Graphic: Pacific Flyway Abundance

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Where can we get current information about unusual bird sightings in the Klamath Basin?
The Klamath Basin Audubon Society maintains a message board for rare bird sightings at with a posting of recent notable bird sightings. Birders can report rare bird observations at this site. The Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuges' Visitor Center near Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge (# 42) also maintains a log of unusual bird sightings. The visitor center is open daily (weekdays 8:00 am to 4:30 pm and weekends from 10: 00 am to 4:00 pm). Other recent sightings are listed on the Refuge's web site at

2. When is the best time of year to visit the Klamath Basin for a bird watching trip?
Timing of your visit to the Klamath Basin depends on the type of birding experience you are looking for. General guidelines for when to visit to take advantage of popular bird watching opportunities follow:

A. Bald Eagles and raptors are most abundant in late November through mid-March.
B. Spring and fall waterfowl migration peaks occur in the mid-March through mid-April and mid-October through late November respectively.
C. Breeding bird activity in the Klamath Basin is most prevalent from late April through early July.

3. When and where can I see displaying Western and Clark's Grebes "dancing" across the water?
While this mating ritual could occur anytime during spring or summer, late April through May is probably the peak time to observe it. Putnam's Point (# 29) at the south end of Upper Klamath Lake tends to be an excellent place to look. Other possible locations include areas throughout Upper Klamath Lake and large open water areas on Tule Lake or Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuges (#'s 41 and 42).

4. When do the numbers of migrating ducks and geese peak in the Klamath Basin?
The fall migration of waterfowl through the Klamath Basin usually numbers between 1 and 2 million ducks, geese, and swans. The largest numbers usually occur in mid-November. The peak number of spring migrant waterfowl usually occurs in late March or early April.

5. When should we come to the Klamath Basin to see Bald Eagles and which sites should we visit?
Bald Eagle numbers generally peak in the Basin in mid-February with wintering eagles present in impressive numbers from early December through mid-March. The best areas to observe wintering Bald Eagles are Lower Klamath Refuge (# 41), Township Road (# 35), Tule Lake Refuge (# 42) and Klamath Wildlife Area / Miller Island (# 33). Many Bald Eagles and other raptors occupy night roosts during the winter months in Bear Valley Refuge (# 34). They can be observed flying from that area to nearby feeding locations (Lower Klamath Refuge and flooded farm fields in the Township and Lower Lake Road vicinity) at first light each morning.

The Klamath Basin also hosts the largest numbers of nesting Bald Eagles in Oregon. Bald Eagles may be observed during the spring and summer months along the West Side of Upper Klamath Lake (#'s 14, 15, 16 and 17) and at Klamath Marsh National Wildlife Refuge (# 3).

6. If we have just one day to go bird watching in the Klamath Basin, where should we go?
It is hard to beat a trip that includes the Auto Tour Routes through Lower Klamath and nearby Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuges (#'s 41 and 42) for marsh birds and raptors. This experience can be combined with a stop at Lava Beds National Monument (# 43) for upland bird species. This trip usually takes a full day by car including several short walks.

A nice walking trip accessible from downtown Klamath Falls includes the Lake Ewauna Nature Trail (# 31), Link River Trail (# 30), Putnam's Point (# 29) and Moore Park (# 27). Accessing these sites on foot from downtown involves a 4 to 5 mile round trip requiring about one-half day (mornings are recommended).

7. When do hummingbirds arrive and depart in the Klamath Basin?
Hummingbirds (predominantly Rufous Hummingbirds) arrive about mid-April and leave in September. Since frost and cold weather become more likely in September, it is recommended that hummingbird feeders not be left up past the first week in September.

8. What equipment should I bring when I make a birding trip to the Klamath Basin?
Recommended equipment for birder in the Klamath Basin includes binoculars in the 7 X 35 to 10 X 50 range and a spotting scope (20 power or greater) with a car window mount or tripod. Also useful are a field guide to the Western U. S. Birds and a KBBT brochure or KBBT map.

9. What are the best places to see and hear owls in the Klamath Basin?
Eleven owl species regularly occur in the Klamath Basin with Barn and Great Horned Owls by far the most common and widespread. Good areas to hear or see these two species are in the cliffs behind the Visitor Center on Tule Lake Refuge, along the east side of Sheepy Ridge (south of the Visitor Center) and in the Petroglyphs area of Lava Beds National Monument. Great Gray Owls are known to nest in wet meadows (particularly those with resident rodent populations) in the northern portion of the Klamath Basin.

10. Where are the best locations to see Neotropical migrants (birds that spend the summer in temperate North America and the winter in Central and South Americas) in the Klamath Basin?
Many sites along watercourses and those with deciduous trees such as willows and cottonwoods provide good places to look for Neotropical migrant song bird species from early April through June each year. Among the Klamath Basin Birding Trail sites to search are:

# 2 Crater Lake National Park, # 3 Klamath Marsh (along the Wocus Bay trail), # 4 Collier State Park, #6 Kimball State Park, # 7 Wood River Day Use Area, # 8 Ft. Klamath / Wood River Valley, # 9 Sevenmile Guard Station, # 10 Klamath State Fish Hatchery, # 12 Wood River Wetland Recreation Site, # 13 Hagelstein Park, Site #'s 14-17 along the west side of Upper Klamath Lake, # 19 Lake of the Woods/ Great Meadows, # 22 Klamath River Canyon, # 24 Odessa Creek, # 25 Shoalwater Bay/ Eagle Ridge, # 27 Moore Park, # 29 Putnam's Point Park, # 30 Link River Trail, # 31 Lake Ewauna Nature Trail, # 39 Juanita Lake, # 42 Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge (Visitor Center and the east side of Sheepy Ridge), and # 45 Big Springs Park.

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