The birds of Washington and where to find them
Photo: Gary Botello/Great Backyard Bird Count
More than 500 bird species have been observed in Washington State, and 189 of these species are threatened by our dynamically changing climate, including the Osprey, Short-earred Owl, Ruffed Grouse, Wood Duck, Red Knot, and Pygmy Nuthatch. The natural habitats that draw millions of breeding, migrating, and resting birds to Washington – the shorelines, estuaries and outer coasts, forests, shrub-steppe, and wetlands – include 75 places most important to birds (Audubon calls them Important Bird Areas), including 14 global Important Bird Areas hosting species of international conservation concern.
Birds are crucial components of healthy natural systems, serving as pollinators, predators, scavengers, seed dispersers, and engineers in riparian, wetland, and coastal habitats. Birds are indicators of broader ecosystem function and environmental health because they respond rapidly to climatic and other changes, and are relatively easy to see and study. Birds and humans need the same things – clean air, water, and land – so the future health of birds and that of humans is inextricably linked.