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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.
Mountain Goats can be spotted in the Strawberry Mountains above little Strawberry Lake for those willing to make a couple mile hike. If you would like the chance to spot one from a car, the vehicle roads end, near High Lake, is a good place for viewing. Also, goats can be viewed from Vinegar Hill in the Desolation Unit.
Most of Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area is currently closed to entry to benefit wildlife. The Tule Lake Public Access Area is open 7 days per week until Aug. 1; the Glass Hill Unit is also open 7 days per week. Visitors may also spot wildlife from the Foothill Rd. viewpoint and/or parking lots and pull-offs along county roads.
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. Canada goose goslings are coloring up and look almost like adults. Many duck broods are visible loafing at pond edges as well as in the ponds.
Many songbird species are still singing – one can hear and possibly see species such as American robin, willow flycatcher, common yellowthroat, yellow warbler, black-capped chickadee, song sparrow and many others.
Raptors are numerous around the area and include red-tailed hawk, Swainson’s hawk and northern harrier.
Most sandhill cranes have finished nesting and are raising colts. Please report any sandhill cranes wearing leg bands to the Ladd Marsh staff (541-963-4954). If possible, note the color and order of bands on each of the bird’s legs (e.g., pink above white on left leg; silver above black on right leg). The specific combination and order can identify individual birds.
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. Many species are raising their broods and can be seen along the water’s edge.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. Currently, there are a variety of waterfowl species with broods using the ponds. 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. There are white-tailed deer throughout the Wallowa Valley on or near agricultural lands. Visitors can see elk at the Wenaha Wildlife Area at Troy, please respect road and area closures.
Some early migrators have shown up in the county. Various waterfowl species are visiting Wallowa Lake and a number of the open-water ponds, ditches and streams. 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.