Birding in Ferry County

Red Tailed Hawk resting on Ponderosa Pine at Curlew Lake, WA.
Red Tailed Hawk resting on Ponderosa Pine at Curlew Lake, WA.

Northern Ferry County and northeastern Okanogan County are dominated by a relatively high mountain range on the east (the Kettle Range) and the Okanogan highlands on the west.

Bisecting these mountains is Curlew Lake, drained to the south by the San Poil River and to the north by Curlew Creek and the Kettle River. These streams comprise an important north-south corridor for migrating birds, and the vast timbered hills and riparian habitats provide optimal nesting conditions for a wide variety of bird species.

A number of neo-tropical migrants, which are normally considered Eastern birds, migrate through and nest in Ferry County. Examples include the Veery, Redstart, Bobolink, and Red-eyed Vireo.

This region’s high mountains provide an opportunity to view such species as the Spruce Grouse, White-winged Crossbill, Pine Grosbeak, Great Gray Owl, and Boreal Owl. Lower elevations with more sparse timber and grasslands support unparalleled numbers of Mountain and Western Bluebirds and bluebird box “trails” may be seen along many area roads. Observed, but as yet unverified, are migrating Tennessee Warblers and even a Yellow-billed Cuckoo.

Much of the information included in this article was originally published in 2003 in a brochure published by the Highlands Bird Group. The birding introduction and location information has been reprinted with permission. 

More Information on Birding in this Area

Blue heron in reeds.
A blue heron rests in reeds at north end of Curlew Lake.
Three photos of Cassin's Finch at a bird feeder.
Three views of the same Cassin’s Finch. Photos taken at Curlew Lake, WA, 2012.
Three photos of Cassin's Finch at a bird feeder.
Gray partridges wait in the shadows for the warming sun to rise. Photos taken at Curlew Lake, WA, 2014.
Northern pygmy-owl feeding on a mourning dove.
Northern pygmy-owl feeding on a mourning dove. Little 7″ bird is much smaller than the 11″ or 12″ dove. Photo taken near Curlew Lake State Park, January 2016.