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Wildlife & Birding in the Skagit Valley

The Skagit River Valley is a rich ecosystem connecting the subalpine terrain of the North Cascades with coastal bluffs and deep marine waters. Though much habitat has been altered through a highly developed and productive system of farmlands and urban spaces, there remain large protected areas to support native wildlife. The Skagit Wildlife Area contains eight such spaces-- The Johnson/DeBay's Slough Unit, The Fir Island Farm Reserve, The Island Unit (available by boat only), The Leque Island Unit, The Samish Unit, The Skagit Bay Estuary Unit, The Skagit Headquarters Unit and The Telegraph Slough Unit--and is world renowned for its birding. 

Wildlife Viewing

3,000 species of invertebrates including Geoduck Clams, Oysters, Octopus, Sea Urchins, Dungeness Crab and Sea Stars. Puget Sound Marine mammals include orca, gray and humpback whales, sea lions, sea otters and harbor seals. Your best bet for seeing all of these is to book a trip with Island Adventures or Anacortes Kayak Tours.

Shrew (Vagrant and Water) American Pika, Nuttal's Cottontail, Snowshoe Hare, White-Tailed Jackrabbits, Muskrat, Beaver, Marmot (Hoary and Yellow-bellied), Squirrel (Columbian Ground, Cascade Golden-Mantled Ground, Western Gray, Red, Douglas, Northern Flying), Chipmunk (Townsend's and Yellow Pine), Mice (North American Deer, Northwestern Deer, Great Basin Pocket, Pacific and Western Jumping), Bushy-Tailed Woodrat, Northern Bog Lemming, Vole (Water, Montane, Long-Tailed, Southern Red-Backed and Western Heather), Porcupine, Northern Pocket Gopher, Bobcat, Mountain Lion, Canada Lynx, Coyote, Red Fox, Gray Wolf, Black Bear, Raccoon, Weasel (Short-Tailed and Long-Tailed), Mink, American Marten, Northern River Otter, Wolverine, American Badger, Skunk (Western-Spotted and Striped), Deer (Mule, White-Tailed and Black-Tailed), Rocky Mountain Elk, Mountain Goats, Moose

Great Blue Heron

Snow Geese

Key Birding Locations

Skagit River Bald Eagle Natural Area

.3-mile river shoreline, Cottonwood trees and Douglas firs

Bald Eagles

Howard Miller Steelhead Park 

83 acres along the river, meadow, maples, cottonwood, Douglas fir

Osprey, Red-Tailed Hawk, Red-Breasted Sapsucker, Rufous Hummingbird, Violet-Green Swallow, White-Crowned Sparrow, Common Yellowthroat, Belted Kingfisher, American Dipper, Common Merganser, Steller's Jay

Rockport State Park 

465 acres, old growth Douglas Fir, Western Red Cedars, Sitka Spruce, Western Hemlock

Pacific-Slope Flycatcher, Warbler (Townsend's and MacGillivray's), Western Tanager, Red-Breasted Nuthatch, Brown Creeper, Golden-Crowned Kinglet, Thrush (Swainson and Varied), Pine Siskin, Steller's Jay, Winter Wren

Rasar State Park

128 acres along river, meadow, deciduous and coniferous forest

Woodpecker (Pileated, Hairy and Downy), Chestnut-Backed Chickadee, Winter Wren, Belted Kingfisher, Red-Eyed Vireo, Thrush (Swainson's and Varied), Western Tanager, Black-headed Grosbeak, Flycatcher (Willow and Pacific-Slope), Warbler (Yellow-Rumped, Black-Throated, Gray and Wilson's), Bald Eagles, Common Goldeneye.

Bayview State Park

Firs, gravel beaches, salt marsh, mud flats, offshore eelgrass beds

Brant, Northern Pintail, Wigeon (American and Eurasian), Scaups (Greater and Lesser), Ducks (Long-Tailed and Harlequin), Green-Winged Teal, Grebe (Horned, Western and Red-Necked), Loon (Common, Pacific and Red-throated), Marsh Dwelling Green Heron, Dunlin, Yellowlegs (Greater and Lesser), Sanderling, Western Sandpiper, Peregrine Falcon

Washington Park

Cedar, Fir, Madrone forest, grassy bluffs, boulder-strewn coastline

Marbled Murrelet, Pigon Guillemot, Common Loon, Grebe (Red-Necked and Western), Cormorant (Double-Crested and Pelagic), Brant, Surf Scoters, Hooded Merganser, Harlequin Duck, Rhinoceros Auklet, Black Oystercatcher, Bald Eagle, Brown Creeper, Red-Breasted Nuthatch, Golden-Crowned Kinglet, Bushtit, Woodpecker (Down, Hairy and Pileated)

Deception Pass State Park

Marine waters, rocky promontory, coniferous forest

Swallow (Violet-Green and Barn), Brant, Marbled Murrelet, Loon (Common and Red-Throated), Harlequin Ducks, Bufflehead, Hooded Merganser, Grebe (Western and Red-Necked), Sparrow (White-Crowned and Golden-Crowned), Bald Eagle, Cormorant (Double-Crested and Pelagic), Anna's Hummingbird

Skagit Wildlife Headquarters

2,400 acres of tideland marsh, fields

Snow Geese, Swan (Trumpeter and Tundra), Sparrow (Golden-Crowned and Lincoln's), Greater Yellowlegs, Wren (Marsh and Bewick's), White-Crowned Sparrow, Rufous Hummingbird, Tree Swallow, Osprey, Bald Eagle, Hawk (Red-Tailed and Rough-Legged), Short-Eared Owl

Skagit Wildlife Area: Fir Island Farm/Hayton Reserve 

11,000-acre refuge with agricultural and riparian lands diked-off from driftwood-covered mud flats

Peregrine Falcons, Dunlins, Black-Bellied Plovers, Barn Owls, Great Horned Owls, Trumpeter and Tundra Swans, Snow Geese and American Wigeons

Skagit Wildlife Area: Big Ditch 

111 acres of diked agricultural fields, mud flats, deciduous trees and shrubs on remnant delta

Swan (Trumpeter and Tundra), Snow Geese, Dunlin, Greater Yellowlegs, Peregrine Falcon, Bald Eagle, American Kestrel, Northern Harrier, Northern Pintail, Snowy Owl

Birding Guide
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Wildlife Guide
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Field Guides
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Skagit Valley Lodging, Dining, Activities & Info
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