Umatilla County Bird Checklists

Checklist of the Birds of McKay Creek National Wildlife Refuge
Compiled by Aaron Skirvin
Current Number of Species Sighted: 174
Last Updated: 18 January 2016

New species added in 2014:
Western Screech-Owl, July 16, 2014

New species added in 2015:
Sabine's Gull, September 6, 2015


Encompassing McKay Reservoir and the lands immediately surrounding the reservoir, the 1,837-acre McKay Creek NWR is located about 5 miles south of Pendleton. At full pool, the reservoir covers about 1300 acres. The Bureau of Reclamation manages the dam and reservoir, while the US Fish and Wildlife Service manages the wildlife and wildlife habitat. The refuge is open to the public from March 1 to September 30. In addition, the southern half of the refuge is open to public access from October 1 through the end of the waterfowl hunting season, usually in late January. The refuge is closed to public access from the end of the waterfowl season through the end of February. A brochure that describes the refuge and contains a map is available at the refuge entrance. Visitors should pickup a brochure to see which areas of the refuge are open and closed to public access. 

Birding is best in spring and fall. Several species of waterfowl and other water birds can be seen from March through mid-May. Many species of songbirds use the refuge for breeding and during spring migration. Mudflats on the southeast side and southwest corner of the reservoir usually attract a large variety of shorebirds during the fall migration. Habitats on the refuge include dry grassland, riparian woodland, lake, and mudflats. The wide variety of habitats, situated in the arid landscape of northern Umatilla County, attracts numerous species of birds over the course of a year. The following list contains a total of 174 species of birds that have been reported from McKay Creek NWR. 


Greater White-fronted Goose Black-bellied Plover Warbling Vireo
Snow Goose American Golden-Plover Black-billed Magpie
Canada Goose Semipalmated Plover American Crow
Tundra Swan Killdeer Common Raven
Wood Duck Black-necked Stilt Horned lark
Gadwall American Avocet Tree Swallow
American Wigeon Greater Yellowlegs Violet-green Swallow
Mallard Lesser Yellowlegs Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Blue-winged Teal Solitary Sandpiper Bank Swallow
Cinnamon Teal Spotted Sandpiper Cliff Swallow
Northern Shoveler Whimbrel Barn Swallow
Northern Pintail Long-billed Curlew Black-capped Chickadee
Green-winged Teal Marbled Godwit Mountain Chickadee
Canvasback Ruddy Turnstone Bushtit
Redhead Sanderling Red-breasted Nuthatch
Ring-necked Duck Dunlin Bewick’s Wren
Greater Scaup Semipalmated Sandpiper House Wren
Lesser Scaup Western Sandpiper Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Surf Scoter Least Sandpiper Townsend’s Solitaire
White-winged Scoter Baird’s Sandpiper American Robin
Bufflehead Pectoral Sandpiper Varied Thrush
Common Goldeneye Stilt Sandpiper Sage Thrasher
Hooded Merganser Short-billed Dowitcher European Starling
Common Merganser Long-billed Dowitcher American Pipit
Red-breasted Merganser Wilson's Snipe Bohemian Waxwing
Ruddy Duck Wilson’s Phalarope Cedar Waxwing
Ring-necked Pheasant Red-necked Phalarope Orange-crowned Warbler
Wild Turkey Red Phalarope Nashville Warbler
California Quail Franklin’s Gull Yellow Warbler
Gray Partridge Bonaparte’s Gull Yellow-rumped Warbler
Common Loon Mew Gull MacGillivray’s Warbler
Pied-billed Grebe Ring-billed Gull Common Yellowthroat
 Horned Grebe California Gull Wilson's Warbler
Red-necked Grebe Herring Gull Western Tanager
Eared Grebe Sabine’s Gull Spotted Towhee
Western Grebe Caspian Tern American Tree Sparrow
Clark’s Grebe Common Tern Chipping Sparrow
American White Pelican Forster’s Tern Vesper Sparrow
Double-crested Cormorant Black Tern Lark Sparrow
Great Blue Heron Rock Pigeon Savannah Sparrow
Great Egret Mourning Dove Song Sparrow
Black-crowned Night-Heron Eurasian Collared-Dove Lincoln’s Sparrow
White-faced Ibis Great Horned Owl White-crowned Sparrow
Osprey Short-eared Owl Dark-eyed Junco
Bald Eagle Western Screech-Owl Black-headed Grosbeak
Northern Harrier  Common Nighthawk Lazuli Bunting
Sharp-shinned Hawk Vaux's Swift Red-winged Blackbird
Cooper’s Hawk Black-chinned Hummingbird Western Meadowlark
Swainson’s Hawk Belted Kingfisher Brewer’s Blackbird
Red-tailed Hawk Lewis's Woodpecker Yellow-headed Blackbird
Golden Eagle Downy Woodpecker Brown-headed Cowbird
American Kestrel Northern Flicker Bullock's Oriole
Merlin Western Wood-Pewee Red Crossbill
Peregrine Falcon Willow Flycatcher Purple Finch
Prairie Falcon Say's Phoebe Cassin's Finch
American Coot Western Kingbird House Finch
Sandhill Crane Eastern Kingbird Lesser Goldfinch
  Northern Shrike American Goldfinch
    House Sparrow