La Conner – Your Perfect Home Base for Birdwatching in Skagit Valley!

The Fir Island Farms/Hayton Snow Goose Reserve attracts tens of thousands of snow geese from October until April. Also, bald eagles, northern harriers, and red tail hawks are common here throughout the winter. Keep an eye out for the active bald eagle nest located in a tree on the west side of the entrance road as you start your birdwatching in and around La Conner!  La Conner birdwatching – the perfect place to hang out on your birdwatching weekend to the Skagit Valley!

Take a stroll on the short trail along the dike offering views of Skagit Bay and opportunities for shorebird and waterfowl viewing. Snow Goose Reserve is a popular wildlife watching site, and has a gravel road and parking area (and restroom) with access for the disabled.

This managed agricultural land (225 acres on the south side of Fir Island Road) was purchased in 1995 to create a snow goose reserve. This non-hunted reserve provides a winter-feeding and resting area for snow geese adjacent to the Skagit Bay estuary. A local farmer is contracted to plant a cover crop of winter wheat for snow geese after harvesting cash crops. This sharecropper also plants winter wheat on his adjoining property and places his farm in a formal game reserve, providing an additional 295 acres of winter food and resting area for the snow geese.  Before the dike was developed and the land converted to farms, this area was subject to the tides, and the North Fork of the Skagit River flowed through Dry Slough during high flows.

Visit La Conner and witness the beauty.  Don’t forget your camera, binoculars and a warm coat.  Remember to park in designated areas.

Stop by the La Conner Visitor Center for a map of recent sightings as well as a variety of birding literature including identification cards.

Skagit Winter Bird Map jpg 2013

Driving Directions
From Interstate 5, take Exit 221 (Lake McMurray/Conway) and turn west. Drive 0.1 mile. Turn right (west) onto Fir Island Road. Drive west 3.2 miles. Turn left (south) at Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife sign. Drive 0.5 mile to parking area.

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