The Wings of Winter: Cold Weather Birds of Ocean Shores
For the more adventurous birder, a visit to Ocean Shores is a perfect end of year activity. With winters generally staying well above freezing, and enough species wandering all across the Shores, we proudly present some of our winter birds.
Some birds simply do not fly South for the winter. Most people assume that migration is due to the cooling climates, but that is just simply not true. A better way to divide migrating birds up is to consider their food sources. Birds that eat fruit are prone to migration, because their food supply diminishes. But birds that feed on seeds or other birds are not bound to winter migration patterns. These birds can still be a part of a winter move, but in Washington State, they could simply be changing elevations, flying down from mountainous regions of western Washington, to the sea level area around the Olympic Peninsula and Pacific coastline.
Of course, not all birds feed on fruits and seeds. And the salmon migration of the fall, coupled with the year end movements of many kinds of shorebirds, means hawks and eagles will be in abundance, to take advantage of those movements along the Washington Coast. From our North Bay, all the way back up the Skagit River into the northwest corner of the Evergreen State, for many species, this is hunting season.
So if there was ever a time to be on the lookout for our nation’s mascot, the bald eagle, it’s the fall season! Add in brown eagles, peregrine falcons, and other carnivorous species, and each year in Ocean Shores caps off with visits from several of the top flying members of the food chain.
Small Birds Abound
While we love the chance to those birds that call Ocean Shores home almost all year, there are certainly a number of smaller species that call the Shores home for their migration, or as a rest stop along the way.
Multiple species of sparrows make their way to our southern ends and cover the grounds of Damon Point and the Oyhut Wildlife Recreation Area, and can be found in and around hiking trails or near our canals and ponds. If you’re looking for gulls, sandpipers, turnstones, and surfbirds, be sure the check out the rocky faces of the jetty.
But in order to see the Jetty, or travel down to Damon Point, you have to travel from our northern end. And if birding is your aim, you should go off road and take a stroll down our western shoreline, along Ocean Beach. If you find yourself traveling during our colder season, you will likely spot a whole host of gulls, brown pelicans, hunting birds of prey, and groups of Sanderlings. The tides of the Shores are certainly a favorite spot for feeding and resting for our flying friends.
Come See For Yourself
Ocean Shores is a place for birds and birders alike. Significant access to waterways brings a large number of migrations right across our path, and the unique vegetations and protection of our natural areas are attractive to so many species of birds. While our square mileage may be small, our bird population is diverse, beautiful and spread all across our city. You can drive right down our coastline for the day, or spend the week hiking through our beautiful trails and paddling across our canals. And we are ready to greet you, so you are invited to come explore the Shores with us.
Click to learn about the Lodging at Ocean Shores.
Would you like to learn more about birding in Ocean Shores?
Visit our birding page and find a downloadable guide for all things birding.