Savannah Sparrow //
(c) Jeff Green 2010
Birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts now have a handy new tool for discovering and spotting hundreds of birds that make their home in the Willamette Valley.
Called the Willamette Valley Birding Trail Guide, the publication features 12 distinct routes and 138 sites stretching from the Columbia River to the coast fork of the Willamette River south of Cottage Grove. Directions to each site, habitat descriptions and the birds most likely found along each route are highlighted and mapped out. Also included are services and facilities at or near the sites, like hiking trails, camping sites, boating access, lodging, wheelchair accessibility and restrooms.
Sixteen bike- and bird-friendly routes along the Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway are also outlined in the guide, as well as details on fees, passes, safety tips, birding ethics and designations of Important Bird Areas, as recognized by the National Audubon Society and Birdlife International.
More than 420 species of birds have been spotted in the Willamette Valley. The guide's Willamette Valley birding checklist includes 250 of those most likely to be detected, along with a few highly sought rare birds.
Travel Lane County partnered with over one dozen tourism, wildlife, park and land management groups to help develop the new trail, with input from local residents and birders. The overall goal of the guide was to provide access to bird watching venues, while increasing public understanding and appreciation of wildlife habitat, conservation and stewardship.
The Willamette Valley Birding Trail is the fourth major trail of its kind in Oregon. Others include the Cascades Birding Trail, the Klamath Basin Birding Trail and the Oregon Coast Birding Trail.
The guide is available from the new Eugene, Cascades and Coast Adventure Center at 3312 Gateway St. in Springfield, and from the group's visitor information center at 754 Olive St. in downtown Eugene.
Oregon Birding Trails