Forest Park has the distinction of being the largest forested city park in America. At right around 5000 acres, it dwarfs the other parks in Portland and, as expected, it provides some good birding opportunities. Skyline Boulevard borders the west side of the park and offers a good route for birding this area. From downtown Portland, take Burnside Street west into the hills above Portland for 3.4 miles. Turn right onto Skyline Blvd just after passing the Larry Keating Mansion. Zero your odometer at this point. Go 6.6 miles (just past Germantown Road) to NW Newton Road (gravel road on your right with an open green gate). Take Newton to a parking area and bird the trails here. Return to Skyline and drive another .5 miles to an unmarked road on the right (this road also has a green gate and a “BPA Road” sign on it). Walk the dirt road to the power lines and bird the power lines. Return to Skyline and go 2.7 miles to Skyline School on the right. Continue past the school on Skyline for 5.2 miles and look for an unmarked logging road. Park and walk around the blue gate into a clear-cut. There are several other clear-cuts beyond this one that offer good birding. Back on Skyline, go another 3 miles to Rocky Point Road. Turn right and go 0.4 miles to an unmarked logging road with a green gate on your left. Bird this road. From this location, you can continue on Rocky Pt. Rd. to Hwy 30, turn right, and it will take you to the Sauvie Island bridge where you can continue birding or return to Portland after a great day of birding Forest Park.
A simple option to getting to experience the park is to go to an area called Macleay Park. Take NW Upshur Ave to where it ends, walk under the bridge and continue on a path that borders Balch Creek. The path will take you 0.5 miles to a famous stone house called the Witch’s Castle, built in the 1930’s as a park ranger station and restroom. From there one can continue in either direction on Wildwood Trail. Click here for the eBird hotspot Macleay ParkDirections
Habitat and Birds
Birds you may be able to see along the before mentioned route are Cooper’s Hawk, Band-tailed Pigeon, Short-eared Owl, N. Pygmy-Owl, Barred Owl, Vaux’s Swift, Calliope Hummingbird, Red-breasted Sapsucker, Pileated Woodpecker, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Hammond’s Flycatcher, Pacific-slope Flycatcher, Cassin’s Vireo, Hutton’s Vireo, Warbling Vireo, Steller’s Jay, Tree Swallow, 3 chickadee species, Bushtit, Brown Creeper, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Bewick’s Wren, Winter Wren, House Wren, both kinglets, 6 thrush species (including Western Bluebird), 8 species of warbler, 7 sparrow species, Red Crossbill, and Evening Grosbeak. Source: Catalyst Publications, Birding Portland and Multnomah County, John Fitchen.