California has the perfect weather and climate for many outdoor hobbies, and bird watching here is one of the best in the country. Southern California is home to many species of birds and offers some great bird watching locations, so great in fact, that bird enthusiasts come from all over the world. This hobby is more than just watching – you have to spot the birds, identify them, and learn about their habits and distribution. If you are ready to take it on, we are here to point you towards some perfect locations for your passion:
Crescent Bay (Laguna Beach)
This place is perfect for beautiful Pacific Ocean views and for spotting Wandering Tattlers, Surf Birds, and Black Turnstones. You can spend some time at the overlook and admire all this coastal area has to offer. The bay is at the north end of Laguna Beach and is known to have some of the best ocean views around. The beach itself is loved by locals for its remoteness and peacefulness, which is very difficult to find in many other Southern California beaches.
San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary (Irvine)
This sanctuary is one of the best bird watching places in Southern California. It all started with Peer Swan, who is the visionary of San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary. It has evolved into a popular place for all nature lovers looking to escape the city for a few hours. More than 282 bird species have been recorded here with 170 of them migrating regularly. You will always find birds here – some constant residents, some wintering birds, and others just seasonal guests.
Upper Newport Bay Ecological Reserve (Newport Beach)
The reserve is 1,000-acres wide and is open from 7 am to sunset every day. Birds live and nest here year-round. Peter and Mary Muth Interpretive Center is located on the park, which includes 135 acres of bluffs around the bay. This topography creates coastal wetlands famous for bird watching. Over 35,000 birds migrate here and six endangered species reside in the bay permanently. Those species are Light-Footed Clapper Rail, Brown Pelican, Beliding’s Savannah Sparrow, Black Rail Peregrine Falcon, and the California Least Tern.
Heisler Park (Laguna Beach)
This is another Laguna Beach spot perfect for birding. Even if you are not into bird watching, you will be amazed by the spectacular views of the ocean and shore cliffs. The park can be reached from the Pacific Coast highway and includes the Bird Rock. It is located just north of the Main Beach and is famous for shore birds. Another point of attraction of this park is the fact that it is included in the California National Coastal Monument.
Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve (Huntington Beach)
This reserve is a sprawling 300-acre coastal sanctuary with Pacific Coast Highway on one side and oil fields on the other. Migratory birds favor these wetlands and it is of vital importance because 20% of all North American migrating birds use the nearby Pacific Flyaway. Because of habitat destruction, migrating bird numbers have gone from 60 million to just 2 million in recent years. This sanctuary provides home for 163 pairs of endangered Belding’s Savannah Sparrows. In addition to them, bird watchers can often see the rare Clapper Rails and many other species: Great Blue Herons, Avocets, Black-necked Stilts, Snowy Egrets, and White and Brown Pelicans.