Basin Birds

What Makes the Klamath Basin Unique?

The Klamath Basin straddles the Oregon-California border and sits between the Cascade Mountains to the west and the high desert and the Great Basin to the east. A wide variety of habitats converge here and provide for incredible biodiversity, including open water, marshes, meadows, coniferous forests, juniper woodlands, sagebrush grasslands, and rocky cliffs.

The mountainous areas include Crater Lake and its surrounding National Park, reaching to nearly 9,000 feet, and vast areas of National Forest. The forests provide habitat for Mountain Quail, Black-backed Woodpecker, Gray Jay, Northern Goshawk, and eleven owl species. The strongly contrasting landscape of Lava Beds National Monument in the south borders the sage grasslands of the Great Basin and provides habitat for characteristic species such as Sage Thrasher, Brewer’s Sparrow, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, and Gray Flycatcher.

The Basin is perhaps most famous for the open water and marsh habitats provided by Upper Klamath Lake and the six-member Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge complex. Wet meadows in the Wood River Valley and Upper Klamath and Klamath Marsh National Wildlife Refuges are home to Sora, Virginia Rail, and the elusive Yellow Rail, and Upper Klamath Lake provides nesting habitat for “dancing” Western and Clark’s Grebes. The refuges along the border of Oregon and California (Lower Klamath and Tule Lake) host upwards of 80% of the migrating waterfowl that use the Pacific Flyway, numbering at times to over a million birds and including large numbers of Ross’s Geese. These refugees and the surrounding agricultural lands also provide hunting grounds for one of the densest concentrations of wintering raptors in the country. Indeed, the Basin hosts the largest wintering concentration of Bald Eagles in the lower 48 states, many of which roost together in Bear Valley National Wildlife Refuge.

Birds: Birding Trips

Area field trips are scheduled on various weekends. They range from half-day outings to birding hot spots to the occasional weekend trips. Field trips are open to KBAS members and nonmembers alike. You do not have to be a birding expert: only one who enjoys the phenomenal natural opportunities that abound.

Upcoming field trips are listed on the Home Page, our Calendar and in the latest Grebe Newsletter.

Also see either the latest Grebe Newsletter or the Klamath Basin Bird News for birds seen on recent field trips and by birders in general.

Field trips typically go to local or regional hotspots designated as part of the Klamath Basin Birding Trail.

What to Bring?
It’s a good idea to bring a small backpack with rain gear, hat, sunscreen, field guide, and binoculars. A drink and a snack may be advisable as well, to keep the energy up. Wear suitable shoes. Subdued colored clothing is preferable but not essential.

For full day outings take your lunch. Ask whether you will be returning to the cars for lunch. Many people also take a drink and a snack to have at the end of the walk.

Birds: Klamath Basin Bird News

Klamath Basin Bird News is an informal “Google group” of birders and other folks interested in bird sightings and bird-related information for the Klamath Basin of Oregon and California. Participate at the Klamath Basin Bird News website.

Birds: Check Lists

  • Bird Checklists for Klamath County
  • Klamath Basin Birding Trails Checklist
  • Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuges Checklist

Birds: Birding Ethics

The American Birding Association website is We endorse their Code of Birding Ethics. Please Follow this Code and Distribute and Teach it to Others.

Birds: Species Profiles

Here we profile more than 100 birds! This page will help you identify them and learn more about their habitats in our area.

House Wren

Barn Swallow

American Robin

Canada Goose

Brewer’s Blackbird

Gold-crowned Sparrow

Common Raven

Great Blue Heron

Horned Lark

House Finch

Ash-throated Flycatcher

Mourning Dove

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-winged Blackbird

Ring-necked Pheasant

Savannah Sparrow

Song Sparrow


Turkey Vulture

White-faced Ibis

Brown-headed Cowbird

Black-headed Grosbeak

Cassin’s Finch

Chipping Sparrow

Clark’s Nutcracker

Lewis’s Woodpecker

Mountain Bluebird

Mountain Chickadee

Pygmy Nuthatch

Red-breasted Nuthatch

Red Crossbill

Western Bluebird

Western Tanager

White-breasted Nuthatch

Anna’s Hummingbird

Western Wood Pewee

Bewick’s Wren

Brewer’s Sparrow

California Quail

California Towhee

Canyon Wren

Common Nighthawk

Fox Sparrow

Green-tailed Towhee

Juniper Oak Titmouse

Loggerhead Shrike

Northern Flicker

Sage Grouse

Sage Sparrow

Northern Mocking Bird