum. Not terribly active but you can ask anything you want, and we'll do our best to help you out.

In Portland itself don't overlook the parks and natural areas:
Westmoreland Park -- terrific for working on your gulls
Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden -- ducks and woodland species
Reed Canyon -- woodland species and more, but less ducks
Mt Tabor Park -- best place for migrating birds in Portland
Broughton Beach -- open waters of the Columbia for unusual water fowl (there's a reported Tufted Duck there now) and open grassland
Whitaker Ponds -- water fowl and woodland birds

and more:

Smith Bybee
Kelly Point Park
Oaks Bottom
Sellwood Riverfront Park
Vanport Wetlands
Force Lake
Cathedral Park
Waterfront Park

And you can make good use of eBird for finding what is being reported for any time frame -- i do that all the time. Just select the county or counties, then time frame and it will show you which birds are being reported, how many and where. It is absolutely the best tool to meet your desire to:
"Mainly right now I'd be keen to learn of any resources in the Portland area that suggest where a person might go during a given season to see a certain species, or a certain type of bird. I've not had much luck finding something like that so far."


Last edited by gh1 : Wednesday 29th December 2010 at 14:22.
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Old Wednesday 5th January 2011, 17:47   #4
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Would definitely recommend giving Ridgefield another try. I prefer this time of year for the raptors and all the migrating ducks, geese,swans,egrets,herons,cranes. The place is a virtual shooting gallery- I often fill 2 8gb cards when I spend an afternoon(usually twice around the auto loop) there. In addition to the birds there is lots of other wildlife- river otters, nutria,racoons,coyotes, deer.
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Old Thursday 21st April 2011, 06:19   #5
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Some day when you want to venture a little east there is always the canyons over here in central Oregon.
I am not sure how publicized the eagle watch on the Warm Springs Reservation is, if the news gets over there to Portland or not?? But they have a nice viewing place etc.. for visitors. Not sure when it is open??
We have the bald eagle kicking out their young now. The turkey vulture just started showing up... the hawks are nesting right now, but they are around and the osprey should be showing up any time!!
Way to many small birds to list over here and with the flowers that are going to bloom here soon..... Central Oregon will not disappoint even the new birders out there :0)
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