Thanks to Denny AJFM Van Horn for writing this page, and to Dow Lambert for the photos used here.
From the mountains, into the forests, and on out to the coast, the avifauna of Olympic National Park is as diverse as the land itself. Over 300 species are known to occur here. From Horned Larks nest in the subalpine zone to Common Murres protecting their one egg on a Haystack’s ledge just offshore, birds utilize every habitat opportunity that the Park encompasses. But how does a visitor, or for that matter, where does a visitor even begin in a quest to find birds in the Park? The answer is as simple as, on arrival, stepping out of your vehicle and looking and listening–the birds are there. But that doesn’t provide the resources this website is designed to offer.
So let’s begin with Olympic National Park Birds page on the National Park Service website. This page is a general introduction to birds in the Park; an overview that offers the visitor a photo gallery of various common birds, and a link to technical research on land birds of the Park.
Following that, one can proceed to the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary (NOAA). Here the wonders of coastal land and pelagic species from eagles to auklets, puffins, shearwaters, and even albatross utilizing and inhabiting the 70 miles of coastline associated with the Park are discussed, along with information about where and how to observe them.
Next, one can visit the Olympic Peninsula Audubon Society (OPAS) website for in-depth information on peninsula birds. They have a Where to Find Birds on the North Olympic Peninsula page, which includes a map and a specific guide to common birds found at Heart-O-The-Hills camp ground and Hurricane Ridge. OPAS also offers year-round field trips across the peninsula and into the Park.
A visit (in person and online) to The Dungeness River Audubon Center at Railroad Bridge Park, in Sequim provides specific information about birding in the Park. The Center houses an exhibit of local birds, an extensive flora and fauna library, and educational opportunities – many of which are connected to the Park.
An additional resource for knowing what birds are currently being seen across the northern Olympic Peninsula, is Clallam County Birding, a site dedicated to tracking and recording the current status of birds, from the mountains to the ocean and all habitats in-between.
These sites will provide the visitor interested in finding and observing birds on the Olympic Peninsula and in Olympic National Park, with a solid foundation from which to begin trekking for birds.
From an aesthetic and educational perspective, there are several other places to look into birds and birding in Olympic National Park. These include photo galleries, bird festivals, and educational endeavors. Several prominent photographers on the peninsula who specialize in birds include:
- Dow Lambert Bird Photography
- List others
For the visitor looking for a basic introduction to Olympic Peninsula birds, there’s BirdFest in early April, providing guided birding trips to local habitats, including the Park. Along the educational spectrum is the Northwest Raptor &Wildlife Center in Sequim, a facility dedicated to the rehabilitation of wildlife, environmental education, and conservation awareness.