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March 19 - March 22

Pacific Northwest Trip: Klamath Basin Birding *FULL*

The Klamath region is well-known as a crucial migratory bird staging area historically supporting tens of thousands of water birds during the arduous fall and spring migration. It’s also an incredibly important breeding and wintering habitat for many bird species. But mismanagement and over-allocation of water – which feeds the refuge system, irrigates agriculture, and provides critical habitat for a number of endangered fish – have also made it the poster child for the water wars brought on by a warming climate. On this four-day, van-based trip we’ll get to see the incredible avian diversity up close, and learn more about the work that Bird Alliance of Oregon, tribes, and others are doing to preserve what we can of this incredible landscape.

We will visit Upper and Lower Klamath Lake and Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuges and explore the surrounding meadows, forests, and grasslands. Our visit is timed to see the spectacular spring migration of Snow, Ross’s, and White-fronted Geese, along with a great diversity of waterfowl and raptors, including Rough-legged Hawk, Golden Eagle, and Prairie Falcon.

On our first day, we’ll bird our way to Klamath Falls with stops at Greenwaters Park on the Willamette, Collier Memorial State Park near Chiloquin, and Wood River/Agency Lake just north of Upper Klamath Lake.

Once we’re in Klamath, we’ll be on the lookout for a variety of raptors and waterbirds, as we head to Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge across the California border. Here, high diversity of ducks, geese, swans, grebes, and eagles are likely. Later we’ll visit Petroglyph Point archaeological site in Lava Beds National Monument, an important Native history site with large sections of petroglyphs. It is estimated that some of this art was created more than 6,000 years ago. This area also provides nesting habitat for Prairie Falcons. Time permitting, we’ll also make a stop at Link River in town to look for both Common and Barrow’s Goldeneye.

The next day we’ll head to the Miller Island Unit of the Klamath Wildlife Area, a prime staging area where large flocks of Greater White-fronted Geese are often seen, along with Snow and Ross’s Geese, raptors, and more waterbirds. We’ll wander up Township Road, hoping for lucky encounters with both Bald and Golden Eagle, Rough-legged, and Ferruginous Hawk. We’ll also keep our eyes open for the uncommon Tri-colored Blackbird. Later we’ll head to the Lower Klamath Lake National Wildlife Refuge, where a great diversity of both diving and dabbling ducks intermingle, before returning to Klamath Falls.

Before we head back to Portland, we’ll explore Moore Park on Upper Klamath Lake. Here we will find transitioning habitat from juniper-sage to pine forest and we’ll search for various woodpeckers, nuthatches, and forest raptors.

*Bird Alliance of Oregon will be reengaging in the Klamath in a big way by hiring a new Klamath Coordinator based in the area by early 2024. This new person will engage multiple stakeholders in a coalition to advocate to return functionality to the Klamath Refuge System and get water back into the Lower Klamath and Tule specifically for wildlife and the local communities.

Register today!

Let’s explore the Klamath Basin, home to six national wildlife refuges and one of the most important wetland ecosystems in the west! Our visit is timed to see the spectacular spring migration of geese, along with a great diversity of waterfowl and plenty of raptors too.


Trip Details

  • Trip Leaders: Brodie Cass Talbott and Tara Lemezis
  • Dates: March 19-22, 2024
  • Fee: $945 members / $1,145 non-members
  • Deposit: $500
  • Single supplement: $200

What is included

Fee includes all ground transportation, 3 nights double-occupancy lodging, all meals except dinners, all entrance fees and the services of your skilled leaders. *Alcohol and dinners not included.

Notes on Accessibility

Most of our birding on this trip will be from the vans, or on short walks on well-graded, level roads and trails.  There is one hike of about 2 miles on a well-graded trail with about 200′ of elevation gain.


March 19
March 22
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Tara Lemezis