Much of the bird action in Hood River happens along the waterfront. The Waterfront Trail allows easy access to the Columbia River and the avian riches it brings. A good starting point is Waterfront Park (45.714953, -121.517806). From I-84, Take Exit 63 and turn left at light at top of ramp. Cross over the highway and proceed through the stoplight. Turn left at the second stop sign, and drive to the park east of 8th Street. From here, you can walk down to the beach and check for shore birds and scope river. From Waterfront Park, drive west to the end of Portway Avenue and park on the street. You can walk the trail here or drive all the way around Waucoma Basin to a famous location called The Hook (45.715551, -121.526850). Take the trail into a wooded area and a beach.
Return to Waterfront Park and continue east on Portway Avenue. Go to the end and turn right on N. 1st Street. Take it to the end (birding all the way) and turn left on Nichols Parkway. Go around Nichols Boat Basin to a parking area. This famous area is called The Spit (45.714112, -121.508800). Walk the water’s edge here and check for shorebirds and migrants.
Return to the Nichols Parkway and turn right. Go a short distance and turn left on N. 2nd St. and left again onto the freeway onramp. Take I-84 a short distance to the next exit (64). Turn left and go under the freeway. Turn left on E. Port Marina Drive. Stop and bird the trees at the museum and at Point Marina Park (45.712582, -121.506665). Continue to the end near public restrooms. Walk the beach and scan the mudflats for shorebirds and gulls.Directions
Habitat and Birds
Migrants, shorebirds, and Larids are the big draw here. Also, big rafts of waterfowl in the river can yield some gems. Peeps of every kind turn up here as do Ring-billed Gulls, California Gulls, Caspian Tens, DC Cormorants and White Pelicans. Black-crowned Night-herons are sometimes found in the backwaters. Birds use the river as a highway so migrants are often spotted along the shoreline vegetation. Rarities include Brant, American Black Duck, Tufted Duck, King Eider, Harlequin Duck, Smew, Black Swift, Ancient Murrelet, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Glaucous Gull, Arctic Tern, Snow Bunting, Magnolia Warbler, and Black-throated Blue Warbler.