Ground Bird Nesting Season Is Here – Keep Dogs Leashed

Seattle Parks and Recreation wants to remind us all that ground bird nesting season has started and all parks users are asked to be more sensitive than usual to the habitat and environment in parks.

More Importantly: Keep dogs on leashes except in off-leash areas.

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.

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. For most native bird species, nesting season lasts into August.

Disturbances like 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. Parks asks park users to let dogs off leash only in designated off-leash areas and to 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 online at

The birds need park users’ help and protection so that they can produce young this season. If park users see a nest or baby bird, Parks asks that they please keep their distance and leave the birds undisturbed.