Leavenworth, WA is famous for its Bavarian-frosted festivals but this charming village is also a bird watcher’s paradise! Located at the confluence of two rivers, this little village has easy access to popular birding walks and drives through meadows, canyons and riparian habitats. If you’re new to bird-watching or just getting warmed up at the start of your trip, you’ll find a short and easy walking path right in town that promises a wide variety of birds, like the ice cream-colored Western Tanager.
When Is the Best Time to Go Birding in Leavenworth, WA?
The varied landscapes around Leavenworth mean fantastic bird watching at all times of the year. While spring and fall migrations are the busiest times of the year, there are birds like the White Headed Woodpecker to be found in winter. Of course summer brings its own sweet residents making nests and raising young nearby. If you love the birding community and meeting lots of people, then the Leavenworth Spring Bird Fest every May will be a must.
Notable Bird Species Near Leavenworth, WA
Broad nearby meadows and big wildflower blooms; the Chelan valley is a busy migration fly through. Look for plenty of song birds including American dippers and orioles; raptors like eagles and peregrine falcons; kingfishers; colorful Harlequin ducks and the popular black-backed, white-headed and Lewis’ woodpeckers. Even the local Audubon Society ranks Leavenworth as one of the top birding hotspots in the state.
Where to go Birding in Leavenworth?
Birding routes through all the major habitats of the area offer you opportunities to find a wide variety of species on your bird-watching visit in Leavenworth. Watch for riparian zones, open water, and rushing streams; agricultural lands; steep canyon walls and dry forest environments along with their specialist species.
Wenatchee River Institute at Barn Beach Reserve
This local treasure itself is a lovely 9-acre nature preserve overlooking the Wenatchee River. WRI offers environmental education programming and packs seven gardens, forest, fields, and trails with access to the Wenatchee River on their property. Birding Fun! Check out a pair of binoculars from WRI for FREE in the River Haus and pick up a Nature Tour Brochure. Useful maps online here https://wenatcheeriverinstitute.org/
Walk the Waterfront Park aka Blackbird Island
This easy, flat trail follows the Wenatchee River from Enchantment Park at the west end of town to 13th Street at the east end of town. The trail has interpretive signs about natural and cultural history, beautiful views, picnic tables, benches, and river access points along the way. Depending on the season, watch for riparian birds: various ducks, swans, grebes, woodpeckers, including pileated woodpeckers, plus songbirds. Later in the shaggy summer, you may have better luck listening for them as they hide in the bushes.
Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery
Just outside of town is a can’t-miss birding stop at the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery. 175 bird species have been counted here and the viewing is excellent all year. Cross the bridge out of the parking area and enter a nature trail built for observation! The Birding Bench Trail along the Icicle River has benches and viewing blinds; when you pause quietly for a few moments you’re much more likely to see birds come into view. Benches are thoughtfully placed with mostly morning birding in mind (many face west, away from the morning sun) and in a variety of bird habitats. The Birding Bench Trail is accessible April – November, but visitors can spot birds at the hatchery year round. Many serious birders head to the south end of the hatchery property (next to Sleeping Lady Resort) to try to spot a white-headed woodpecker. Find the Guide to the Birding Bench Trail at Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery with a map and area bird list. https://www.fws.gov/fish-hatchery/leavenworth/visit-us/activities/birding
Planning Your Leavenworth Birding Vacation
Whatever brings you to Leavenworth, you’ll want to add some bird watching to your list! Getting hooked on this outdoor activity will take you traveling everywhere, and Destination Leavenworth is delighted to host your visit to this scenic part of Washington. Call us for help choosing the best vacation rental for your Leavenworth visit!