Birding in California
United States of America -- California
Discover the top birding locations in California. Find out more about California Bird Clubs and Birding Organizations in California. Print out a checklist of California birds. Find the Rare Bird Alert Phone Numbers for California. Order books to help you become a better birder in California. Discover links to California Birding web sites. Print out special maps of California before you begin your trip.
Thayer's Birds of
North America version 7
(Use Filter to view just California Birds)
Click to See Our Recommended California Bird Books
Recommended North American Bird Field Guides
Birds of Special Interest: Red-throated Loon, Short-tailed Shearwater, Flesh-footed Shearwater, Black-vented Shearwater, Ashy Storm-Petrel, Black Storm-Petrel, Least Storm-Petrel, California Quail, Mountain Quail, Pacific Golden-Plover, Black Oystercatcher, Wandering Tattler, Black Turnstone, Surfbird, Heerman's Gull, Thayer's Gull, Yellow-footed Gull, Black-legged Kittiwake, Elegant Tern, Pigeon Guillemot, Marbled Murrelet, Xantus's Murrelet, Craveri's Murrelet, Cassin's Auklet, Rhinocerous Auklet, Spotted Dove, Spotted Owl, Red-breasted Sapsucker, White-headed Woodpecker, Yellow-billed Magpie, Santa Cruz Scrub-Jay, California Gnatcatcher, LeConte's Thrasher, California Thrasher, Hermit Warbler, California Towhee, Tricolored Blackbird.
State Bird: California Quail
California Birds Record Committee
NPWRC Bird Checklists - California
Species Seen in California: 664
State Ornithological Society:
California Birds Record Committee
Rare Bird Alerts:
(323) 874-1318 Los Angeles
(831) 626-6605 Monterey
(415) 681-7422 Northern California
(949) 487-6869 Orange County
Electronic mailing Lists:
CALBIRDS Chat Group
Map of Important CA Bird Areas
California Maps - Geospatial Resources
Relief Map with County Lines
California Counties with Bird Links
Birding Links for California:
Joe Morlan's California Birding Pages
Central Coast Birding Trail
California Pelagic Trips
Southern California Birding Sites
California Hot Spots
Birding Hot Spots by County
US Fish & Wildlife Service Refuges - California
Golden Gate Raptor Observatory
Point Reyes Bird Observatory
San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory
Audubon Chapters in California
Central Valley Bird Club
The Nature Conservancy of California
Santa Cruz Bird Club
South Bay Birders Unlimited
Western Field Ornithologists
Pete Thayer's Favorite Hot Spots:
Arcata Marsh/Humbolt Bay
40.85 N 124.19 W
Wetland birds are abundant from October thorough May. The extensive trails make birding a pleasure here. The Humbolt Bay National Wildlife Refuge has great views of the bay and its birds.
Elkhorn Slough / Moss Landing
36.49 N 121.44 W
One of the top 3 Christmas Bird Count areas each year. Shorebirds galore at the Slough. Check the Moon Glow Dairy Farm for Tri-colored Blackbirds. Eat an artichoke fritter in Castroville.
Joshua Tree / Big Morongo
34.02 N 116.31 W
Combine the Mojave Desert with an oasis here and there and you get BIRDS! Bendire's Thrasher, Ladder-backed Woodpecker and Scott's Oriole can be seen. An excellent spot during migration. Many eastern vagrants accidentally end up here.
41.56 N 121.41 W
Six national wildlife refuges in southern Oregon and northern California attract waterfowl and, in the winter, Bald Eagles. The Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge and Lake Tule National Wildlife Refuge are perhaps the best in winter.
37.95 N 119.18 W
Mono Lake is famed for summer and fall migrants as well as the strange rock deposits left behind by falling water levels. You may be lucky enough to see a California Gull!
36.36 N 121.53 W
Pelagic (open ocean) trips run by Shearwater Journeys will be looking for Flesh-footed and Buller's Shearwaters; Ashy and Black Storm-Petrels. The "regular" species are likely to add half a dozen birds to your life list! Whales are always a possibility.
35.34 N 120.85 W
Peregrines, Merlins, Snowy Plover, Eurasian Wigeon, Brant, and a 200 species Christmas Count. 122 species seen in one day, without moving! Stop at nearby Montana de Oro State Park for Hutton's Vireo, Chestnut-backed Chickadee and more (best in August through November and in winter, bring your scope and scan the ocean).
Upper Newport Bay
33.38 N 117.53 W
Look for the endangered California Gnatcatcher in the brushy areas surrounding the Slough -- before the developers get them! This is a wonderful spot that needs to be protected!
Point Reyes / Bodega Bay
38.00 N 122.58 W
This is such a great spot they built a Bird Observatory here! This natural migrant trap has good birding all year around. Something really rare seems to turn up every year.
33.05 N 115.41 W
An absolutely UNBELIEVABLE experience any time of year! This huge oasis in the middle of the desert attracts millions of birds in the winter! The south end is best for birds like Shorebirds, Burrowing Owls and Mountain Plover. Take a friend and Cher the experience as you look for Yellow-footed Gull during the hot, Sonny, smelly summer.
San Diego / Tijuana Slough
32.41 N 117.17 W
An early September pelagic (open ocean) trip may let you see Black and Least Storm-Petrels and Craveri's and Xantus's Murrelets. Clapper Rails are at Tijuana Slough. Point Loma can be a great spot during migration.
San Francisco Bay
37.48 N 122.28 W
Seabirds flying over the water. Rails and other marsh birds at the southern end of the bay. Over 250 species and up to 800,000 waterbirds at one time. San Francisco is an ideal vacation spot for the entire family. It is OK to leave your heart here, but don't leave your binoculars!
34.25 N 119.43 W
With over 430 birds recorded here, birders will think they died and went to heaven. The San Ynez mountains and the Pacific Ocean combine for exceptional birding -- especially in winter. Yellow-billed Magpies are common in the foothills near Nojoqui Falls Park.
Yosemite National Park
37.44 N 119.42 W
Tourists come for the scenery. Birders see all that plus some spectacular birds as they move off the beaten path. Look for Great Grey Owls, Northern Pygmy-Owls, Williamson's Sapsucker, American Dipper and Red Crossbills. Black Swifts nest at Bridalveil Falls.
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