Willapa National Wildlife Refuge is for the birds! Established in 1937 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to protect migrating and wintering populations of brant, waterfowl, shorebirds, and other migratory birds, the refuge is rich in birdlife any time of the year.
Willapa National Wildlife Refuge offers abundant opportunities to watch wildlife, including over 200 species of birds.
See a species list of birds that are found in or near the refuge…
Get viewing tips from the pros - discover the places to be for the best encounters and more.
Large and small, Willapa NWR has a diversity of ducks, geese and even a few swans. From migrants who stop at the bay to feed to breeding populations of wood ducks, there are always interesting waterfowl to observe.
Discover the diversity of refuge waterfowl...
These chicken-like birds that are highly designed for walking, these birds will fly when flushed but will quickly come back to ground. The two species of forest grouse at the refuge are sooty and ruffed.
Loons and Grebes
Loons and grebes are diving birds built for an aquatic life. Their bodies float low on the water like a submarine that has surfaced.
Discover more about the loons and grebes you can observe at the refuge...
Ocean traveling birds, shearwaters only come to land to nest. During summer months they can be viewed from ocean beaches.
Find out more about shearwaters…
These long water birds swim low in the water with necks raised high. With a long, hooked bill cormorants snag prey while swimming underwater. Three species overlap along the Pacific Coast. Discover which species…
These large water birds have huge bills and a large pouch which they use to collect prey. Brown pelicans are highly gregarious and frequent the refuge during summer months. They dive after prey from heights up to 65ft (20m).
Find out more…
Herons and Bitterns
Shallow wetlands and shorelines throughout the Refuge provide ample feeding sites for wading birds, such as the great blue heron.
Learn more about the wading birds that call the refuge home…
Plovers, Oystercatchers and Sandpipers
Coastal beaches, extensive mudflats, sloughs and shorelines offer rich feeding grounds for this diverse group of migratory birds. Some shorebirds gather in large mixed flocks, while others forage alone.
Uncover the clues to identify Willapa's shorebirds…
Gulls and Terns
Gulls and terns are versatile birds that use a broad range of habitats, including fresh and salt water, sandy beaches and fields. Terns have angular wings and pointed beaks. Both terns and gulls have webbed feet.
Explore the numerous species of gulls and terns found at the refuge...
This family of birds is the Northern Hemisphere’s penguin equivalent. Built for diving, alcids have a football shaped body, webbed feet, and wings better designed to fly underwater than in the air. Discover the diversity of alcids living in the refuge…
Dark colored birds, with bare, brightly colored heads, vultures are designed for a life searching for and eating carrion.
Learn more about the vulture’s role as clean-up crew…
Raptors have sharp, curved beaks and strong feet and talons with which to catch and eat their prey.
Learn more about the osprey, falcons, eagles and hawks of Willapa National Wildlife Refuge
Fringed and fluffy feathers provide owls with nearly silent flight.
Learn more about these nocturnal hunters...
The smallest of all birds, hummingbirds have diminutive bodies and long slender bills.
Learn more about the unusual flight and crazy courtships displays of refuge hummingbirds…
A stocky bird, with a big head and shaggy crest, the belted kingfisher is always found near water.
Uncover additional facts about this kingly bird…
Adapted for a life of drilling holes in trees, woodpeckers have chisel-shaped bills, strong feet, and long, sticky tongues.
These birds have strong feet and gripping toes to perch. Sometimes called “songbirds”, birds in this group sing to establish territory or attract mates.
Page Photo Credits Common goldeneye - © Dr. Madeline Kalbach, Watching wildlife - ©Rollin Bannow, Canada goose and chick - © Rollin Bannow, Ruffed grouse, Common Loon - © Dr. Madeline Kalbach, Northern fulmar - ©Dr. Madeline Kalbach, Pelagic cormorant - ©Linda Tanner, Brown pelican - © Dr. Madeline Kalbach, Great blue heron - ©Rollin Bannow, Short-billed dowitcher - ©Dr. Madeline Kalbach, Western gull - ©Rollin Bannow, Pigeon guillemots - ©Dick Daniels, Turkey vulture - ©Rollin Bannow, Sharp-shinned hawk - ©Dr. Madeline Kalbach, Barn owl - © Rollin Bannow, Rufous hummingbird - ©Dr. Madeline Kalbach, Belted kingfisher - © Rollin Bannow, Pileated woodpecker - ©Dr. Madeline Kalbach, Western tanager - ©Rollin Bannow
Last Updated: Apr 12, 2014