For birds migrating up the Pacific Flyway this spring, California is a major stop. During spring migration, more than a billion birds will make their way over the state. While every location along the flyway is vital to the success of our migratory birds, California stands out because so many of these birds pass through the key habitat areas of the Golden State. Here are some of the birds you can spot at different locations.
Point Loma, San Diego
Western Grebes, Clark’s Grebes, Pied-billed Grebes, Cormorants, Snowy Egret, ducks (Northern Pintail, Blue-winged Teal, American Wigeon, Ruddy Duck), American Coot, American Avocet, gulls, Northern Mockingbird, Yellow-rumped Warbler, White-crowned Sparrow
Point Pinos, Monterey
Loons and shearwaters.
Pintails, White-fronted Geese, Snow Geese, Grebes, White pelicans, Egrets, Herons, and Bitterns
Pt. Reyes, Marin County
Black-throated Blue Warblers, Least Flycatcher, Red-eyed Vireo, Peregrine Falcon, Surf Scoter, Loons.
Butterbredt Springs, Kern County
Wilson’s Warblers, Orange Crown Warblers, Yellow-rumped Warbler, rare vagrants like Virginia Warblers, Ovenbird, Northern Water Thrush, Kentucky Warbler.
Piedras Blancas, Central Coast
Bald Eagles, Brown Pelicans, terns, Snowy Plovers, Sandpipers, Black Oystercatchers, Woodpeckers, Hawks, Shearwaters.
Huge numbers of shorebirds.
Angeles Crest Forest, Los Angeles
Occasional rarity or vagrant – warbler, flycatchers, important stopover songbirds, wood peewee, western peewee, empid flycatchers, western warblers, tanagers, thrushes.
Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area
Green-winged Teal, Northern Pintail, Long-billed Curlew, Mountain Plover, Northern Shoveler, Long-billed and Short-billed Dowitcher
Owens Lake, Eastern Sierra
White-faced Ibis, Black-necked Stilts, American Avocets, Western and Least Sandpipers, California Gull, Wilson’s and Red-necked Phalaropes
Mono Lake, Eastern Sierra
Phaleropes, Ruddy Duck, Cinnamon Teal, Green-winged Teal, Gadwall, American Wigeon
State’s largest concentration of Brant, Breeding heron, Marbled Murrelet, Bald Eagle
Elkhorn Slough, Monterey
Shorebirds, up to 30,000 at a time. Savannah Sparrow, nesting ducks (incl. Gadwall, Northern Pintail, Northern Shoveler), Northern Harrier and American Bittern (scarce). Terns (Caspian, Forster’s, Black Skimmer).
Salton Sea, Imperial County
White Pelicans, Yuma Clapper Rail, Snowy Plover, Waterfowl and Shorebirds
Lower LA River (Willow Street)
Sandpipers, Pectoral Sandpipers.
Bolsa Chica Wetlands, Orange County/Los Angeles
Least Tern, Savannah Sparrow, Shorebirds, Hawks
By Garrison Frost
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