Adventure Guide

Top 10 Bird Species to Spot in Klamath

Discovering Klamath's Avian Treasures

Birdwatching in Klamath is an invitation to slow down and connect with nature. It's an activity that combines the excitement of exploration with the tranquility of the natural world. Whether you're a seasoned birder or a newcomer to wildlife observation, the experience of spotting these birds in their natural habitats is both rewarding and serene.

ACTIVITIES

Bird Watching

SEASONS

Fall
Spring
Summer
Winter

Learn what to look for

Klamath's birdwatching experience is akin to the thrill of spotting the "Big 5" on an African safari. This region, a critical part of the Pacific Flyway, offers a unique opportunity to observe a remarkable variety and number of birds. From the iconic Bald Eagle to the elusive Northern Pygmy Owl, each bird species in Klamath tells a story of adaptation and survival. This guide aims not just to highlight where and what to look for but also to inspire a deeper appreciation for these winged wonders.

Bald Eagles

See them here: the most eagles outside Alaska

Klamath is renowned for hosting the largest wintering population of Bald Eagles in the lower 48 states. These majestic birds, symbols of freedom and strength, can be best viewed from late November to early March. Prime locations include the Lower Klamath and Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuges. Visitors are encouraged to stop by the Klamath Basin NWR Visitor Center for insights on eagle behavior and the best viewing spots. The sight of an eagle soaring against the backdrop of Klamath's landscapes is a moment of awe-inspiring beauty.

American White Pelicans

Graceful giants

The American White Pelican, a symbol of the city of Klamath Falls, is a sight to behold with its impressive wingspan and elegant flight. In early fall, these birds form large pods, creating a spectacular display over the waters of Klamath Lake: a great viewing location is Putnam Point. Adventurous birders can paddle the Upper Klamath Canoe Trail to observe these pelicans up close in their natural habitat, offering a unique perspective on these graceful giants.

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Grebes

Spectactular water dancers

Sandhill Cranes, known for their graceful movements and distinctive calls, can be spotted in meadows and wetlands across Southern Klamath County. Prime viewing spots include Miller Island State Wildlife Area and the Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuges. The cranes' presence adds a touch of natural elegance to Klamath's rugged landscapes. Visitor centers provide the latest information on crane sightings, enhancing the chances of a memorable encounter.

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Sandhill Cranes

Elegant and distinctive

Sandhill Cranes, known for their graceful movements and distinctive calls, can be spotted in meadows and wetlands across Southern Klamath County. Prime viewing spots include Miller Island State Wildlife Area and the Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuges. The cranes' presence adds a touch of natural elegance to Klamath's rugged landscapes. Visitor centers provide the latest information on crane sightings, enhancing the chances of a memorable encounter.

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Snow Geese

A winter spectacle

The Snow Goose, along with its close relative, the Ross's Goose, creates a winter spectacle in Klamath. With populations reaching up to 35,000, these geese stage for their northern migration in the late winter and early spring. The wetland environments of Miller Island State Wildlife Area, Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge, and Tule Lake Refuges all offer prime viewing opportunities for these large gatherings, a testament to the richness of Klamath's habitats.

Instagram @kelswhite_photography

Great Blue Herons

The stoic fisher

The Great Blue Heron, with its subtle blue-gray plumage and majestic stature, is a common sight along the Link River Trail, accessible from Downtown Klamath Falls, and also in Klamath’s National Wildlife Refuges. These herons, known for their patient hunting and powerful wingbeats, offer a glimpse into the delicate balance of the aquatic ecosystem. Observing a heron in flight or poised along a riverbank is a reminder of the elegance and resilience of nature.

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Peregrine Falcons

The aerial hunter

The Peregrine Falcon, once on the brink of extinction, has made a remarkable comeback and can now be seen throughout Klamath, particularly in National Wildlife Refuges or even around Crater Lake National Park. Known for their incredible speed and hunting prowess, these falcons offer a thrilling sight for birdwatchers. Their presence in Klamath is a testament to successful conservation efforts and the resilience of nature.

Instagram @darrenthorne_photography

American Kestrels

The colorful falcon

The American Kestrel, North America's smallest falcon, is a vibrant presence in Klamath's skies. With their striking colors and agile flight, kestrels can be spotted throughout the region. Birders are encouraged to keep their eyes peeled during their outdoor adventures for a chance to observe these small but fierce predators.

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White-headed Woodpeckers

Forest melody

The White-headed Woodpecker, a species associated with old-growth pine forests, is a distinctive sight in Klamath. These woodpeckers, with their striking white heads and red crown patches, are most commonly found in areas like Moore Park and the Skillet Handle trail. Enjoy a hike through woodland environments and keep your senses tuned to hear and see these birds: their presence adds a unique melody to the forest environment, making them a sought-after species for birdwatchers.

Alann Schmierer on Flickr

Northern Pygmy Owls

The tiny predator, amidst 11 owl species in Klamath

The Northern Pygmy Owl, despite its small size, is a formidable hunter. These owls, with their piercing yellow eyes and high-pitched calls, can be found in various habitats across Klamath. Listening for their calls or observing mobbing songbirds can lead to a successful sighting. The presence of eleven owl species in the Klamath Basin, including the Great Gray Owl, highlights the region's diversity and importance as a birding destination. To spot owls, consider looking and listening for species at the cliffs near the Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center or near Petroglyph Point at Lava Beds National Monument.

Set out on safari at a National Wildlife Refuge

Experience a North American bird watching safari at Klamath's spectacular refuges. National Wildlife Refuges in Klamath are not only sanctuaries for a multitude of species, they're an excellent place to learn more about iconic and rare species and to find out how to spot them. Drive, walk, or paddle your way through unique environments to spot amazing animals in their natural habitats.

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