Oregon has a very wide range of wildlife. You can often easily spot deer, raccoon, possum, skunk, rabbit, a myriad of rodents, frogs and toads, hundreds of different birds, and even occasionally cougar and coyote. Depending on your goals, you might want to just identify what you see, encourage certain wildlife to inhabit your property or discourage some types of animals from coming around.
No matter what wildlife you have on your property, there is some give and take. Deer are beautiful to watch, but if you want a garden you'll need to take certain precautions. Raccoons are cute, but they can get into everything. Skunks are brave for their size and you probably don't want to make one mad! Whatever visitors you have, make the necessary arrangements to make sure that you, your family, your pets and your animal visitors are safe.
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife website has an excellent series on Living with Wildlife, including information and guidelines for a number of different common animals.
The Audubon Society of Portland offers a series of brochures on Living with Urban Wildlife, covering a wide variety of animals and issues .
For more resources for learning how to manage and plan for wildlife on your land, check out the great publications offered by the Woodland Fish and Wildlife Project. The Woodland Fish and Wildlife Project is a cooperative effort between state and federal agencies and universities to provide information on fish and wildlife management to private woodland owners and manager. This site provides excellent detailed fact sheets on many native animals and birds.
To identify the wildlife you see, check the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Species Lists (many with excellent pictures). In addition to the online list, look for available online brochures.
There are also a number of books available which are specifically geared toward identifying Pacific Northwest animals.
Encouraging Certain Wildlife
If you are looking to encourage certain types of animals, birds, butterflies or insects to visit or reside on your property, the key is to create a habitat that is inviting to your desired guests. There are many organizations, groups and websites providing information on all different types of wildlife and habitats.
The East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District (EMSWCD) offers on–going workshops and events on "naturescaping" – using plants in your landscape to attract desirable birds, insects, and animals. They also have helpful online tutorials for public to access.
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has a 204 page how-to guide, Naturescaping, "for gardening the way Mother Nature intended", available through their online store for $15.00.
The Xerces Society is a nonprofit organization that protects wildlife through the conservation of invertebrates and their habitat. Pollinators, which are typically invertebrates, are extremely important to a healthy habitat. Their site contains a wide variety of information and they publish Books, Guidelines, Fact Sheets and Plant Lists, many of which are available in downloadable .pdf format.
Discouraging Nuisance Wildlife
If you have bothersome wildlife on your property, the informationon this page may help. Sometimes you can discourage them by creating a habitat that does not encourage them. Sometimes fencing can help.
If you run into serious problems, contact your local Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife for suggestion.
Wildlife & Habitat Resources
- Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
- Woodland Fish and Wildlife
- Audubon Society of Portland
- East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District
Special thanks to the Department of Oregon Fish & Wildlife for use of images on this page.