Spotted Owl photo by Ken Bevis.
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Important Birding Areas in Kittitas County

There are four Important Bird Areas in Kittitas County:

Umtanum Creek Valley,
Umtanum Creek is a tributary to the Yakima River located approximately 8 miles south of Ellensburg in the Yakima River Canyon on Hwy 821. A high quality riparian corridor with stands of aspen trees, the valley narrows into a canyon of ponderosa pines, a waterfall and shaded pools. Many species of birds are found in the various habitats.

Quilomene/Colockum Wildlife Area
The Quilomene-Colockum is located in the northeast of the county, a vast area of shrub-steppe, dry forest, and riparian areas. The Columbia River borders the east, the Old Vantage Hwy on the south and the Colockum Road on the west, excluding the irrigated agricultural land along the southern borders. Sage sparrows, sage thrashers, and loggerhead shrikes are found in the area in the spring and summer.

Lower Yakima River Canyon
Follow the Yakima River down Hwy 821 south of Ellensburg from Thrall Road to Selah. Riparian habitat continues along the Yakima River with high walls of grassy hills and basalt cliffs. Besides birds, Bighorn Sheep inhabit the high hills.

Yakima Training Center
This IBA is located in two counties and is entered off I-82 just north of Yakima. Specific requirements to enter the area is through military personnel. The Yakima Training Center is one of the largest remaining expanses of shrub-steppe in the Northwest.

Spots to bird in the county

Click on the following links to download
A Birder's Guide to Kittitas County
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