The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife manages the 5,010-acre Fern Ridge Wildlife Area primarily as a nesting and wintering sanctuary for waterfowl, shorebirds, and other wetland species. The area under management surrounds Fern Ridge Reservoir and offers abundant opportunities for bird watching throughout the year in addition to hiking, canoeing, fishing and hunting opportunities.
The East Coyote Unit is mostly open grass and croplands that are crisscrossed by seasonal canals. There is a bird watching blind that is open year round near the western parking lot and a similar platform near the eastern parking lot. This unit is popular with pheasant hunters in the fall season and is largely closed to the public in the winter to protect over wintering birds. A walk along the western edge of the unit provides a great chance to experience the open expanse of East Coyote Unit as well as the adjacent dense mixed deciduous forest. There is even a nice spot to look out over a bend of Coyote Creek, which is mostly out of site beyond the trees.
The closure dates posted on the ODFW website may not be up to date. Call the wildlife area headquarters at 541.935.2591 to check on seasonal closures and regulations before going.