By Isaac Waggoner

The start of spring also marks the best time for bird watching. While birdwatching is a year-around activity, spring is the time of migration and increased activity among birds, granting viewers the chance to see a wider variety of species. Bird watching offers a sense of serenity and a chance to connect with nature, allowing the busyness of the outside world to fade away for just a moment. Lane County is home to many beautiful species of birds and beautiful landscapes to view them in. Grab a pair of binoculars if you’ve got them and head out to these spots in Lane County for wonderful birding. 

Alton Baker Park

Alton Baker Park is one of Eugene’s largest parks, spanning more than 230 acres along the Willamette River. The park is home to a network of walking and running trails, a dog park, beautiful green lawns, and much more. With the size of the park and diverse scenery, it’s one of the best places in Eugene to see an array of different bird species. The tall grass and ponds surrounded by wetlands is a hot spot for different species of gulls and ducks. It is important to note that feeding these birds is discouraged by the city as it can be potentially harmful for the wildlife. While by the water, make sure to keep an eye out for great-blue heron and pied-billed grebe. Venture through the cottonwoods and search for kinglets, woodpeckers, wrens, sandpipers, and many more species of birds. Alton Baker Park provides some of the best opportunities to see a variety of birds in Lane County and with beautiful scenery as well, it’s a must stop for any birder.

Hendricks Park

Hendricks Park, best known for its rhododendron garden, spans 78 acres and is a prime location for birding in Eugene. The park is the oldest city park in Eugene and was donated in 1908 by the Hendricks family. In the more public areas of the park, birds like robins, song sparrows, Stellar’s jays, finches, and others can be spotted. Through the many intertwined walking paths amongst 200 year-old Douglas firs, a variety of different types of warblers can be spotted in the high branches. Fortunately with spring arriving, Hammond’s and Pacific-slope flycatchers, and Western wood peewees are more present in the park. Take in the beauty of the park and spot magnificent birds this spring at Hendricks Park. 

Armitage Park

The riverside park sits on the lower banks of the McKenzie Rivers and spans 57 acres. The park features paved and natural trails leading to picnic tables in the open and in woodland areas. Amongst the trails and picnic areas many birds of different species can be seen. Along the riverside, bald eagles, osprey, tree swallows, spotted sandpipers, and common mergansers are often present. The woodland areas provide a different sighting opportunity with Western screech owls, spotted towhee, woodpeckers, chickadees, and stellar jays, just to name a few. Pack a picnic and head out to Armitage Park to spot a wide and spectacular variety of birds. 

Skinner Butte

Skinner Butte Park hosts a breathtaking view and there’s a riverside park just beneath the butte. The view at the top of the butte is unmatched in Eugene, offering great vistas of downtown, the south hills, the Willamette River, and two of the Sisters peaks in the distance. Not only does the park offer great views of the scenery, but also birds. The park is home to more than 145 different species of birds, making this one of the best birding spots in all of Lane County. Warblers are the most common birds seen atop Skinner Butte. Although in spring, the butte serves as a hot spot for migrating birds, with tanagers, grosbeaks, vireos, and flycatchers all stopping by. At the top of the hill, don’t be surprised to see little hummingbirds zipping by. You might even learn to recognize their metallic, high-pitched squeaky sound. There are too many species that hang out here to list, but some of the most prominent birds of Skinner Butte consist of chickadees, brown creepers, winter wrens, and kinglets. Take the walk up to Skinner Butte this spring to enjoy marvelous views and even more marvelous birds.

More resources and birdwatching spots:

Mount Pisgah Bird Guide

Mt. Pisgah Birding Trails  

Willamalane Birding Trail  

Audubon Society Bird Walks

Fern Ridge Wildlife Area 

Vaux’s Swifts Migrating