The Wild & Wonderful Oregon Coast
By Gary Hayes
Published: 03/03/2020
Roosevelt Elk at Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach
Roosevelt Elk at Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach  Photo by Beth Wise

Widely known for its spectacular scenery, Oregon's coast is also a vibrant natural area and home to an amazing diversity of wildlife, especially in spring.

Many visitors to the Oregon Coast think of this as just a place to enjoy spectacular scenery, go for long walks on the beach or have fun in the sand. It's much more than that. The Oregon Coast is a vibrant natural area that is home to an amazing diversity of wildlife, sea creatures and some of the world's best bird watching. These natural wonders may go unnoticed by many of our visitors, though some of them are impossible to miss, especially in the spring.

When a herd of Roosevelt Elk strolls through the dunes or emerges from the surrounding forests to graze in grassy meadows, the creatures, each weighing 600 to 1,000 pounds, are a showstopper. With increasingly low spring tides, a truly incredible diversity of marine life, including sea stars, giant green anemones and spiky purple sea urchins can be discovered in the intertidal areas. You might spot sea lions or seals resting on nearby rocks and beaches. It's baby seal season so if you find a young pup stashed on the beach, it's important to give them space and never approach them so its mother can return to fetch her youngster after doing some fishing. While gulls are obvious inhabitants all along the shoreline, there are dozens of other varieties of birds and avian antics that get bird watchers' hearts racing. Tufted Puffins nest on offshore rocks along with immense colonies of "gurgling" Common Murres. Many less communal birds can also be seen in rocky areas including cormorants, Pigeon Guillemots and Black Oystercatchers, all of which depend on undisturbed nesting areas where human encroachment can cause the destruction of the colony's next generation. It's important to keep your distance from nesting areas to avoid disrupting this natural cycle of life. Bring binoculars to enjoy the most spectacular sights and never feed gulls who are healthier and less of a nuisance without human food. Spring also means whales! Observant visitors are frequently treated to the spouting of Gray Whales who migrate north along the Oregon Coast beginning in March. We encourage you to enjoy and respect everything that is wildly amazing about the Oregon Coast.
The Wild & Wonderful Oregon Coast