Seattle's Child

Your guide to a kid-friendly city

Attention Dog Owners! Ground Birds are Nesting

Native ground birds around Seattle have begun to nest, and Seattle Parks and Recreation asks that park users show sensitivity to bird habitat by avoiding disturbing habitat and keeping dogs on short, retractable leashes, especially in developed or natural areas with shrub beds, meadows, wetlands, long grass or thick areas of brush. For most native bird species, nesting season lasts into August.

At Magnuson Park, for example, native birds such at Mallards, Killdeer, Spotted Sandpipers, Willow Flycatchers, Bewick's Wrens, Pacific Wrens, Common Yellowthroats, Song Sparrows, Savannah Sparrows, White-crowned Sparrows and Spotted Towhees all nest at the park, either on or very near the ground. Some species raise their nestlings and fledglings (baby birds) until their feathers grow enough for them to fly.

Disturbances such as allowing dogs to run through these areas will flush the birds out of their nests and may cause nest failure or death of the baby birds. Users should let dogs off leash only in designated off-leash areas and avoid areas where birds may be nesting. By ordinance, the shorelines are off limits to dogs with the exception of the off-leash area at Magnuson Park. Information about Seattle's 11 off-leash areas is available at

If park users see a nest or baby bird, keep your distance and leave the birds undisturbed.

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