Traveling around Washington State? Find the best birding sites that the varied habitat of this state has to offer, from the Pacific Ocean to the arid sagebrush. Written by local birding experts.
Final Loop of Great Washington State Birding Trail Embraces Puget Sound
Q. String together everyone’s favorite birding place and what do you get?
A. The Great Washington State Birding Trail.
“Each loop of the birding trail is a strand of nature’s gems,” said Audubon’s birding trail Program Director Christi Norman. “Every site on each of our five – soon to be six – maps represents important habitat for our resident or migrating birds.”
After the eastern Washington map, the Palouse to Pines Loop, is unveiled at the capitol in late January, it’ll be time to begin the seventh route, the map that will complete the birding trail across Washington (drum roll, please!): the Puget Sound loop.
“When it’s time to add a new route to the trail, I come straight to Audubon chapter members,” said Christi. “They know their birds – and when and where to find them.”
So, beginning in February, Christi and birding trail editor Hilary Hilscher will come to each local chapter within the boundaries of the final loop, including Seattle Audubon.
Each map takes from 12 to 18 months to develop and is a collaborative effort from the get-go:
- Each chapter in the route forms a Birding Trail Committee.
- Together with the local chapter, chambers of commerce, tourism bureaus and tribes, Audubon presents community workshops about the economic and conservation benefits of birding trails. Birding trails, now in more than 30 states, enjoy widespread local support.
- Local people nominate birding sites that have healthy habitat and safe and legal access.
- Christi and local birders visit sites; staff creates a rough draft of the route.
- Rough drafts go to Birding Trail Committees for local review.
- Audubon staff and volunteers proof all text.
- Birders buy printed maps to find and enjoy Washington’s birds.
The other maps of the birding trail are the Coulee Corridor, and the Cascade, Southwest, Olympic, and Sun and Sage loops, each available at the Seattle Audubon Nature Shop.
Q. Why a birding trail in Washington?
A. Because bird watching is our fastest-growing outdoor recreation: 46 million Americans watch birds.
A. Because our state is home to 346 regularly occurring species of birds – an exceptionally high number.
A. Because birds are good for business: America’s birders spend $30 billion a year including $10 billion on travel. Research shows that every 100 new bird watchers create one new full-time job, generate $2,500 in revenue, and return $2,600 in taxes.