Sun and Sage Loop Cover
Ed Newbold
Under the watchful golden eyes of a live Great Horned Owl and Red-tailed Hawk, two species of bird regularly seen in Southcentral Washington, the fifth and newest route of the Great Washington State Birding Trail, the Sun and Sage Loop, was unveiled in the Cherberg Building on the state capitol campus Feb. 19th, 2009. 

"The Sun and Sage Loop will bring new visitors and new dollars to our rural areas, and gives us yet another reason to be good stewards of our lands and waters," said Sen. Mike Hewitt (R-Walla Walla), who's also an Audubon member and bird photographer. 

He and Sen. Jerome Delvin (R-Richland) were given framed copies of the map at the unveiling event. 

"It is a good thing to pause and appreciate the natural world around us," said Sen. Delvin. "The birding trail is a guide to some of the special places around the Tri-Cities - and one more connection to our agriculture and wine tourism," he added. 

Sun and Sage Map
According to Audubon Washington Birding Trail Director Christi Norman, birding "trails", now offered in more than 30 states, are usually self-guided driving tours to places where birds are likely to be seen. 

With 40+ million Americans describing themselves as interested in bird watching, developers of the Great Washington State Birding Trail hope to entice both local residents and out-of-state visitors to the Sun and Sage Loop which features more than 200 of Washington's 346 annually recorded bird species. 

This varied Eastern Washington landscape - sculpted by ice-age floods, weather, and human design - nurtures Pacific Flyway travelers and avian residents of sage hillside, wildflower meadow, and leafy forest. Hundreds of bird species - warbler to woodpecker, kinglet to kingfisher - thrive amid wide valleys, intimate canyons, and waterways large and small. During migration, hawks soar through mountain passes and shorebirds traverse river lowlands. Winter brings snow to high-country plateaus, and gathers waterbirds onto natural wetlands and lakes formed by dams on the Columbia River. 

Here, irrigation channels and seasonal ponds transform desert into orchard and vineyard beneath lofty basalt cliffs. Find abundant wildlife in protected places: Wild and Scenic rivers, national wildlife refuges, national parks and state parks, plus the natural and cultural history of the Yakama Nation. Here are myriad opportunities to bird by foot, by bike, and by boat - all in the heart of Washington's wine country. 

The new map can be purchased here.

Click here to learn about the iPhone app

Copyright  2013 National Audubon Society, Inc