Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge

Check out the winter migratory birds at at local wildlife refuge just a few miles north of portland. Bring your binoculars!

Sometime Dad’s are awesome.  Especially retired Dads, like mine, who have great ideas about fun things to do with an infant.  A couple weeks ago he picked me and the baby up and took us to the Ridgefield National  Wildlife Refuge to drive their Auto Tour.  The refuge is a few miles off of I-5 in Ridgefield, WA and in the winter, it’s packed with birds and waterfowl.  Evidently it’s a popular winter migration stop.

Ridgefield Tour sign

Ridgefield swans fly

Ridge field reeds

Ridge field heron

There are a couple short hiking trails there, but the big “attraction” is their 4-mile car tour.  This is similar to Wildlife Safari outside of Roseberg, but much cheaper and focused on birds rather than exotic zoo animals.  It only costs  few dollars to do the loop.  You aren’t allowed to get out of your car, so it’s a nice cozy way to spend a winter afternoon.  We were armed with two pairs of binoculars and a couple DSLR cameras, which were very helpful seeing the birds.  My lens was not up to the task so most of the photos I’m sharing today were taken by my parents.

Ridge field white bird

Ridge field duck

Ridgefield flock

Ridgefield hawk

This was my first “birding” trip and I must say, it was fun!  We took our time, stopping frequently while the baby slept quietly in her car seat and saw all kinds of birds: geese, swan, hawks, heron, tons of ducks and other birds that are new to me.

Ridgefield baby

Ridgefield heron3

Ridgefield duck pair2

Ridge field wetlands

We spent about an hour driving the loop and spotted more than just birds.  Nuria were everywhere.  And we even caught glimpse of some deer.  The brochure they hand out at the entrance says there are also opossum, rabbits, coyote, raccoon, otter, beaver and skunk in the area so you never know what you’ll see.

Ridgefield deer

Ridge field nutria

I was a big fan of this place.  It was the perfect slow-paced afternoon out for me and the babe, but I think it was be a great addition to a road trip, maybe the next time you’re headed to Mt. St. Helen’s?  Or if you have a high powered camera lens, this is a great place to put it to the test.


Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge- Birding from the comfort of your own car.  Just north of Portland, OR   kristidoespdx.com


5 Comments on Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge

  1. Very cool, I would love to go check that out sometime.

  2. Amazing! Gotta love the Pacific NW! Such beautiful scenery and wildlife so close to home. Will definitely have to check that out. Thanks for sharing!

  3. This is awesome! I loved reading bird books as a kid and this would be fun to do with my kids as well! You’re right, dads are cool.

  4. How fun! We live near the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge and go a lot during the summer. I like the auto loop of this one that you went too –it looks perfect for staying warm & dry during these rainy months! Love the last photo, too.

  5. Love it – it looks like a fantastic place and will have to put it on my “visit” list.

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