Skip to main content
Birding At Running Y Ranch, Klamath Falls

 Witness the Largest Congregation of Birds in Oregon

Experience wild birding in Oregon in the Klamath Basin from the scenic vantage point of Running Y Resort. Our prime destination for Oregon birding offers visitors unique views along the Pacific Flyway.  
Our location witnesses the largest gathering of wintering Bald Eagles in the lower 48 states. Thousands of birding enthusiasts make the Klamath Basin a destination every year and Running Y Ranch Resort is their base camp for Oregon birding. Winter means Winter Wings Festival and a host of other birding events in the vicinity of the Klamath Falls basin. There are six National Wildlife Refuges in the Klamath Basin, which serve as home to over 430 wildlife species, including 245 species of birds. 
  • Birding Calendar At Running Y Ranch, Klamath Falls

    Birding Calendar

    Stay at Running Y Resort and check out our birding calendar, your guide to see all the beautiful birds visiting Oregon.
    January
    Herding 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.
    February
    Overwintering 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.
    March
    Stopping 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).
    April
    Traveling 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).
    May
    Racing 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).
    June
    The 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.
    July
    Wading 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.
    August
    Cooperative 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.
    September
    Caching 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.
    October
    Migrating 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.
    November
    Migrating 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.
    December
    Drifting 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 Guides At Running Y Ranch, Klamath Falls

    Birding Guides 

    Please 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.

    Contact: 

    Gerry Hill

    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.

    Contact: 

    Tom Essex

    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.

    Contact: 

    Marshal Moser

    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.

    Contact: