Are you an avid birder, or interested in birding? Birding is a fascinating hobby full of opportunities to view unique coastal birds in their natural habitats. Come prepared with hiking boots, rain gear, field guides and binoculars to experience some of the finest birding in Oregon!
Birding in Newport is fun and exciting during the winter months, if you don’t mind getting a bit muddy and wet. From the beaches to the dunes to the coastal forests, you’ll find scores of birds to observe and document. Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area and Yaquina Bay are both designated as Important Bird Areas (IBA) nationally and by the State of Oregon. In addition, there are three other IBAs nearby in the Salmon River Estuary, Siletz Bay, and Alsea Bay.
Feathered friends abound; here’s a guide to where to find them.
Great examples of shorebirds and other marine species can be observed at the expansive beach here (and at Newport’s other beaches as well). Look for Western and Hermann’s Gulls, Common Loons, and Brown Pelicans flying by, and sanderling, whimbrel, and Western Sandpiper on the sand. In the park and campground, you can find Pileated Woodpecker, Band-tailed Pigeon, Swainson’s Thrush, Pacific Slope Flycatchers, Brown Creepers, and Wilson’s Warbler.
Yaquina Bay Road, extending from Newport’s Historic Bayfront to Toledo, is a great place to spot a range of birds year-round. Stop at pullouts along the way to view loons, grebes, ducks and gulls. Other species that frequent the bay here include brandt, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Green Heron, and Snowy Egret. Winter Birds include Dunlin, Western and Least Sandpiper, and Black Turnstones. You may also see Bald Eagles and Belted Kingfishers.
The Estuary Trail traverses the edge of Yaquina Bay on the campus of the Hatfield Marine Science Center in South Beach. Over 3,000 feet of trail offer year-round public access to the estuary, and interpretive signs are placed along the trail, with an observation shelter provided approximately midway. Parts of the trail and facility are also accessible to those with limited mobility. You might see Dunlin, Western and Least Sandpiper, Semipalmated Plover, Bald Eagles, Merlin, and White Tailed Kite.
Many habitats come together at the South Jetty at the mouth of Yaquina Bay, and also on the trails that extend from there south to South Beach State Park. Along the South Jetty Road, look for loons, cormorants, Pigeon Guillemots, and Harlequin Ducks. The coastal dunes along the paved walking trail offer the opportunity to see a range of species, including swallows, flycatchers, and Cedar Waxwing.
To maximize your birding success, be sure to consult with the excellent web site of the Oregon Coast Birding Trail for maps, species lists, and more. In addition, local birders communicate through Yaquina Birders and Naturalists, a group that meets monthly and offers guided birding trips.