Farmington Bay is an amazing place to bird watch. They are known for bald eagles and other large birds of prey. There are many migratory birds that pass through Farmington Bay Migratory Bird Refuge, so different birds will be there different times of year. All About Birds website, Merlin Bird ID, eBird, and iNaturalist apps have been very helpful to identify different wildlife and locate them. Here are some of the birds I have seen at Farmington Bay.
I got some great shots of a juvenile red-tailed hawk in December, January, and February visits. Red-tailed hawks are common in Utah and there are different color variations. This one is likely a juvenile by it’s light eye color.
- Length: 17.7-22.1 in (45-56 cm)
- Weight: 24.3-45.9 oz (690-1300 g)
- Wingspan: 44.9-52.4 in (114-133 cm)
- Length: 19.7-25.6 in (50-65 cm)
- Weight: 31.8-51.5 oz (900-1460 g)
- Wingspan: 44.9-52.4 in (114-133 cm)
I also got some photos of a blue heron. Blue Herons have a long curved S- shaped neck and a long bill. They look very similar to cranes. These photos are from early December, but I think they nest there are can be seen many seasons.
- Length: 38.2-53.9 in (97-137 cm)
- Weight: 74.1-88.2 oz (2100-2500 g)
- Wingspan: 65.8-79.1 in (167-201 cm)
Black-Crowned Night Heron
The Black-Crowned Night Heron is much stockier than most of the other herons. The juveniles have brown feathers and when they grow up they get dark feathers on the tops of their head and on their back. Their wings turn gray and they grow thin white plumes from their head.
- Length: 22.8-26.0 in (58-66 cm)
- Weight: 25.6-35.8 oz (727-1014 g)
- Wingspan: 45.3-46.5 in (115-118 cm)
The Northern Harrier is a medium-sized raptor with a distinctive white band along the tail. It has an owl-shaped face with a curved beak.
- Length: 18.1-19.7 in (46-50 cm)
- Weight: 10.6-26.5 oz (300-750 g)
- Wingspan: 40.2-46.5 in (102-118 cm)
The American Kestral is the smallest falcon in all of North America and is one of the most colorful hawks, especially the males, like the ones I photographed.
- Length: 8.7-12.2 in (22-31 cm)
- Weight: 2.8-5.8 oz (80-165 g)
- Wingspan: 20.1-24.0 in (51-61 cm)
Tundra Swans live most of the year in Alaska and Canada, but migrate to Utah in the late fall and away in the early spring. Trumpeter Swans are nearly twice the size of Tundra Swans. They are far less common, but no longer endangered. Trumpeter Swans are actually the largest flying bird in North America.
Tundra Swan Size:
- Length: 47.2-57.9 in (120-147 cm)
- Weight: 134.0-370.4 oz (3800-10500 g)
- Wingspan: 66.1 in (168 cm)
Trumpeter Swan Size:
- Length: 54.3-62.2 in (138-158 cm)
- Weight: 271.6-448.0 oz (7700-12700 g)
- Wingspan: 79.9 in (203 cm)
The American White Pelicans are a large bird with a very large bill. During breeding season the adults develop a little bulge on their bill.
- Length: 50.0-65.0 in (127-165 cm)
- Weight: 158.7-317.5 oz (4500-9000 g)
- Wingspan: 96.1-114.2 in (244-290 cm)
Other Bird Species
There are all kinds of birds in the waterfowl management area. Here are a few of them.
Where to Bird Watch
If you go to the Eccles Wildlife Education Center nearby, then they will give you details about where to look for the different birds and other tips. They also have very nice restrooms there. Then you can head over along Dike Road and search for most of the birds. You can probably see some right from your car or a very short walk. I ended up driving and walking around looking for the birds, but found many. The majority of these photos were taken from my car.
The sunset was also amazing at Farmingon Bay!
Other places to find birds can be found in this post on Wildlife.
Maps and Information on Farmington Bay
Map to Eccles Wildlife Education Center
Map to Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management Area
Stats: Distance – 0-1 mile round trip
Approximate hiking time – 30-120 minutes
Elevation gain – 10 feet
Difficulty – Easy
Trail – dirt and rocks
Bathrooms – At Eccles Wildlife Education Center
Seasons to hike – Year Round
Permits needed – None
Pets allowed – Yes