Best Bird Watching in Washington

A large adult American Bald Eagle in a tree surveying her hunting grounds in northern Washington State
Shaman Mountain is reader-supported. We may earn a small commission on certain links, at no additional cost to you. Learn more.

Washington State is a haven for birdwatchers, offering an enchanting blend of diverse landscapes and abundant avian life. From snow-capped mountains to sprawling coastal shores, and lush forests to serene wetlands, the state’s varied ecosystems provide an ideal habitat for a wide range of bird species. Whether you’re an avid birder seeking rare sightings or a nature enthusiast eager to connect with the feathered residents, Washington’s top birdwatching spots promise an unforgettable experience in the heart of the Pacific Northwest. Get ready to embark on a journey of discovery as we unveil some of the finest destinations for birdwatching in this nature-rich state.



Cape Disappointment State Park

Cape Disappointment State Park awaits at the southwestern tip of Washington State. This coastal destination boasts breathtaking cliffs, pristine beaches, and lush forests. Traverse well-maintained trails and immerse yourself in diverse birdlife and majestic Pacific Ocean views. Experience boundless beauty and intriguing sights in this enchanting park.

Reasons To Go Bird Watching at Cape Disappointment State Park:

  • Diverse Avian Life: Encounter a wide variety of bird species, from shorebirds to raptors, amidst the park’s diverse habitats.
  • Scenic Coastal Beauty: Enjoy stunning views of the Pacific Ocean, rugged cliffs, and picturesque beaches while spotting birds.
  • Trails and Accessibility: Explore well-maintained trails and birdwatching areas suitable for all levels of enthusiasts.
  • Seasonal Migrations: Witness fascinating bird migrations during different seasons, adding to the excitement of your visit.
  • Nature and Serenity: Immerse yourself in the tranquil ambiance of the park, perfect for peaceful birdwatching moments amidst nature’s splendor.

Recommended Gear: Binoculars, Field Guide, Sturdy Hiking Boots, Camera, Sunscreen, Insect Repellent, Water Bottle


Skagit Valley

Skagit Valley, a birdwatcher’s paradise nestled north of Seattle, beckons with its awe-inspiring landscapes and vibrant avian population. Renowned for its wintering and migrating birds, this picturesque valley offers an enchanting experience for nature enthusiasts. From the graceful flights of snow geese and swans to the thrilling sight of raptors soaring above, Skagit Valley promises an unforgettable birdwatching adventure amidst the beauty of the Pacific Northwest.

Reasons To Go Bird Watching at Skagit Valley:

  • Spectacular Bird Migrations: Witness the mesmerizing spectacle of wintering and migrating birds, including snow geese and swans, as they gather in vast numbers.
  • Rich Avian Diversity: Explore a wide variety of bird species inhabiting diverse ecosystems, from wetlands and marshes to agricultural fields.
  • Raptor Sightings: Enjoy the thrill of spotting majestic raptors, such as eagles and hawks, soaring through the valley’s skies.
  • Scenic Landscapes: Immerse yourself in the beauty of the valley’s picturesque landscapes, framed by the stunning backdrop of the Cascade Mountains.
  • Festivals and Events: Take part in birdwatching festivals and events that celebrate the valley’s incredible birdlife, offering unique opportunities to connect with fellow enthusiasts.

Recommended Gear: Birding Field Journal, Birding App, Binoculars, Sun Hat, Insect Repellent, Snacks, Folding Stool


Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge

Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, near Olympia, beckons with its captivating wildlife and diverse habitats. This coastal destination boasts tidal flats, freshwater marshes, and riparian woodlands, attracting a myriad of bird species year-round. Prepare to be enchanted by the sight of graceful herons, migratory waterfowl, and the symphony of nature at this tranquil haven.

Reasons To Go Bird Watching at Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge:

  • Abundant Avian Diversity: Encounter a wide array of bird species year-round, including herons, waterfowl, and songbirds.
  • Rich Ecosystems: Explore diverse habitats like tidal flats, marshes, and woodlands, offering unique birdwatching opportunities.
  • Migratory Bird Sightings: Witness impressive migrations as various bird species pass through the refuge during their seasonal journeys.
  • Photography Opportunities: Capture stunning bird photos in their natural habitats amidst the picturesque landscapes.
  • Tranquil Nature Experience: Enjoy a peaceful and immersive birdwatching experience, surrounded by the serenity of nature.

Recommended Gear: Binoculars, Bird Field Guide, Camera with Telephoto Lens, Sturdy Footwear, Layered Clothing, Sun Protection, Insect Repellent


Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge

Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge in southwest Washington beckons with its serene wetlands, grasslands, and woodlands, attracting a remarkable diversity of bird species year-round. From majestic waterfowl gliding gracefully across the waters to the enchanting melodies of songbirds, Ridgefield Refuge promises a captivating escape into the heart of natural beauty.

