Birding is a year-round activity on the central Oregon Coast, which is known for its abundance of bird-watching spots. A variety of birds make their home on the Oregon Coast, but the region also sees birds migrating through the region. Grab a pair of strong binoculars and head outside to these spots near the Overleaf Lodge & Spa to observe an array of birds in their habitats.

Yachats State Recreation Area

On the edge of where the small town meets the Pacific Ocean, the Yachats State Recreation Area is well known as a birding destination. Birds that make their home here include the Glaucous-winged, Heermann’s Thayer’s, California and Mull gulls; Pelagic Cormorant; White-winged and Black scoters; Black-legged Kittiwake; Rhinoceros Auklet; and Brown Pelican. Rare birds such as the Marbled Murrelet have also been spotted on this beach. The beach is popular as a day-use area, with tide pools filled with aquatic life and salmon and rock fishing popular along the shore.

Alsea Bay

Known for clamming, crabbing and beachcombing, Alsea Bay is also home to a variety of birds. Bird watchers will find loons, scoters, cormorants, wigeons, shorebirds and grebes along the shores. Bald eagles, Canadian geese, Canvasbacks Ducks, Brown Pelicans, and Common and Barrow’s goldeneyes have also been spotted in the bay. Alsea Bay is designated as an Important Bird Area (IBA) by the Audubon Society of Portland.

Yachats Ocean Road State Natural Site

Just south of town off Highway 101, the Yachats Ocean Road State Natural Site is also popular for birding in Yachats. Find a variety of loons and scoters in and around the water, as well as Black Oystercatchers, Black Turnstones and surfbirds. The road is one-mile loop, with places to stop for picnicking and whale watching as well.

Cape Perpetua Scenic Area

The Cape Perpetua Scenic Area is an old growth temperate rainforest on the central Oregon Coast. The area is three miles south of Yachats, and has miles of hiking, backpacking, and mountain biking trails. The trails inside the scenic area can lead to sights of rare birds such as the Marbled Murrelet. Birders will also find Hermit and Wilson’s Warbler, Black-Headed Grosbeak, Gray and Steller’s jays, Rufous Hummingbird, Wrentit and Ruffed Grouse. Along the shore at low tide, spot Black Oystercatcher, Western Gull, Harlequin Duck and Cormorant. A visitor center offers more information on birding in the area as well as tours and guides.

Eckman Lake and Slough

Eckman Lake and Slough is inland from Alsea Bay and is known for sights of a variety of waterfowl and marsh birds. Grebes, loons and snipes make their home here, as well as dowitchers and cormorants. The area has seen sights of Greater Yellowlegs, Virginia Rails, Buffleheads, Red Phalaropes, Green Herons, Wood Ducks and Green-winged Teals. The lake has a fishing dock and is stocked with rainbow trout by the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife.

Smelt Sands State Recreation Site

The historic 804 Trail run through Yachats and Smelt Sands State Recreation Site and provides a birding trail along the shore and close to the Overleaf Lodge & Spa. Find Black Oystercatchers; Western and Glaucous-winged gulls; Brandt’s and Pelagic cormorants; and more. Shearwaters and jaegers are also prominent in this area, along with scoters and Black Turnstone.

Want to start keeping track of all the fowl you find along the Oregon Coast? Download Siuslaw National Forest’s birding checklist.

Birding Checklist