San Juan Island Birding

San Juan is an incredible place for birding.  Local birders communicate through the San Juan Island Audobon Society Facebook page daily, often with rare bird alerts.  A standard list of island vehicle and boat equipment begins with binoculars and spotting scopes.

Birders will love the 42 different trails on the Island because the terrain is ripe for an addition to their life list at every turn.  There have been over 290 species of birds recorded so far, and there is a robust program in place to bring Western Bluebirds back to the meadows and valleys.

Check out the list at BirdWeb or the one compiled by the San Juan Island National Park Service.

Recent sightings include an Oriental Green Finch, a Ring Neck Pheasant, Snowy Owls and Trumpeter Swans.  Hummingbirds are on the island even in winter.Hummers

You are more likely to spot a Bald Eagle  while birding in the San Juans than you are of seeing a pigeon.  There are a multitude of shorebirds by the sea, ducks and mergansers in the inland lakes, warblers and juncos in the bushes, and the ever present crows and ravens.  Sometimes the Bald Eagles even set up nests in downtown Friday Harbor.

The San Juan islands are the winter home for a number of northern species including the Trumpeter Swan and Rough-legged Hawk – species you would have to go to the Arctic Circle to see in spring. One of the best viewing areas on the island is American Camp.

A private “birding tour” can also be arranged with birding expert and author of Birds of the Northwest, Barbara Jensen.  Ask our concierge to get the details for you, and add that experience to your visit.

Pack your binoculars, hiking shoes, bird book, camera and walking stick – the birds of San Juan Island await you!


San Juan Island Birding - Blue Heron - Kathleen Ballard San Juan Island

Rhinoceros Auklet - Mark Gardner of San Juan Island

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