Reasons To Go Bird Watching at Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge:

  • Abundant Avian Diversity: Experience a remarkable array of bird species in their natural habitats, including waterfowl, raptors, and songbirds.
  • Varied Ecosystems: Explore serene wetlands, grasslands, and woodlands, offering diverse birdwatching opportunities.
  • Year-Round Birdwatching: Enjoy birdwatching throughout the year, with different species visiting the refuge during various seasons.
  • Photography Opportunities: Capture stunning images of birds and other wildlife amidst picturesque landscapes.
  • Tranquil Nature Escape: Immerse yourself in the refuge’s serene ambiance, providing a peaceful and rejuvenating birdwatching experience.

Recommended Gear: Spotting Scope, Birding Journal, Binoculars, Binocular Harness, Water Bottle, Snacks, Sturdy Footwear


Grays Harbor

Grays Harbor, a coastal paradise in Washington State, beckons with its scenic beauty and abundant birdlife. Situated on the Pacific Flyway, this haven attracts a diverse array of migratory and resident birds. From majestic shorebirds wading along the shores to graceful raptors soaring above, Grays Harbor offers an immersive experience for birdwatchers seeking nature’s wonders amidst the soothing sounds of ocean waves.

Reasons To Go Bird Watching at Grays Harbor:

  • Prime Migratory Spot: Witness the spectacle of migratory birds passing through this crucial stopover point on the Pacific Flyway.
  • Abundant Shorebirds: Observe a rich variety of shorebirds, including sandpipers, plovers, and herons, along the picturesque coastline.
  • Raptor Sightings: Spot majestic raptors such as bald eagles and peregrine falcons soaring over the estuarine waters.
  • Varied Habitats: Explore diverse habitats like mudflats, estuaries, and wetlands, providing a home to numerous bird species.
  • Scenic Beauty: Enjoy birdwatching amidst stunning coastal landscapes, enhancing the overall birdwatching experience.

Recommended Gear: Binoculars, Field Guide, Hiking Boots, Camera with Telephoto Lens, Hat, Spotting Scope, Backpack


Puget Sound

Puget Sound, a natural wonder in the Pacific Northwest, entices with its breathtaking beauty and rich marine life. Stretching along the coast of Washington State, this intricate system of interconnected waterways offers a paradise for birdwatchers. From elegant seabirds soaring above the waves to graceful waterfowl gliding across the calm waters, Puget Sound promises an enchanting birdwatching experience amidst the region’s captivating coastal landscapes.

Reasons To Go Bird Watching at Puget Sound:

  • Seabird Spectacle: Witness a diverse array of seabirds, including gulls, terns, and cormorants, gracefully navigating the Sound’s coastal waters.
  • Abundant Waterfowl: Observe majestic waterfowl such as ducks, geese, and swans thriving in the Sound’s wetland habitats.
  • Scenic Coastal Landscapes: Enjoy birdwatching amidst the stunning backdrop of Puget Sound’s picturesque shores and mountain vistas.
  • Year-Round Birdwatching: Experience birdwatching opportunities throughout the year, with various species residing or migrating through the region.
  • Opportunities for Marine Birdlife: Spot fascinating marine species like the iconic bald eagles and various seabirds that rely on the Sound’s rich marine ecosystem.

Recommended Gear: Binoculars, Bird Field Guide, Rain Jacket, Camera/Smartphone, Hiking Shoes, Backpack, Birding Journal


Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge

Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge, set in the picturesque south-central region of Washington, beckons birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts alike. Its pristine landscape features wetlands, grasslands, and open water, drawing a diverse array of bird species. From the haunting calls of sandhill cranes to the elegant flight of raptors, Conboy Lake Refuge promises a captivating birdwatching experience amid tranquil wilderness.

Reasons To Go Bird Watching at Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge:

  • Diverse Avian Wildlife: Encounter a wide variety of bird species, including sandhill cranes, waterfowl, and raptors, in their natural habitats.
  • Scenic Landscape: Immerse yourself in the refuge’s picturesque scenery, comprising wetlands, grasslands, and serene open waters.
  • Peaceful Wilderness: Enjoy a tranquil birdwatching experience away from the hustle and bustle of urban life.
  • Photography Opportunities: Capture stunning images of birds and their pristine surroundings in this remote refuge.
  • Unique Birdwatching Experience: Discover the refuge’s distinctive avian population and witness captivating bird behaviors amid unspoiled wilderness.

