Few states show more dramatic contrasts in their environment than Washington. Elevations range from sea level to over 14,000 feet. Precipitation varies from over 200 inches annually on the Olympic Peninsula, nurturing a temperate rain forest and mountaintop glaciers, to a mere six inches in parts of the Columbia Basin, where near-desert conditions prevail.
Between these extremes, an array of aquatic and terrestrial communities supports a remarkable diversity of bird species. Typical of the Wet Side are Black-footed Albatross, Trumpeter Swan, Black Turnstone, Mew Gull, and Rhinoceros Auklet, while the Dry Side is home to the Spruce Grouse, Flammulated Owl, White-headed Woodpecker, Black-billed Magpie, and Brewer's Sparrow. A Birder's Guide to Washington details hundreds of birding routes and sites in the state and adjacent areas in British Columbia, together with year-round access instructions and birding advice.