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Sep. 2, 2018

Our Favorite Spots for Bird Watching & What You Might See

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No matter what time of the year you head to The Lookout, there’s always something to do. Head out to the lake to stay active or stay indoors and visit one of the many wineries around town.

If you feel like taking a walk, hiking trails are in abundance. And if you look closely at the treetops or down to the ground scuttling around the bushes, you might find a bird or two to capture your interest.

More than 45 million people take part in bird watching each year throughout the U.S. Whether people stay close to home or head out to a new location, it’s estimated to bring in about $80 billion to the US economy.

If you’re lucky enough to call The Lookout home, you’re in for a real treat. We have some of the best places to view wildlife while taking in the majestic scenery of the Pacific Northwest at the same time.

Are you into bird watching? This is where you should start:

Beebe Springs Natural Area

This 200-acre former orchard area is the perfect place to go year round. It’s in the process of being restored to improve the habitat for returning salmon and steelhead to spawn. And as it grows and matures, the natural grasses and plant life are also attracting birds.

Near the river’s edge, you’ll find marsh areas with footbridges that cross over the Columbia. Waterfowl is in abundance and you’ll have a good chance of seeing a Barrow’s goldeneye, ring-necked ducks, American wigeons, buffleheads, or a hooded merganser.


In the summer, be on the lookout for a spotted sandpiper. If you’re visiting in a colder, wetter month, watch for a great blue heron or a belted kingfisher, both of which make their homes here year round.

Of course, you don’t have to stay at the water’s edge to find birds or enjoy the scenery. Around every corner, you’ll find something new to look at and other wildlife to enjoy. In the spring, watch for several swallow species that call north-central Washington home, the eastern and western kingbirds, or the yellow warbler.


Look up and listen; you’re sure to hear the hairy and downy woodpeckers tapping away. And as flowers burst all around you, the calliope and rufous hummingbirds will buzz by at amazing speeds.

Swakane Wildlife Area

The Swakane Wildlife area covers almost 11,000 acres of land in the Burch Mountain, Swakane Canyon, and Tenas George Canyon areas. It’s an area where mule deer winter and bighorn sheep herd every month of the year.

It’s also home to an abundance of bird life. Game birds frequent the area, including chukar, gray partridge, blue grouse, and the California quail. The Department of Fish and Wildlife releases pheasants each fall to provide additional hunting opportunity.

The Swakane Wildlife area is also the perfect place to take in birds of prey. Hawks, eagles, and owls make their homes here. Be on the lookout for the endangered Pacific spotted owl, the threatened ferruginous hawk, and the sensitive bald eagle or peregrine falcon. Four other species, including the golden eagle, flammulated owl, burrowing owl, and northern goshawk are also being carefully watched.

It’s also home to a wide variety of song birds. In the summer, watch for the Loquacious chat. This yellow-breasted songbird loves to hide out in willow thickets or other dense tangles of leaves and twigs. There is no mistaking its uncanny sound. Keep an eye out for the brilliant colors of the vesper sparrows and western meadowlarks. The cheerful music will help you enjoy your walks. As you move closer to the hills, watch for the rock wren that love to burrow in rock rubble.

Chelan Wildlife Area

The Chelan Wildlife area includes more than 30,000 acres of land along the Columbia River, rising more than 4,000 feet in elevation. That makes it the perfect place for all kinds of wildlife.

You’ll find this spaced managed for both big game and game bird hunting. You’ll find an abundance of raptors, game birds, mule deer, bighorn sheep, bears, cougars, and coyotes. And of course, with the river close by, you’ll find thousands of waterfowl and other water birds.

Be on the lookout for sea ducks - scoters, long-tailed ducks, harlequins, and goldeneyes are all in abundance. As summer changes into the fall and winter months, Canadian geese migrate and nest. Also watch for Brant, Snow, Ross, and Blue goose.

In the warmer months, keep an eye out for the osprey taking up residence in the nesting platforms set up throughout the region. Their characteristic chirps can be heard throughout the canyons.

Nature in Every Direction

When you come to north-central Washington, you’ll find a small-town feel with all of the amenities you’re looking for. The Lookout creates a perfect blend between having a home in a community you’re excited to be a part of, while also being close to nature, surrounded by all the activities you love. And right outside your door, you’ll find walking trails that bring you to almost anywhere.

Look up and you might see a raptor circling. Head down to the beach cove and you might spot a sandpiper searching for food. Or sit on your front porch and listen; a song bird might be nearby.

On your next trip to Lake Chelan, be sure to pick up a Discovery Pass. It gives you access to all of the trails in our neighboring community. You can find it online, or check out our neighborhood Ace Hardware, Walmart, or Safeway. Then pick a trail; spend an hour or the day. It’s the perfect way to spend time with friends and family. And just being in nature among your favorite winged companions will leave you feeling refreshed and less stressed.

Spring, summer, winter, or fall, every season is the perfect time to spend in Lake Chelan. The Lookout has everything you need to create the perfect weekend getaway; check out our vacation rentals.


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The Lookout

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Chelan, WA 98816
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