Bird Watching in Southern California

February 2017

"California birding is as fine and varied as its wine, and as entertaining and exciting as any Hollywood movie, often more so." This quote from the American Birding Association's "Field Guide to Birds of California" (First Edition 2015, Scott & Nix, New York, NY) is describing very well my own experience, when I had the opportunity to visit three bird habitats in Southern California, namely

  • Fortynine Palms Oasis, part of the Joshua Tree National Park
  • Coachella Valley National Wildlife Refuge (Thousand Palms), and
  • the Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge. 

Very helpful in identifying birds is also Garrett, K. L. et al. "Birds of Southern California" (R.W. Morse Company, Olympia, Washington, Fourth Printing 2015). 

Birds at the Salton Sea

Birds in the Coachella Valley

Joshua Tree National Park

More Information about the habitats

The Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge is located 40 miles (64 km) north of the Mexican border at the southern end of the Salton Sea. The refuge was established as a sanctuary and breeding ground for birds and wild animals in 1930. In 1998, the refuge was renamed after Congressman Sonny Bono, who played an active role in trying to save the Salton Sea. Primary objectives on the refuge include endagered species production and maintennance, and other migratory bird management.

The Salton Sea is a shallow, saline, endorheic rift lake located directly on the San Andreas Fault, predominantly in California's Imperial and Coachella Valleys. The lake occupies the lowest elevations of the Salton Sink in the Colorado Desert in Southern California. Its surface is 235.2 ft (71.7 m) below sea level.  

[Homepage: Sonny Bono Salton Sea]

Wikipedia: Salton Sea


The Coachella Valley National Wildlife Refuge is a protected area in the Coachella Valley, located east of Palm Springs near Palm Desert, California.

Wikipedia: Coachella Valley National Wildlife Refuge


The Fortynine Palms Oasis is part of the Joshua Tree National Park, located in Southeastern California, named for the Joshua trees (Yucca brevifolia) native to the park.

Wikipedia: Joshua Tree National Park