Native Plants & Animals in the Northwest Pacific Biome

By Jennifer Lahl
The Northwest Pacific, stunning views, abundant nature
volcano mount st. helens from forest image by Nwrainman from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>

The Pacific Northwest has a notably wet climate, temperate rain forests and many scenic waterfalls. The area is comprised of mountains and beaches, and has a plethora of habitats for large populations of plants and animals. The Pacific Northwest region has 17 national forests, the Crooked River National Grassland, and the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, an 80-mile-long sea-level route through the Cascade Mountains. There are also two national volcanic monuments. The Pacific Northwest biome offers plenty of opportunities to enjoy nature.

Birds

The bald eagle, our national bird, the Northwest Pacific biome
Bald Eagle image by Penny Williams from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>

The Pacific Northwest biome has more than 115 species of birds. One of the most known birds native to the area is the bald eagle, with a wingspan of about 6 to 8 feet, a white head and tail, and a large yellow beak. In Oregon, most bald eagle nests are quite close to water and in the highest trees.

The American white pelican, another well-known bird native to the region, is a large water bird with a big beak. They average 5 feet in length and frequently nest on peninsulas or islands. Sometimes, American white pelicans work together to herd fish.

The pileated woodpecker is one of the largest woodpeckers in America at approximately 1 1/2 feet long. They have a mostly black body with some white lines and a red crest. The pileated woodpecker prefers dense coniferous forests. Other native birds include the red-tailed hawk, the western screech owl, the great blue heron, the fox sparrow and the killdeer.

Mammals

Cougars, the Northwest Pacific
cougar image by Photoeyes from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>

The mountains of the Northwest Pacific biome are home to the American Pica, a rodent-like mammal endangered by global warming trends, according to the National Wildlife Federation. American Pica live in cooler temperatures of the high elevation areas of the Northwest Pacific. They have stout bodies and are about 7 to 8 inches long with very thick brown and black fur. Warming temperatures are a serious threat to the American Pica, as they are susceptible to overheating due to their dense fur.

The pronghorn is the fastest North American land animal, capable of running up to 60 mph, states the National Wildlife Federation. They are able to maintain high speeds over long distances.

White-tailed jackrabbits also are native to the Pacific Northwest and enjoy open grasslands. At higher elevations they can be found in the open areas near pine forests. Other mammals who are native to the area include the minx, river otter, beaver, skunk, lynx, mountain goat, cougar, elk, white-tailed deer and raccoon.

Plants

Western buttercups, the Pacific Northwest
buttercup image by Wolfgang Zintl from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>

Many of the towering ancient redwoods growing in the Pacific Northwest are more than 1,000 years old and 350 feet tall. They grow best in the foggy air of the coast where they can suck moisture into the tops of the trees through their needles. The Pacific Northwest biome has dozens of other types of trees including alder, birch, chestnut, cottonwood, cypress, dogwood, elm, juniper, maple, oak, redwood, Russian olive, spruce and sycamore. Some of the other plants species native to the area include the Pacific waterleaf, maidenhair fern, stream violet, Pacific ninebark, and western buttercup.

About the Author

Jennifer Lahl is a freelance writer and editor based in North Carolina who began her professional writing career in 2000. She has written for eHow and specializes in parenting and pet-related topics. She has a Bachelor of Arts in history from Cleveland State University.