17 birds you’ll see in Portland, OR

A Rufous hummingbird hovers in the air.
Rufous hummingbird | Photo by VJAnderson

Whether you’re a “wake up to the sound of birds” type, or a “please be quiet I’m trying to sleep” type, we’re all getting a new soundtrack to our Oregon mornings.

Here’s the pitch: Imagine getting out of bed in the morning, sitting out on the patio, or going for a hike. Instead of just a bunch of noise, you hear the songs of an evening grosbeak and a Swainson’s thrush. You could even learn their colors, habits, and favorite foods. The upshot: you should really get into birdwatching.

You could wing it, or…

A little bit of preparation goes a long way — i.e., you don’t need to drop your tax return on binos (although it couldn’t hurt to look).

What might help:

  • A field guide. Instead of trying to name them all on your own, bring a physical guide like the “Handbook of Oregon Birds or an app like Merlin. If you bring your favorite local newsletter, too, we wouldn’t hate it. 
  • Bird food. A backyard or window feeder brings the birds to you. Try the Backyard Bird Shop at 1419 NE Fremont St. or the Portland Audubon’s Nature Store at 5151 NW Cornell Rd.
  • Your new best birdie. Local experts + hobbyists will love to show you the ropes. Link up with the local Audubon society or hobby birdwatching group so you don’t fly solo.

Meet the stars of the show

American goldfinch |📍Fields with wildflowers, open floodplains, weedy areas | 🗓️ All year | Hear its song

American goldfinch | Photo by Bettina Arrigoni

Dark-eyed junco | 📍Nests in woodsy areas, but forages everywhere | 🗓️ All year | Hear its song

Dark-eyed junco | Photo by Becky Matsubara

Anna’s hummingbird | 📍Forest openings, lowlands, flowering meadows | 🗓️ All year | Hear its song

Anna’s hummingbird | Photo by Russ

Rufous hummingbird | 📍Open woodlands, backyards, gardens | 🗓️ March-September | Hear its song

A Rufous hummingbird hovers in the air.
Rufous hummingbird | Photo by VJAnderson

House finch | 📍Lowlands, urban, rural, agricultural areas | 🗓️ All year | Hear its song

House finch | Photo by John Brighenti

American robin | 📍Urban neighborhoods, parks, suburbs, farms, woodland edge | 🗓️ All Year | Hear its song

American robin | Photo by Davefoc

Stellar’s jay | 📍Hardwood forests, tree canopy | 🗓️ All year | Hear its song

Stellar’s jay | Photo by National Park Service

Western scrub jay | 📍Interior valleys, foothills | 🗓️ All year | Hear its song

Western scrub jay | Photo by Chuck Abbe

Downy woodpecker | 📍Forests, mostly deciduous | 🗓️ All year | Hear its song

Downy woodpecker | Photo by Mykola Swarnyk

Hairy woodpecker | 📍Forested areas | 🗓️ All year | Hear its song

Hairy woodpecker | Photo by Andy Reago + Chrissy McClarren

Spotted towhee | 📍Near the ground, bushy areas | 🗓️ All year | Hear its song

Spotted towhee | Photo by Pranav Tadepalli

Black-capped chickadee | 📍Forested areas in low-to-mid elevations | 🗓️ All year | Hear its song

Black-capped chickadee | Photo by Cephas

Bushtit | 📍Scrub, open woodlands, neighborhoods | 🗓️ All year | Hear its song

Bushtit | Photo by VJAnderson

Northern flicker | 📍Open woodlands | 🗓️ All year | Hear its song

Northern flicker | Photo by Mykola Swarnyk

Song sparrow | 📍Open woodlands + shrubby, wet areas | 🗓️ All year | Hear its song

Song sparrow | Photo by Rhododendrites

Cedar waxwing | 📍Mixed forests + urban areas | 🗓️ All year | Hear its song

Cedar waxwing | Photo by Ron Knight

American crow | 📍Treetops, fields, roadsides … everywhere | 🗓️ All year | Hear its song

American crow | Photo by Gordon Leggett