Bird Lovers Unite!

By Ann Powers | Sunday, February 10, 2019

Calling all bird nerds and citizen scientists in Oregon's North Coast, the country and around the world!

The 22nd Annual Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) is back and set for Friday, February 15, through Monday, February 18. The free event invites and engages participants, from beginning bird watchers to experts, worldwide in counting the winged creatures for as little as 15 minutes (or as long as they like) on one or more days of the GBBC. Birders from any location on Earth can then report their sightings online at gbbc.birdcount.org.

Oregon's North Coast is ideal for spotting a vast array of beautiful feathered friends during the GBBC and throughout the year! But if you plan on visiting the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park, Fort Clatsop, during the event, you can join in by recording bird observations right there in the Park. Rangers will even have binoculars available for loan within the park.

Along with the actual bird counting activities, the park has additional bird-related opportunities scheduled. There will be a Great Pink Heron Scavenger Hunt using the Netul Trail along the Lewis and Clark River and a Birds of Fort Clatsop display in the Fort Clatsop Visitor Center.

On Saturday, February 16, naturalist Mike Patterson will lead a birding walk starting at 8:30 a.m. in the Visitor Center lobby. But, leave Fido at home for this one. Although leashed dogs are welcome at most of the park’s outdoor programs, dogs are not allowed at this morning trek. Also, please remember to dress for the weather (think rain gear, layers and warm clothes). Officials say the walk is wheelchair accessible although non-motorized users might need assistance for about 200 yards.

On Sunday, February 17, Barbara Linnett, a bird enthusiast, offers an illustrated presentation, Five Common Birds of Astoria. This program is part of the Park's monthly In Their Footsteps guest speaker series and takes place at 1 p.m. in the Netul River Room in the Visitor Center. Other bird-themed activities will also be available throughout the month. 

A variety of bird field guides are available for purchase at the Lewis & Clark National Park Association bookstore located on site. Park hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Admission is $7 per adult and free for youth 15 years old and under. Passes to National Park Service sites are accepted. For more information, call the park at (503) 861-2471.

I’ve been told by the experts that bird populations are always shifting and changing, which is one of the reasons the GBBC is so important. The information submitted during the the count allows researchers at the National Audubon Society, Bird Studies Canada and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology to better understand how birds are doing, how to protect them and how to preserve the environment we share.

Audubon officials say more than 160,000 participants submitted bird observations online in 2018 – the largest instantaneous snapshot of global bird populations ever recorded. Maybe we can set a new record this year? It fun, free and easy – so why not?

Even if you can’t make it for the Great Backyard Bird Count, Fort Clatsop is a great place to explore timeless rain forests, view magnificent coastal vistas, discover the rich heritage of the native people, as well as dramatic stories of America's most famous explorers. Fort Clatsop is a must-see and must-do activity for any Pacific Northwest adventure!

Make sure to check our Daytime EventsNightlife and Community Events pages for even more adventures along the Northern Oregon Coast. Also, we’d love to hear about your Pacific Northwest getaway in the comments section below!

All Photos Courtesy of the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park

About the Author Ann Powers
Ann Powers is a reporter and writer who has lived and worked on the Oregon Coast. She is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin - Madison and currently working on her master's degree in multimedia journalism at the University of Oregon's Portland campus. Originally from Wisconsin, she now calls Oregon home, describing it as, "the Midwest of the Pacific Northwest," due to its dairy-state status, beautiful environment and friendly people.