Birding

Birding on San Juan Island is incredible. Enthusiasts will love the 42 different trails on the island because the terrain is ripe for an addition to their birding “life list” at every turn. There have been more than 290 species of birds recorded so far, and there is a robust program in place to bring Western Bluebirds back to the meadows and valleys.

Local birders communicate through the San Juan Island Audubon Society Facebook page daily, often with rare bird alerts. A standard list of island vehicle and boat equipment begins with binoculars and spotting scopes.

Check out the list at BirdWeb or the one compiled by the San Juan Island National Park Service.

You are more likely to spot a Bald Eagle than a pigeon while birding on San Juan Island. There are a multitude of shorebirds by the sea, ducks and mergansers in the inland lakes, warblers and juncos in the bushes, and the ever present crows and ravens. Sometimes the Bald Eagles even set up nests in downtown Friday Harbor. The San Juan islands are the winter home for a number of northern species including the Trumpeter Swan and Rough-legged Hawk – species you would have to go to the Arctic Circle to see in spring. One of the best viewing areas on the island is American Camp.

Add species to your birding “life list” while on San Juan Island.

A private “birding tour” can also be arranged. Ask our concierge to get the details for you, and add that experience to your visit.

The San Juan Islands Audubon Society meets monthly to take bird walks on different islands serviced daily by the Washington State Ferry system. A schedule of their bird walks is listed on the website. A private “birding tour” can also be arranged with birding expert and author of Birds of the Northwest, Barbara Jensen.

Westcott Bay Reserve Sculpture Park is a 19-acre nature reserve displaying more than 80 sculptures. There are lots of great trails with excellent bird-watching opportunities on this property as well.

Pack your binoculars, hiking shoes, bird book, camera and walking stick – the birds of San Juan Island await you!

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