Wildlife Area Location

Richard Kessler
5975 Lake Terrell Road
Ferndale, Washington 98248
(360) 384-4723

Wildlife Areas

Whatcom Wildlife Area
Bird Watching Opportunities at Tennant Lake

Tennant Lake Wildlife Area is home to over 150 species of birds.
Over 150 species of birds have been observed at the Tennant Lake Wildlife Area. A bird checklist is available at the Interpretive Center. The most productive bird viewing spots include the boardwalk loop trail, river access trail and tower. Bird watching from the tower is best facilitated with the use of a spotting scope. Special emphasis should be taken not to disturb nesting birds. Walk quietly and avoid sudden movements. The best bird-watching is in early morning since most birds are most active from sunup to 9:00 a.m.

The Great Blue Heron can be seen regularly throughout the year around the edges of the lake hunting its favorite meal of fish or frogs. The American Bittern, although uncommon elsewhere in the Northwest, may be seen and heard during the spring and summer in the willow and sweet gale surrounding the boardwalk. The summer ducks commonly seen in and around the lake are the Blue-winged and Cinnamon Teal, Mallard and the colorful WoodDuck. The winter complement of ducks (best before and after hunting season) include: Wigeon, Shoveler, Ring-necked, Scaup, Bufflehead and the diminutive Ruddy Duck. Clay Pit Pond (access off Slater Road) is deeper than Tennant Lake and therefore more productive of diving ducks.

The Red-tailed Hawk and Northern Harrier are common all year and both nest within the park. Winter brings the possibility of northern hawks and falcons and Peregrine Falcons have been recently observed within park boundaries.

Marsh wren Balck-capped chickadee
Red-winged Blackbird
Song sparrow
Peregrine falcon Great Horned owl
White-crowned sparrow Yellow-throat
A few of the bird species found at Tennant Lake

The Barn Owl, Screech Owl and Great-Horned Owl are present all year and also nest in the area. As with hawks, winter may produce northern owls such as the Short-eared Owl and Snowy Owl.
Mourning Doves are rare but present all year; this being another species that may be hard to find elsewhere in Western Washington.

Flickers are especially numerous along wood edges in winter. The tiny Downy Woodpecker is common all year and the Hairy Woodpecker is present in the winter.

Three species of swallows are commonly seen in the summer months (Barn, Tree and Violet-green) and all raise young within the park. Tree Swallows appear first in the spring and may be observed catching insects over the lake in early February before dispersing throughout the County.

Vocal flocks of Chickadees, Kinglets and Bushtits are common in the deciduous woods and may be accompanied by Warblers during the summer.

Birds typical of the marsh and best seen from the boardwalk loop trail and overlook are the Marsh Wren, Virginia Rail, Common Yellowthroat and Red-winged Blackbird.

The American Goldfinch is common in the summer with small numbers remaining through the winter. The pale Savannah Sparrow inhabits most open areas. Listen for its reedy call in summer along the road in front of the Interpretive Center. The darker Song and Fox Sparrows reside in woods and wood edges. White-crowned Sparrows are common along roadsides during winter.