Bayocean Peninsula Park and the surrounding Tillamook Bay area are easy to access for visitors. I like to spend mornings scanning the bay and walking the sandy beaches. The shores around the bay, rivers, streams, and the ocean have attracted more than 230 bird species — from seabirds and shorebirds to waterfowl, raptors, hummingbirds, sparrows, and warblers.
Plenty of birding opportunities await on the north and eastern shores of Tillamook Bay as well. The checklist website eBird.org lists about 20 other hotspots around the bay.
Slightly south of the peninsula is Cape Meares State Scenic Viewpoint, a lush, yet rugged spot on the coast adjacent to Cape Meares National Wildlife Refuge. Here you can see Bald Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, Varied Thrush, Cedar Waxwing, and other species. From May to September, watch for Tufted Puffin, especially atop nearby haystacks — basalt formations that jut hundreds of feet from the ocean surface. The haystack at Cannon Beach, about 40 miles north of Tillamook, offers the most ideal location.
Cape Lookout State Park, a short drive south of Tillamook, is another favorite of mine. Allow enough time and wear good walking shoes, because you’ll have to hike in for the best views and birdwatching.
At a Glance
Click on the coordinates below to view location:
Sandy beaches, coastal wetlands, oceanside willow thickets, grasslands and dunes, and forested canopies overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
Relatively flat beaches, ocean cliff viewpoints.
230 species. Brant, Northern Pintail, Black Oystercatcher, Pacific Golden-Plover, Black-bellied and Snowy Plovers, Whimbrel, Marbled Godwit, Pectoral, Semipalmated, and Western Sandpipers, Common Murre, Pigeon Guillemot, Marbled Murrelet, Cassin’s and Rhinoceros Auklets, Tufted Puffin, Western, Mew, and California Gulls, Brandt’s, Double-crested, and Pelagic Cormorants, Brown Pelican, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Turkey Vulture, Osprey, Bald Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, Anna’s and Rufous Hummingbirds, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Wrentit, Red Crossbill, Spotted Towhee, Brewer’s Blackbird.
When to go
Year-round. Early April to mid-May, or late June through July, for Tufted Puffins on the north coast.
Park is undeveloped. Plenty of dining and lodging options in Tillamook County; see tillamookcoast.com for options. Explore Nature Tillamook Coast offers guided birding and wildlife tours.
County park. No fees and no motorized access beyond parking area. Nearby state parks, including Cape Lookout and Nehalem Bay, charge $5 day-use parking fee.
Tillamook County receives 87 inches of rain annually. Bring a raincoat or windbreaker and a hoodie to wear underneath. Good walking shoes or hiking boots recommended.
For more info
Tillamook Coast Visitors Association, (503) 842-2672
Explore Nature Tillamook County
Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area
About 23 miles south of Tillamook, on the coast. Scoters, grebes, loons, seabirds, and many other species.
Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Hotspot Near You No. 127
About 27 miles south of Tillamook. Wintering site of Dusky, Lesser, and Western Canada Goose, and Aleutian, Taverner’s, and Semidi Islands Cackling Goose.