Recommended Gear: Spotting Scope, Birding Journal, Binocular Harness, Tripod, Sun Hat, Bug Spray, Snacks/Water


Whidbey Island

Whidbey Island, situated in the Puget Sound of Washington State, invites visitors to explore its picturesque haven with captivating natural beauty and diverse wildlife. This enchanting island boasts stunning coastal landscapes, lush forests, and abundant birdlife, making it a perfect destination for birdwatchers. From majestic eagles soaring overhead to charming songbirds in the woods, Whidbey Island promises an unforgettable birdwatching experience amidst its serene surroundings.

Reasons To Go Bird Watching at Whidbey Island:

  • Varied Birdlife: Encounter a diverse array of bird species, including eagles, songbirds, and waterfowl, amidst the island’s scenic landscapes.
  • Coastal Beauty: Enjoy birdwatching along the island’s stunning coastline, offering picturesque views of the Puget Sound.
  • Rich Ecosystems: Explore lush forests and wetlands that provide excellent habitats for a wide variety of birdlife.
  • Year-Round Birdwatching: Experience birdwatching opportunities throughout the year, with different species residing or migrating through the island.
  • Tranquil Retreat: Immerse yourself in the island’s peaceful ambiance, offering a serene escape while observing birds in their natural habitats.

Recommended Gear: Binoculars, Bird Field Guide, Camera, Sturdy Hiking Shoes, Layered Clothing, Sunscreen, Insect Repellent


Mount Rainier National Park

Mount Rainier National Park, a majestic jewel in Washington State, offers a breathtaking retreat for nature enthusiasts and birdwatchers alike. Towering over the Cascade Range, this iconic park boasts diverse habitats, from subalpine meadows to ancient forests, attracting a rich variety of bird species. Amidst the stunning landscapes, encounter the grace of soaring eagles, elusive owls, and melodious songbirds in this natural wonderland.

Reasons To Go Bird Watching at Mount Rainier National Park:

  • Diverse Bird Species: Discover a wide array of birdlife, from alpine species to forest inhabitants, thriving in the park’s varied ecosystems.
  • Spectacular Landscapes: Enjoy birdwatching amidst the stunning backdrop of Mount Rainier and its surrounding natural beauty.
  • Raptor Sightings: Witness the grace of raptors, such as eagles and hawks, soaring high above the mountain’s peaks.
  • Seasonal Migrations: Experience thrilling bird migrations during different seasons, adding excitement to your birdwatching adventures.
  • Nature Immersion: Immerse yourself in the park’s tranquility and serenity while observing birds in their pristine wilderness habitats.

Recommended Gear: Spotting Scope, Birding Journal, Binocular Harness, Tripod, Rain Jacket, Backpack, Snacks


Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve

Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, situated in northwest Washington, invites nature enthusiasts and birdwatchers. This coastal sanctuary embraces tidal flats, salt marshes, and eelgrass beds, creating a haven for diverse bird species. Amidst the breathtaking estuarine landscape, observe elegant shorebirds wading gracefully and raptors soaring overhead, offering a captivating birdwatching experience amidst vital ecosystems.

Reasons To Go Bird Watching at Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve:

  • Abundant Avian Diversity: Encounter a diverse array of bird species, from elegant shorebirds to soaring raptors, thriving in the estuarine habitats.
  • Rich Estuarine Ecosystems: Explore tidal flats, salt marshes, and eelgrass beds, providing excellent birdwatching opportunities.
  • Migratory Bird Sightings: Witness impressive migrations as various bird species pass through the reserve during their seasonal journeys.
  • Educational Experience: Learn about the vital role of estuaries and their impact on birdlife through educational programs and research at the reserve.
  • Spectacular Scenery: Enjoy birdwatching amidst the stunning beauty of the coastal landscape, providing a picturesque backdrop for your observations.

Recommended Gear: Binoculars, Field Guide, Hiking Boots, Camera, Sun Protection, Insect Repellent, Water Bottle/Snacks


Related Posts:

Seagull sitting on a driftwood at a rocky beach in Oregon

Best Bird Watching in Oregon

Embark on an exciting journey through the best birdwatching spots in Oregon, where the Pacific Northwest’s natural splendor unveils an unparalleled world of avian wonders.

Pelican bird perched on a pier in late spring at SW Florida

Best Bird Watching in Florida

Explore the Sunshine State, where vibrant skies and diverse ecosystems create a haven for bird enthusiasts. Florida is renowned for its stunning natural landscapes and

Clark’s nutcracker bird in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado

Best Bird Watching in Colorado

Embark on a captivating journey through the untamed beauty of Colorado, delving into the world of birdwatching—an enthralling activity that allows you to connect with