More than 250 species of birds live in the marshy Toppenish National Wildlife Refuge (five miles south on Hwy. 97, then south a half mile on Pump House Road, 509/865-2405). The interpretive center and nature trail will get you started and up-to-date on current regulations. Winter and spring are the ideal seasons for spotting raptors and other feathered friends.
The Yakima Area Arboretum (1401 Arboretum Drive, 509/248-7337, www.ahtrees.org, dawn–dusk daily) is a peaceful 46-acre park with a Japanese garden and bird sanctuary, plus over 2,000 specimens of native and exotic woody plants near I-90 and Nob Hill Boulevard.
Across the Yakima River from Union Gap, bird-watchers will want to visit the Hazel Wolf Bird Sanctuary at the Wenas Creek Campground in the Wenas Valley, five miles west of Selah on Wean Road. Over 100 species of birds have been sighted in the 40-acre sanctuary.
© Ericka Chickowski from Moon Washington, 8th edition