The Willamette Valley, and the Cascade foothills and mountains in Linn County, are rich with birds of just about every shape and feather, from larks and sparrows to blue herons and bald eagles. Once in a while we even get a truly rare visitor, such as a snowy owl.
Western Linn County, around Albany, Harrisburg and Lebanon, offers open-country birding, with concentrations of bald eagles, rough-legged hawks, peregrine and prairie falcons and the rare burrowing owl in the winter months. Farther east, in the rolling hills around Brownsville, are populations of the rare Oregon vesper sparrow and the grasshopper sparrow and western meadowlark.
In our rivers – the North and South Santiam, Willamette and Calapooia, and in Foster and Green Peter lakes east of Sweet Home, on the west edge of the Cascades, a wide variety of waterfowl, such as wintering Barrow’s goldeneye, loons, grebes and diving ducks can be found. Canadian geese winter throughout the Willamette Valley in great numbers, particularly near bodies of water. In the summer ospreys are regularly seen on the lakes and along the South Santiam. You will also find waterfowl at Clear Lake, a non-motorized boating lake near the juncture of Highways 20 and 126 in the Cascades; on Cheadle Lake, a restored mill pond on the east edge of Lebanon; and other smaller ponds throughout the county.
For more details on Linn County birding, click here to can find specific maps for recommended for Mid Willamete Valley and Mt. Jefferson birding trails.