Wildlife Observations

Experience Wilderness

Cortes Island and the pristine waters that surround it provide both locals and visitors fabulous opportunities to experience wilderness and to observe a variety of birds and wildlife in their natural habitats. 

If you are lucky, you might catch a glimpse of a wolf or cougar while walking through the forest, or spot a great blue heron sitting on a nest. 

A number of species at risk found on Cortes have been identified and a list of them is available at the Museum.  Friends of Cortes Island organization is collecting information about wildlife sightings on Cortes and provides information about some of the species at risk on their website.  

From shore or boat, sightings of cetaceans including porpoise, dolphins, orcas and whales are quite possible.

The Museum encourages those who make wildlife or cetacean observation to take a minute to record it, particularly sightings of some of our less common species.  All sightings are appreciated as they help determine species distribution and the habitat locations of species at risk.

  • Please record your Cortes bird and wildlife observations on iNaturalist site.
  • Report your sightings of cetaceans here (sightings@vanaqua.org) or by calling 1.866.I.SAW.ONE (472-9663).
  • Report your sightings of Cortes wildlife, especially species at risk, on Friends of Cortes Island site.
  • Record your Cortes Island butterfly sightings on our butterfly page.