Crooked River Wetlands Complex

crooked river parking lotI had a chance to visit Crooked River Wetlands near Prineville. Like Fernhill Wetlands, this site was constructed as part of a wastewater treatment system. But Crooked River Wetlands was designed from the beginning to accommodate both birds and birders. The parking lot has a covered picnic area (the only shade on the property) and a restroom. Paved and gravel paths provide easy viewing of the wetlands.

crooked river wetlandsThere are 15 bodies of water in the complex, which is right next to the Crooked River. Water levels vary with the seasons, so there is a variety of water depths which attract different species.

western sandpiperShorebird migration is getting underway. Here are some Western Sandpipers.

spotted sandpiperSpotted Sandpiper

ruddy duckOne of the deeper ponds held this pair of Ruddy Ducks.

eared grebe and babyEared Grebe with baby

Tree SwallowBetween the river, the ponds, and the adjacent wastewater plant, this site attracts swarms of swallows. Tree Swallows use the many nest boxes.

Bank SwallowThis is one of the easiest places I know to see Bank Swallows.

n harrierNorthern Harrier

brewer'sBrewer’s Blackbird was one of five blackbird species I saw on this visit.

Tricolored BlackbirdTricolored Blackbirds can be hard to find in Oregon, but this site is pretty reliable.

yellow-headed blackbirdsYellow-headed Blackbirds are common here. The males tended to hide in the reeds, but this female and youngster posed nicely.

Say's PhoebeThis is one of two Say’s Phoebes that were working the fence line at the edge of the property.

Crooked River Wetlands is one of the best birding sites in central Oregon, providing access to a great variety of wetland species in a very dry part of the state. It provides a nice pocket of avian diversity at a time of year when birding can be pretty slow.

Happy Summer

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2 Responses to Crooked River Wetlands Complex

  1. ek says:

    Thanks for this lovely collection . . . your knowledge of the various species is showing.–EK

  2. Jen says:

    It’s such a great spot! I visited for the first time this year and then a second and a third. It’s nice that it’s dog-friendly as well.

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