Seattle (Edmonds) Bird Watching & Puffin Cruises

2024 Tours

3pm departures:
July 9, 16, 23, 30; August 6, 13, 20

You may also like: Puget Sound Birdfest Cruise: June 2


3 hours

Trip Fares

Adult: $105 ($85 ages 2-10)

Our Itinerary

Whether you are a “lister” or an explorer, the Salish Sea provides tremendous birdwatching opportunities. Puget Sound Express offers the Pacific Northwest’s only birdwatching tours dedicated to getting you out to see marine birds.

A special treat each summer is a chance to view tufted puffins. Just outside of Port Townsend are two iconic National Wildlife Refuges — Protection Island and Smith Island. Protection Island contains one of the last 2 nesting colonies of tufted puffins in the Puget Sound area. In recent years, more puffins have been returning to nearby Smith Island Refuge, so depending on the greater population the captain will ultimately determine which Refuge is best to visit for any particular tour.

As every birder knows, no guarantee can be made that they will be sighted on every outing, but chances are very good that they will be spotted. Like rhinoceros auklets, for which Protection Island is the major nesting site, the puffins use burrows in the cliffs and uplands to raise one or sometimes two chicks. The chance to see them carrying many small fish at one time in their bills, or even swimming, flying, or diving, is exciting.

Photo by David Gluckman

Beyond puffins, Smith and Protection Islands are beacons to a wide array of sea and shorebirds.

Depending on the time of year, some of the more common species we see include California Gull, Glaucous-winged Gull, Heermann’s Gull, Rhinoceros Auklet, Double-crested Cormorant, Common Murre, Red-necked Grebe, Pigeon Guillemot, Brandt’s Cormorant, Pelagic Cormorant, Sanderling, Black Turnstone, Surf Scooter, Ring-billed Gull, Tufted Puffin, Caspian Tern, White-winged Scoter, Harlequin Duck, Black Oystercatcher, Brant, and Red-necked Phalarope.

However, we see many other types of species as well.

The Hanke Family

from our family to yours

Three generations of our family have helped visitors have life-changing experiences with some of the most majestic creatures on the planet. We’re blessed to live in what’s been called “the American Serengeti,” with some of the highest concentration of whales and dolphins and sea life anywhere in the world — including our totem species, the orca. Few people know these waters like we do. Welcome to the Salish Sea – enjoy!

Things to Know

Where do Edmonds tours depart from?

459 Admiral Way, Edmonds, WA

We are located at the Port of Edmonds, across the street from Anthony’s Homeport Restaurant in parking lot 8 – look for “Whale Watching, Check In Here.”

Parking is available at the Port of Edmonds, however due to a strict 3 hour limit on all spaces within the port a parking permit is required. Permits are $15.00 and can be purchased when making your reservation or when you check-in. Purchased parking permits are handed to you at check-in to be placed in your vehicle window.

Check-in and boarding

Travelers are required to be checked-in no later than 30 minutes prior to sailing. Boarding closes 15 minutes before departure. If guests are not checked in by this time, tickets will be cancelled with no refund or ability to reschedule.

Puget Sound Express is not responsible for traffic, ferry disruptions, or bridge closures. Please ensure enough travel time to account for the unexpected.

Get to Know Edmonds!

Art galleries, performance halls, an historic downtown with sandy beaches – Edmonds is a terrific play to stop, breathe, and linger! Learn more.



Our cancellation policy is 48 hours prior to a tour’s departure time. A tour is confirmed when a confirmation email has been received OR payment has been processed. Prior to 48 hours from departure, any cancellation of a confirmed reservation is fully refundable, less a $10 processing fee. Inside of 48 hours to departure, reservations are non-refundable. This includes all tours booked online within 48 hours of departure.


Outside of 48 hours from the tour, rescheduling can be made at any time. Inside of 48 hours to the tour, rescheduling can be requested and at the discretion of the office and upcoming availability to approve. If approved a $10/person change fee is charged to the booking.