From continental shelf to temperate rainforest to high desert, Oregon’s habitat diversity invites one of the broadest arrays of birds on the continent. Boasting spot #5 among North America’s 63 states and provinces, the state hosts over 530 bird species. Breeding bird diversity is especially high in Oregon, from 1.3 million nesting seabirds to 12 breeding woodpecker species and some of the westernmost breeding populations of Eastern Kingbird, Veery, and Bobolink. If the establishment has convinced you that you can’t visit Oregon without an umbrella, remember that nearly 2/3 of the state lies in the rainshadow of the Cascade Mountains; Oregon’s expansive high desert supports generous populations of the sagebrush trifecta—Sage Grouse, Sagebrush Sparrow, and Sage Thrasher.
Beyond the birding, Oregon offers a magnificent well-rounded nature experience. The state’s borders contain an impressive 19 million acres of public land, with a population under 4 million, most of whom live in the Portland metropolitan area. Get out beyond the city and you’ll stand in the shadows of 9 volcanoes over 9,000 feet. Oregon’s volcanic legacy can be seen nearly everywhere in the state. The northeastern Blue Mountains once stood as an ancient volcanic archipelago, until the islands were overtaken by the encroaching North American continent. Complementing Oregon’s fiery origins, 30 of the state’s 230 waterfalls drop more than 200 feet, including Oregon’s tallest, Multnomah Falls at 620 feet—the second-highest year-round waterfall in the United States. With rosy-finches on the state’s 35 named glaciers, and bighorns and wild horses on the Steens Mountain fault block, Oregon offers an extraordinary outdoor experience.