The birds that can be seen at Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake National Park is known for its natural beauty. The trees, bushes and fragrant wildflowers all add to the scenery that is available to enjoy. The quantity of birds and other wildlife that flourish in the park enhances the wonder of Crater Lake even more.

Many bird species can be viewed in this place, and in some cases they are so numerous that it is difficult not to see them. They also vary greatly in size, habits and songs.

Stellar’s jay

This medium sized bird is one of the more common birds in the park. These jays are a little larger than an American robin and they have a deep blue body. The head is crested and darker, often so dark purple that it often appears black. Stellar’s jays have a loud call, not unlike that of a crow, so they are often heard long before they are seen. They are also opportunistic feeders, eating seeds, insects and even carrion. They also aren’t especially timid about raiding a picnic table for any goodies they can find there.

Raven

For those who have never seen them, a raven is a black bird looking similar to a crow, except often larger. They eat carrion and will sometimes hunt for insects and small animals.

Clark’s Nutcracker

At the park, these robin-sized birds are often known as ‘camp-robbers’. The name is appropriate because these gray, white and black birds are notorious for raiding campsites and picnic tables. They have little fear of man, and will often even accept hand-fed food, though away from people, they have a fondness for pine nuts. Note: Please refrain from feeding them, or other wild animals in the park, because it might make it more difficult for them to forage on insects, fruits and seeds in preparation for the winter.

Chickadee

These small song birds are common in the park and have a more melodious call than the birds mentioned so far. The song often sounds like, “Chick-a-dee-dee-dee”. In the park, this bird has a black head, dark wings with some white feather patches, and bold white on the sides of the head. The belly is often a buff color, to slightly yellowish.

Hummingbirds

Rather than name a particular species of hummingbird, it is more useful to clump them together. This is because, while there are some species that nest at Crater Lake every year, there are others that visit the area on their migrations. Hummingbirds are unmistakable however, and most people who have seen them will recognize them again.

Owls

As with hummingbirds, there are many kinds of owl that frequent the park, though not all are birds that breed in this national park. Some species likely to be encountered include screech owls, great horned owls and gray owls, though again, they aren’t commonly observed even when there are large numbers of them. They are secretive and nocturnal. Most are large birds, though some are not much larger than a sparrow.

Hawks and eagles

Though many are visitors, some hawks and eagles do nest within the park boundary. These include red-tailed hawks, marsh hawks, sparrow hawks, golden eagles and bald eagles. Despite the altitude of the park, the abundance of prey gives them good reasons to hunt in the area. Several attempts have been made, and continue to be made, to reintroduce peregrine falcons, which were native to the park in past years.

Game birds

The national park is home to several game bird species, such as grouse and quail. Though not often seen, in the lower altitude areas of the park, they can be quite numerous. At the south entrance to the park, it isn’t uncommon during breeding season to hear the drum of a male grouse, trying to attract a mate.

These are just a few of the tremendous number of birds found at Crater Lake National Park, and they are only some of the most commonly seen. There are many more birds that either nest in or frequent the park. There have been birds sighted that have little connection to the park, but which got blown off course, too. From year to year, it is hard to say which species might be found in the park, which makes it even more interesting to the bird watcher or photographer.