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Must-See Birds of the Pacific Northwest: 85 Unforgettable Species, Their Fascinating Lives, and How to Find Them

By Sarah Swanson and Max Smith

Someone has found a new way to present descriptions of 85 of our favorite birds in Oregon and Washington.

The Oregonian

The Pacific Northwest is a great place for birding. You can find Western Grebes dancing on water, or hear the Pacific Wren's song cascade through a mossy forest.

Must-See Birds of the Pacific Northwest is a lively, practical guide that helps readers discover 85 of the region's most extraordinary birds. Each bird profile includes notes on what they eat, where they migrate from, and where to find them in Washington and Oregon. Profiles also include stunning color photographs of each bird. Birds are grouped by what they are known for or where they are most likely to be found — like beach birds, urban birds, colorful birds, and killer birds.

This is an accessible guide for casual birders, weekend warriors, and families looking for an outdoor experience. Eight easy-going birding weekends, including stops in Puget Sound, the Central Washington wine country, and the Klamath Basin, offer wonderful getaway ideas and make this a must-have guide for locals and visitors alike.

Media reviews

"Looks like a field guide, reads like a travel book. This accessible guide will appeal to less experienced birders as well as visitors to the Pacific Northwest."

Library Journal

"A charming guide presented somewhere in between a handbook and a bookshelf reference, and it feels just right. ... Swanson and Smith would be good fun on a weekend birding trip."

—Brian Juenemann, Eugene Register-Guard

"This tome tells the stories of each species, illustrated by sumptuous photographs and, most helpful, where to find them."

—Christian Martin, Cascadia Weekly

"Oregonians Swanson and Smith take a practical approach to regional bird-watching with 85 lucid descriptions of notable Northwest species."

—Michelle Wallace, Alaska Airlines Magazine

"This bird book is blissfully unscientific. It's not that science is bad when birds are involved, it's just nice that someone has found a new way to present descriptions of 85 of our favorite birds in Oregon and Washington."

—Terry Richard, Oregonian

"The photos are gorgeous, and the informative writing is a true pleasure to read. ... This book will get you outside, make you slow down, look, and listen."


"Must-See Birds lists some of the prime locations for spotting each species, and also proposes several weekend birding trips. Whether you have a yen to spot a pelican, a wigeon, or a woodpecker, this is a congenial book — interesting to read through, and even more fun to put to use!"

—Barbara Lloyd McMichael, Bellingham Herald

"Some of us don't know a cedar waxwing from a belted kingfisher — but Sarah Swanson sure does ... Besides profiling 85 flying fiends of the Northwest, the book traces eight weekend birding vacations."

Seattle Met Blog

About the authors

Sarah Swanson

Sarah Swanson has worked as an environmental educator for the Audubon Society of Portland. She loves teaching adults and children about natural history by leading field trips and classes.

Read more about Sarah Swanson

Max Smith

Max Smith is a wildlife biologist currently working with the U.S. Forest Service. Since 2003, he has studied the mechanisms through which invasive plants and wildfire influence the reproductive success of birds.

Read more about Max Smith

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