Bird watching has become one of the fastest growing recreational pastimes in the United States, and Oregon is virtually a bird-watching paradise, with nine established birding trails highlighting hundreds of species of birds. Plan your bird watching vacation in Bend, Oregon!
Bend is the gateway to the Oregon Cascades Birding Trail, which features 200 sites along 1,000 miles of scenic roadways. With locations as geologically diverse as the lava flows near the Dee Wright Observatory to the riparian habitat along the Deschutes River, this region of the Cascades is home to treasured species like the Western Meadowlark (Oregon’s state bird), the Yellow-Headed Blackbird, and even the Bald Eagle.
Begin your birding adventure right in downtown Bend and the Old Mill District. The Great horned owl or its smaller cousin, the Western screech are known to make night-time appearances, even in heavily populated neighborhoods. You can check out a pair of binoculars from the Old Mill District’s Ticket Mill and start identifying some of our most colorful Bend residents.
Take the short hike up Pilot Butte to discover bluebirds, large flocks of robins and even Bohemian waxwings, known for their distinctive silver-grey feathers streaked with orange, and their prominent spiked headdresses.
In Shevlin Park, Bend’s 650-acre park with trails that wind along Tumalo Creek, catch a glimpse of Lewis’s woodpeckers, or the rare pygmy owl. This day-flying bird is as small as a sparrow, so if you can’t spot it at first, listen for its high-pitched hoots.
Head southeast of Bend to French Glen and the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge for an amazing abundance of bird species. Springtime in this area draws birdwatchers from all over the U.S. and Canada.
Bend is also home to 11 species of woodpeckers. The air is filled with the sound of drumming on trees during spring in Central Oregon. There is even an Annual Woodpecker Wonderland Festival every year in Sisters, which honors these musical creatures.
For scenic birding road trips near Bend, be sure to get a copy of the Oregon Cascades Birding Trail Guide, which includes maps and detailed information about pull-offs and walking trails. Stop by the Visit Bend Welcome Center to pick up a free copy of the Old Mill District and Deschutes River Corridor Birding Check List, as well as more detailed forest and road maps to help you plan your trip.