We continue to urge anglers and others recreating outside to stay close to home, keep your social distance, and travel safely. Here’s more information about
There are red-tailed, rough-legged and ferruginous hawks, northern harriers, American kestrels, prairie falcons and golden eagles throughout Crook County and they’re usually associated more closely with open/agricultural areas. Bald eagles and osprey, on the other hand, are more closely associated with water bodies. Look for northern goshawks throughout the Ochoco National Forest, and for ducklings and goslings in rivers and lakes.
The Prineville Reservoir Wildlife Area offers access to view a wide variety of wildlife, including deer, coyotes, otter, beaver, raptors, shorebirds and waterfowl. Maps of the wildlife area are available at the Prineville ODFW office, at Prineville Reservoir State Park office and the . Vehicles must remain on open roads, designated by a green dot, and cross-country motorized travel is prohibited.
Drivers should be aware that the Cascades Lakes Highway, between Mount Bachelor Village and the Hwy 42 junction south of Crane Prairie Reservoir, and Hwy. 242 connecting Sisters to the west side of the Cascade Mountains close during the winter. For information on current road conditions we recommend you visit or call Deschutes County Road maintenance (541 388-6581). A little research before heading into the high country can save you major problems.
Wickiup and Crane Prairie Reservoirs are good areas to see bald eagles, common loon, horned grebe and tree swallows.
Smith Rock State Park in northeast Deschutes county in a good place to see both bald and golden eagles. Also look for yellow-bellied marmots (a favorite food item for golden eagles) out and about on warm sunny days.
Other good birding locations include Camp Polk Meadows, located a few miles northeast of Sisters on Camp Polk Road, where there is a wide variety of birds this time of year. Visitors to the meadows are likely to see American kestrel, great horned owl, multiple warbler species, kingfisher, Virginia rail, Wilson’s snipe, California quail, hairy and downy woodpeckers, pygmy nuthatches, mourning doves and western bluebirds to name a few.
Other wildlife viewing areas include Tumalo Reservoir (west of Highway 20 between Sister and Bend); Pelton Dam wildlife overlook and Lake Simtustus (Deschutes River northwest of Madras); and Hatfield Lakes (just north of the Bend airport). Look for Canada geese, American wigeon, green-winged teal, bufflehead, ring-necked ducks, northern shovelers, lesser scaup, common and Barrow’s goldeneye, multiple gull species, and various grebes including horned, eared, western, and Clark’s, along with deer, rabbits, and a variety of other mammals, reptiles and amphibians.
Bird watching is not just limited to wild places, as residents and visitors to Bend can watch an osprey pair nesting adjacent to the Parkway that runs through the city. Other opportunities to view a diversity of bird species (and other wildlife) without leaving Bend include areas along the trails that follow the Deschutes River.
Whether you’re interested in song birds, waterfowl or raptors, and prefer remote birding locations or those closer to urban areas, directions to a long list of great birding locations can be found at the ’s web site. 04/24/19
The Lower Deschutes River provides ample wildlife viewing opportunities. California bighorn sheep are frequently observed in the canyon and can provide fantastic viewing all times of the year. The best spot to view sheep is from the BLM access road just downstream and across the river from Sherars Falls (along Hwy 216). Focus your efforts near large cliff complexes for best viewing. Summer months are great for viewing lambs as they learn from their mothers how to navigate steep and rocky terrain.
You can also see sheep from The Lower Deschutes Wildlife Area access trail on the east side of the river by hiking up from the mouth of the river. Sheep can be seen as low as river mile 7 or 8.
The John Day River Canyon also is home to bighorn sheep but access is a bit more limited. The easiest place to access the canyon is at Cottonwood Canyon State Park. Hike up or downstream from the access point to look for sheep.
This time of year is also great for viewing mule deer fawns and elk calves. Always remember to leave young wildlife alone. It is common for mothers to leave young ungulates unattended and they should always be left alone, even if you think they have been abandoned.
Oak woodlands throughout Hood River and Wasco counties provide food and cover for many wildlife species. Acorns from these trees are a particularly important fall and early winter food source for western gray squirrels and deer.
Other woodpeckers such as Lewis’s woodpeckers may be found scouring live and dead oak trees for insects found in the wood. Even fallen oak limbs decomposing on the ground can provide havens for reptiles and amphibians looking for refuge from summer heat.
You can see a variety of common raptor species throughout the Mid-Columbia district. Common species this time of year include red-tailed hawk, osprey, golden eagle, bald eagle, American kestrel, and northern harrier. Other less commonly seen species include prairie falcon, and peregrine falcon.
The Columbia River is a great place to see nesting osprey and bald eagles. You may also be able to find nesting peregrine falcons if you watch some of the larger cliffs that have large cavities suitable for peregrines.
There also are great wildlife viewing opportunities on The Woosley Tract of Lower Deschutes Wildlife area. The area includes many unique bird species as well as bighorn sheep. You can get to this area through BLM lands at the mouth of Oak, Ferry or Ward canyons. You will need a boat to access the area, which provides a very remote experience, with very few, if any, other people around. Please call The Dalles district office at 541 296 4628 with any questions about getting to the area.
Photography opportunities for deer and elk are good. Newborn deer fawns and elk calves have been seen lately. If you’re traveling on or near the wildlife area, be alert for big game animals, particularly the deer and elk, crossing the road.
The wildlife area is also home to many other game and nongame species. Look for wild turkeys foraging, skunks, coyotes, the occasional river otter and muskrat in waterways and black bear or cougar as they move throughout the wildlife area.
This is a great time of year to see bald eagles and golden eagles on the Wildlife Area. You can spot other raptors such as red-tailed hawks, American kestrels, osprey and northern harriers hunting their prey. Look for birds perched on powerlines/poles, fences and trees.
Lewis’ woodpeckers, pileated woodpeckers, flickers, western meadowlarks, Steller’s jays, scrub jays, gray jays, Townsend’s solitaire, horned larks, golden-crowed kinglets, and robins are all at home on the wildlife area.
On ponds and streams, there are a variety of ducks and geese, many with their young.
You can also find many reptiles and amphibians around the wildlife area in the spring, summer and fall. With these warmer temperatures, look for bullfrogs, newts and other smaller species near bodies of water. Be on the lookout for a variety of snakes including garter snakes, bull snakes and the poisonous western rattlesnake.
A parking permit is required to park at White River Wildlife Area. Find out .
Current road and weather conditions: Roads are very dry and dusty at this time. Travel is allowed only on roads that are designated by the green dot. Look for road information maps at entrances to the wildlife area.
The weather forecast is warm and dry with temperatures reaching the mid 80s. Fire restrictions are in effect within the wildlife area including woodcutting restrictions. Campfires are not allowed and every vehicle traveling in the wildlife area is required to possess one shovel and one gallon of water or one operational 2½ pound or larger fire extinguisher. No wood cutting between 1pm and 8pm. Please continue to follow the state guidelines for the coronavirus pandemic. More COVID19 information can be found at the entrances to the wildlife area.