Whether you’re grabbing shots of birds or mammals, reptiles or amphibians, we’d love to see your results. When you submit your photos to ODFW they could appear on our website or signs, or in social or brochures. What a great way to share your experience with others!
Bighorn sheep can be seen in the Burnt River Canyon west of Durkee or along the Snake River Road south of Richland. The best viewing is in the early morning and late in the evening.
Take the Snake River Road between Richland and Huntington to see bald and golden eagles along the Snake River.
There are deer throughout the valley. Early in the morning and late in the afternoon are good times to view wildlife. A drive through the foothills of the Baker valley and through the Keating valley can turn up good numbers of deer.
Elkhorn Wildlife Area is known for the Rocky Mountain elk and mule deer herds that frequent the area during the winter. There are two good viewing sites. The Anthony Creek site is located about eight miles west of I-84 on North Powder River Lane. From I-84 take the North Powder Exit (Exit 285). About 150 elk can be seen here on any given day. From the overlook on Auburn Road, watch hundreds of elk and mule deer. It is on the south side of Old Auburn Road, which branches off Highway 7 about six miles south of Baker City.
Bighorn sheep can be spotted from the South Fork road near Jackass Creek. Early mornings or late afternoons are your best chances for catching them out on the rocky outcrops.
Mule Deer have moved into the John Day Valley. Early mornings or late afternoons are the best time to view groups of deer in the agricultural fields. Viewers should be cautious when driving because there are a lot of deer on the highway.
Hundreds of waterfowl remain in the area, including Canada goose, mallard, northern pintail and American green-winged teal. During the day, they are most often loafing on open water areas. Many wetlands and portions of ponds are frozen, limiting areas for waterfowl.
Many tundra swans are now using the area. Look for them on the Foothill Rd. refuge as well as in other ponds and wetlands. At least one trumpeter swan has been on the refuge off Foothill Rd. With their large numbers, large bodies and movements, swan may keep portions of wetlands from freezing over. Binoculars or a scope from the Foothill Rd. viewpoint offer the best views of waterfowl in the refuge below.
White-crowned sparrows, song sparrows, dark-eyed juncos and black-capped chickadees are the most common songbirds on the area at this time. A swamp sparrow has been spotted in one of the mixed flocks, and American tree sparrows should be visible in shrub islands. Northern shrikes are also present around the wildlife area, hunting from trees, shrubs, posts and wires.
Raptors are numerous around the area and include red-tailed hawk, northern harrier, and both sharp-shinned and Cooper’s hawks. Watch for both ferruginous and rough-legged hawks on power poles and on the ground in open fields.
Deer and elk have been scarce but you may see a few in hay meadows, mostly at dawn and dusk. Glassing the hill above Foothill road can also reveal deer feeding on the slopes and among the shrubs. Snow and cold temperatures may cause elk to move down into the wildlife area.
Note: All visitors must have in their possession a free daily permit to access the wildlife area. Permits are available at several self-check-in stations at entry points and parking lots. All visitors also need a parking permit to park on the wildlife area. Find out .
Columbia Basin Wildlife Areas
and wildlife areas are both nestled between Interstate 84 and the Columbia River, and have excellent viewing for wetland and riparian obligate bird species. The upland areas of savanna and shrub steppe also host a variety of bird species. Willow Creek has an ample deer herd, and you’ll see evidence of beaver activity on the Willow Creek delta area of the wildlife area.
The has riparian and wetland habitat and hosts a number of bird species associated with each habitat. One can see a number of waterfowl and wading bird species in the pothole pond areas. Painted turtles are also common in the pond areas. White pelicans are commonly found along the Columbia River as well. Numbers of geese and ducks are growing along the Columbia River and will be commonly trading back and forth along the river.
A good place to observe mule deer is along the Wallowa Lake highway between Joseph and the south end of Wallowa Lake. Drive slowly and watch along the moraine on the east side of the lake around dawn and dusk. Be careful to use the turnouts when stopping to watch these animals, as there will be other traffic on the road. Look for white-tailed deer can be found throughout the Wallowa Valley on or near agricultural lands. Visitors can see elk at the Wenaha Wildlife Area at Troy.
Canada geese, and various species of ducks are feeding in agricultural fields and along streams and ponds around the county. You’ll spot raptor species in the upper valley east of Enterprise and Joseph, also along the Zumwalt and Crow Creek roads.
The Annual Wallowa County Christmas Bird Count is scheduled for December 22, 2019. This is a county-wide identification and count of bird species in Wallowa County and adds to years of trend data from the recurring event. For more information or to attend, please contact Mike Hansen at