Bandon attracts birdwatchers throughout the year, especially those eager for a glimpse of Pacific shorebirds. Beaches, rivers and intertidal marshes near Bandon provide inviting nesting grounds, or migratory resting space, for a wide variety of birdlife.
Just within the Bandon Marsh and Ni-les’tun wildlife refuges, birders can observe multiple species of shorebirds, waterfowl, songbirds and birds of prey.
Birdwatching & Nature Discovery
Bandon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge is a tidal marsh system, providing habitat for salmon and shorebirds, and is an excellent birdwatching destination. The marsh observation deck on Riverside Drive is walking distance from Old Town– just head north on Riverside Drive, at the east end of First Street. The Ni-les’tun unit parking area and observation platform are located on North Bank Road, off Highway 101, just north of Bullards Bridge.
New River is an Area of Critical Environmental Concern located south of Bandon. Learn about the protected habitats at the Nature Center. Then hike the trails or paddle in the estuary. The trailhead and visitor parking are loaded on Croft Lake Lane, off Highway 101.
Nature Interpretation & Events
Find Group Events
The local Audubon Society, and Shoreline Education for Awareness, offer indoor and outdoor events throughout the year.
The Cape Arago chapter of the Audubon Society leads programs and outings in Bandon and the surrounding area. Meet fellow birding enthusiasts and learn more about stewardship of natural environments. Join them for their annual Oregon Shorebird Festival held in September.
Shoreline Education for Awareness interpreters share a wealth of knowledge about near shore nesting and bird habitats on the beach and offshore rocks. Find SEA volunteers equipped with spotting scopes, field guides and brochures, Friday through Sunday, May through July, at Coquille Point or Face Rock viewpoints in Bandon.
Additional SEA programs include seminars on King Tides and marine aquaculture. The annual Tufted Puffin Party, at Face Rock State Scenic Viewpoint in April, celebrates the springtime return of puffins to their nesting sites.
Book a Guide
Professional guides share their passion for nature on guided exploration of trails and waterways. Connect with Bandon’s natural wonder! Walks, hikes, kayak and boat tours are available for groups large and small.
Fun for Families & Youngsters
Watch birds in their natural habitats and learn about the relationship between birds, aquatic life and other species.
The Charleston Marine Life Center, located near the Charleston marina, is part of the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology campus. Visitors can learn about natural history in the museum, view aquatic wildlife in the aquarium, and get up close with marine life in the tide pool touch tank. The Marine Life Center is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. Admission is free for children and students (with student ID), $5 for adults, and $4 for seniors.
Pack a picnic and head to the Bandon Fish Hatchery. Birds such as wood ducks, herons and kingfishers are common all year with additional migratory birds visiting in the spring and summer months. View adult Chinook salmon in the fall, steelhead in the winter and spring, and trout in the show pond year round. Take Fish Hatchery Road south off Highway 42 South, approximately one-half mile east of Bandon.
The Junior Ranger program features hands-on nature discovery and learning at Bullards Beach State Park. Sessions begin at 10 a.m., Tuesday through Saturday, mid-June through Labor Day. Youth age 6 to 12 are invited to participate in this free, drop-in program. Children should be accompanied by an adult. Check in at Bullards amphitheater.