Witness the Largest Congregation of Birds in Oregon
- Bald Eagle
- American White Pelican
- American Avocet
- Cinnamon Teal
- Canada Goose
- White-faced Ibis
- Tri-colored Blackbird
- Mountain Bluebird
- Clark's & Western Grebes
- Black Tern
- Snowy Grebe
- The Great Gray
Birding & Nature Guidebook
Running Y Resort is home to an abundance of wildlife, including 245 species of birds and a plethora of flora and fauna. The guide below will assist you in identifying common birds and wildflowers in their natural habitats and was provided by Gary Vequist - a resident nature enthusiast.
Birding CalendarStay at Running Y Resort and check out our birding calendar, your guide to see all the beautiful birds visiting Oregon.JanuaryHerding deer. Black-tailed Deer gather in small herds of females and young during lean winter months. Survival in the wild requires a herd of deer to remain alert for danger with their keen eyesight, excellent hearing, and superb sense of smell. Optimal browsing involves knowing when and where edible plants are available - even in someone's backyard.FebruaryOverwintering eagles. Bald Eagles can skillfully hunt for fish and other animals, but more-often-than-not resort to piracy to scavenge a meal. Klamath Basin hosts the largest winter gathering of bald eagles in the Pacific Northwest. Some eagles are year-round residents in Klamath Basin and regularly roost in conifers at Running Y Resort. Winter Wings Birding Festival in Klamath Falls celebrates bald eagles and other migratory birds.MarchStopping over waterfowl. Tundra Swans fly at low altitudes to save energy, while Snow Geese fly in close formation, allowing trailing birds to use less energy in flight. What triggers the onset of their journey north is a flock secret. Most likely, their biological clock, driven by the length of the day, stirs them to migrate to arctic breeding grounds. During their northbound migration, Tundra Swans and Snow Geese rest and feed on farmlands adjacent to Running Y Resort (February-April).AprilTraveling cranes. Sandhills Cranes are a "flagship" species that attract public attention to their plight. These symbolic birds are noted that mated pairs stay together for years. Migrating cranes descend on wet meadows and open fields, standing head and shoulder above feeding geese. The presence of flocks of migrating cranes attracts enthusiastic birders to the Klamath Wildlife Area (just south of Klamath Falls off Highway 97).MayRacing grebes. Western/Clark's Grebes are famous for their courtship dance attracting birdwatchers from all over the world. Courtship begins in late April, culminating in breeding by late June. As if to demonstrate worthiness to a female, a male bird carries a small fish as a gift - functioning as a currency of intimacy. When a pair of birds arch their necks upward, it's a sure sign that a flamboyant courtship dance is set to begin. They engage in a tandem race on their lobbed feet, treading water across the surface of Upper Klamath Lake at Moore Park (Putnam Point).JuneThe arrival of goslings. Canada Geese mate for life, returning to the same natal breeding sites. The visual expression of male "body language" with head extended low and forward means an attack on a rival. When a predator threatens, an incubating goose will flatten herself out on her nest as the gander charges forward. Young geese and ducks hatch in spring, and in short order, they can swim on Running Y Resort's Golf Course ponds.JulyWading birds. Great Blue Herons are patient hunters lurking motionless on stilt-like legs in a "wade and wait" style of fishing. Great Egrets are regular summer visitors standing out along the shoreline of golf course ponds. One would expect that they nest on the ground. Instead, they congregate in treetop rockeries - a colony of roosts in trees along Lakeshore Drive.AugustCooperative feeding by Pelicans. American White Pelicans are social by nature, whether nesting on isolated "protected" islands or feeding in shallow water. These ponderous birds cooperatively herd fish with their wings outstretched. They dip their bills in unison, scooping up aquatic organisms and water. The bill pouch shovels up several gallons of water and then closes, cleaning fish and things. This ubiquitous iconic summer bird on Upper Klamath Lake is a thrill to watch.SeptemberCaching food for winter: Steller's Jays gather seeds into their sublingual pouch (under their tongue) and later regurgitate seeds into winter food caches. But, more often than not, they raid the supplies of other squirrels and jays. Steller's Jays are most noted for their raucous call and obnoxious behavior toward anyone in their territory, seemingly communicating to others to "go away." Stellar Jays seem to dominate over other birds at backyard bird feeders.OctoberMigrating forest birds: Mixed flocks of forest birds migrate from high cascade forests down to forests around Upper Klamath Lake. Mountain Chickadees, when flushed, will freeze while sounding ventriloquism calls to confuse a predator. If a Slate-colored Junco finds some seeds, the entire flock intensifies its search of the area. Gray jays move to lower elevation forests in winter.NovemberMigrating waterfowl: Pintail Ducks and White-fronted Geese are the first to arrive in September as northern regions begin to freeze over. Over a million ducks, geese, and swans are flying over Klamath Wildlife Refuges by November. Hawks (such as Rough-winged Hawks) migrate greater distances from northern regions to overwinter in Klamath County.DecemberDrifting duck flotillas: Goldeneye, Bufflehead, and Mergansers have streamlined bodies designed for underwater pursuit of fish. If someone had to pick a diving duck that epitomizes a swift-flowing stream habitat, they would consider the Common Merganser. These weighty birds sink low in the water, preferring to dive over flying. Diving ducks remain in Upper Klamath Lake until they freeze up, then depart for the Williamson and Klamath Rivers.
Birding GuidesPlease get to know our birding guides here at Running Y Resort.Darrel Samuels
Darrel Samuels, a retired elementary school teacher, is currently Vice President of the Klamath Basin Audubon Society and past President of KBAS. Having lived at Running Y for almost ten years, he, and his wife Diana (Winter Wings Festival co-coordinator) are enthusiastic birders and feeders of birds. They have succeeded in drawing a wide range of species into their yard. In addition to the more usual culprits, some more infrequent visitors have been: White-headed and Pileated Woodpeckers, a Sooty Grouse, and a Barred Owl.
Gerry Hill, a life-long birder, and eight-year amateur bird photographer, has a passion for his "subjects." He has lived at Running Y for the past ten years, and the bird numbers and diversity played a large part in his choice of this area for retirement. He has shared many of the "local bird gems" with Winter Wings participants at the Feeder Hops.
Tom Essex is a retired former secondary educator specializing in physical sciences and environmental sciences. He is primarily involved in various conservation organizations, including the National Audubon Society and local Klamath Basin Audubon Chapter, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, and a local trout fishery conservation group. He lives at Running Y Resort with his wife, Kathy.
Marshal is a consultant and manager/biologist at Lonesome Duck Ranch on the Williamson River, 25 miles north of Klamath Falls. He also leads tours in the Klamath Basin, specializing in Crater Lake National Park. Having traveled and studied natural history on five continents, he began naturalizing and birding in Oregon in the 1970s. He liked southeast Oregon so much that he moved to the area in 2006.
A Certified Wildlife Biologist, he was the founding Executive Director of the Ohio Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, a college biology instructor, and has owned his own environmental consulting company, EcoServices, since 1978. He works with terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, wetland and water issues, endangered and invasive species, fishing, birding, grazing, native plants, and landscaping.