8 Great Places to See Birds in the Greenway

“One of the things I love most about birds is that you can find them almost anywhere — from city parks to remote wilderness. And because you find different birds in different habitats, looking for birds can be a great way to discover and explore new places, or perhaps appreciate a familiar place in a new way. 

Whether you are a curious beginner or a fanatic for all things feathered (like me), the Mountains to Sound Greenway offers some terrific places to look for birds. Following are eight of my favorite spots, along with some tips about cool birds you might find at each. “

-Jon Hoekstra, Greenway Trust Executive Director


  1. Seward Park, Seattle

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    The old growth forest of Seward Park gives you an idea of what the region once looked like. Amidst the tall trees and shaded understory, you might hear the birds before you see them. 

    Western Tanager photo by Joshua Hoehne, Unsplash.

    Common birds: Black-capped chickadeesong sparrow
    Special birds: Pileated woodpeckerwestern tanager 

  2. Discovery Park, Seattle

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    Featuring forests, grasslands, and beaches, Discovery Park offers habitat for more than 250 species of birds. The lighthouse at West Point is an especially good place to scan the waters of Puget Sound for seabirds and shorebirds. 

    Bald Eagle photo by Ingo Doeme, Unsplash.

    Common birds: Pigeon guillemotsbald eagle
    Special birds: Harlequin duckmarbled murrelet 

  3. Lake Sammamish State Park, Issaquah

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    Lakeshore, wetlands, and forest habitats make this state park as popular with birds as it is with people. You can also see the progress of more than 20 years of habitat restoration along Issaquah and Tibbet’s Creek. 

    American Robin photo by Trac Vu, Unsplash.

    Common birds: MallardAmerican robin
    Special birds: Wilson’s warblerred-breasted sapsucker 

  4. Stillwater Wildlife Area, Carnation

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    The Snoqualmie Valley Trail runs through this natural area, making it a great destination for a hike or bike, as well as a bird walk. Wetlands are the attraction, though you can also find interesting birds among the trees too. 

    Bullock’s Oriole photo by Tyler Moulton, Unsplash.

    Common birds: Great blue heronwood duck
    Special birds: American bitternBullock’s oriole 

  5. Stampede Pass Road, near Easton

    Just off of I-90 along Stampede Pass Road, you’ll find some paths through dramatic old growth trees. Road noise is a distraction, but with sharp eyes you can find a number of forest and montane birds. 

    Common Raven photo by Jeremy Bezanger, Unsplash.

    Common birds: Dark-eyed juncocommon raven
    Special birds: Red crossbillMacGillivray’s warbler 

  6. Northern Pacific Railroad Ponds, Cle Elum

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    Tucked between Cle Elum and South Cle Elum, the Northern Pacific Railroad Ponds offer a little bit of history alongside the ponds, willows, and ponderosa pines that create a popular birding hotspot. 

    Red-winged Blackbird photo by Uday Mittal, Unsplash.

    Common birds: Red-winged blackbirdosprey
    Special birds: Pygmy nuthatchhooded merganser 

  7. Upper Yakima River Canyon, Cle Elum

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    The Palouse-to-Cascades Trail runs through the scenic Upper Yakima River Canyon, offering a great out-and-back hike. Viewpoints reveal the dramatic scenery, as well as chances to find many different birds.  

    Red-tailed Hawk photo by Joshua Cotten, Unsplash.

    Common birds: Red-tailed hawkviolet-green swallow
    Special birds: American dippernorthern pygmy-owl 

  8. Robinson Canyon, Ellensburg

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    Part of the L.T. Murray Wildlife Area, Robinson Canyon is a great place to explore dry steppe habitat. Deer and elk can be found along with birds, and the often sunny weather is a bonus.  

    California Quail photo by Y.S., Unsplash.

    Common birds: Black-billed magpieCalifornia quail
    Special birds: Lazuli buntingcommon poorwill  

If you want to learn more about birds, and how and where to find them, your local Audubon Society can be a great place to start. Within the Greenway, some of the Audubon Societies include: the Kittitas Audubon SocietyEastside AudubonSeward Park Audubon Center and the Seattle Audubon SocietyBirdWeb and eBird are also excellent online resources. 

Happy birding!