California birding can provide many opportunities for the novice or experienced birder. I hope in this website to be able to show you why you might be interested in visiting California as a birdwatcher. Even if you've lived in California all your life and have spent the majority of that time birding, my hope is to be able to help you find some new birding locations or maybe find some of those target birds that you just can't get.
Lawrence's Goldfinch, Yellow-billed Magpie, Tricolored Blackbird, California Condor, if your thinking about visiting California as a birder, most likely these are species that would make a trip well worth it. Please enjoy the site, and I hope I can help you have a successful California birding trip.
In this website, I will break the regions of the state up into Central, Northwest, Northeast, Southwest, Southeast, West and East. Hopefully this will help in locating a particular area you might want to visit.
California Birding Regions
Central California provides wintering habitat for thousands of waterfowl and raptors. Places like Merced and Sacramento National Wildlife Refuges provide wetland habitat for many species and Flood and Waverly roads provide grassland habitat used by many raptor species like Ferruginous and Rough-legged Hawks and Short-eared Owls. Yellow-billed Magpies are a year-round specialty here as well.
Northwest California has rugged coastline that is home to many nesting shorebirds like various Alcid species. Point Reyes National Seashore is great for finding rare migrants at various times of the year. The northwest is also home to some limited range species of birds in California like Gray Jay and Ruffed Grouse.
Northeast California is home to sagebrush species like Sage Thrasher and Sage Grouse, along with mountain species like Gray Jay and Clark's Nutcracker. Klamath Basin is home to one of the largest wintering populations of Bald Eagles south of the Canadian border.
Southeast California includes great birding locations such as the Salton Sea which provides home to many wintering species and quite a few unusual species in Summer including Yellow-footed Gull and Wood Stork. Areas such as Joshua Tree National Park are home to desert species such as Scott's Oriole and Cactus Wren.
West California ranges from the rugged Big Sur coastline that is home to a sizeable population of reintroduced California Condors, to the Panoche Hills region that is home to Greater Roadrunner, Golden Eagle, Chukar, and a large population of Long-eared Owls at Mercy Hot Springs.
East California includes the Sierra Nevada Mountains that are home to specialties such as Great Grey Owl, Black-backed Woodpecker and introduced White-tailed Ptarmigan. East of the Sierra's is an area of sagebrush plains home to Sage Grouse and Pinyon Jays, and Mono Lake which is home to many water species.