The state of Washington is home to a variety of bird species. It is home to around 508 different bird species. Birds in Washington range from the more commonly observed American Robin to the less usually seen Bank Swallow.
Washington’s state bird is the American Goldfinch, which was designated as the state bird in 1928. The American Goldfinch is a little yellow bird with black wings and a yellow body. It is seen year-round in Washington.
In private woodlands, Washington’s wildlife population is thriving. Deer, elk, black bears, beavers, and bats are just a few of the wildlife that calls Washington’s private forests home.
Washington birds of prey
A raptor, or bird of prey, is a carnivorous bird that hunts and consumes other species of birds. Along with their hunting behaviors, raptors can be identified by their hooked beaks, sharp, curved talons, and superb eyesight. Thus, vultures are frequently referred to as raptors, despite the fact that they are scavengers of the dead. However, crows are referred to as scavengers, despite the fact that they rob and consume live nestlings, just as raptors do because they lack the defining physical characteristics of raptors.
Merlins, Red-tailed Hawks, Bald Eagles, Peregrine Falcons, Cooper’s Hawks, Ospreys, Sharp-shinned Hawks, American Kestrels, and Owls are all common raptors in western Washington cities.
In the section below, you may learn more about these birds of prey.
Cathartes Aura – Turkey Vulture
Pandion Haliaetus – Osprey
Tyto Alba – Barn Owl
Falco Mexicanus – Prairie Falcon
Falco Peregrinus – Peregrine Falcon
Falco columbarius – Merlin
Buteo Lineatus – Red-Shouldered Hawk
Haliaeetus Leucocephalus – Bald Eagle
Accipiter Cooperii – Cooper’s Hawk
Accipiter Striatus – Sharp-Shinned Hawk
Circus Hudsonius – Northern Harrier
Aquila Chrysaetos – Golden Eagle
Buteo Jamaicensis – Red-Tailed Hawk
Strix Nebulosa – Great Gray Owl
Megascops Kennicottii – Western Screech Owl
Bubo Virginianus – Great Horned Owl
Eagles in Washington
Wintering eagles in Washington begin arriving in October from northern breeding grounds in Alaska and Canada. The majority of adults come in November and December, while a large number of adolescents arrive in January. In Washington, the winter distribution of bald eagles is comparable to the breeding distribution, but is more concentrated around salmon spawning streams and wintering locations for waterfowl.
Bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) are year-round residents of most of Washington, with the highest populations seen in the Puget Sound region. Individuals are present in the Puget Sound basin as migrants, winter residents, and breeding population members.
In the section below, learn more about these eagles.
Owls in Washington
With hooked beaks and needle-sharp talons, the majority of owls are nocturnal predators (claws). They have broad wings, light bodies, and particularly developed feathers that let them stealthily swoop down on prey. Adult owls hoot, screech, or whistle, depending on the species. Washington is home to more than a dozen owl species.
Due to their ecological preferences, certain common owls in Washington are uncommon or unlikely to be spotted on your land. The great gray owl (mountains), the burrowing owl (shrub-steppe areas), and the threatened spotted owl are among them (old-growth forests). Around wooded rural properties, agricultural areas, and major urban parks, the following owl species are frequently observed or heard.
In the section below, learn more about these owls.
Common backyard birds of Washington
The wonderful thing about so-called “backyard birds” is their ubiquitous presence. They’re frequently only a few feet away, regardless of how metropolitan or remote our environment is.
They are the birds in the trees directly outside our windows or in the shrubs alongside city streets, the birds we are most likely to hear while out and about or even in our own houses.
In early spring in Washington state, here are some common backyard birds to listen for.
Woodpeckers in Washington
Washington State is home to a sizable wildlife and bird population.
Due to its unusual geography of coniferous and mixed forests, high heights, and coastal locations, the area is home to a rich array of woodpeckers, including sapsuckers and flickers.
Among the more common woodpecker species, there are a few unusual species that are not found in the majority of the country.
There are numerous woodpecker species that call Washington State home, and the majority of them are year-round residents.
Downy Woodpeckers, Hairy Woodpeckers, Northern Flickers, Pileated Woodpeckers, American Three-toed Woodpeckers, Black-backed Woodpeckers, White-headed Woodpeckers, Red-breasted Sapsuckers, and Williamson’s Sapsuckers are all-year-round residents.
Discover how to recognize these birds below.
Best Birdwatching Spots in Washington
When it comes to habitat diversity, Washington is hard to surpass, with around 500 species listed on the state checklist. Mount Rainier’s snow-capped summit keeps an eye out for black oystercatchers and harlequin ducks in Puget Sound. On the Olympic Peninsula, the Hoh Rainforest is one of North America’s temperate rainforests, receiving approximately 12 feet of rain every year.
The following are the top five places to visit while in the state. Now is the time to go bird watching.
- Skagit Wildlife Area
- Willapa National Wildlife Refuge
- Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge
- Grays Harbor National Wildlife Refuge
- Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve
Other Washington birds
Today, we’ll discuss the birding scene in Washington State and tell you a little about the species that may be seen there, what they like to eat, and more. Without further ado, let us review Washington’s other popular birds!