Birds At The Ranch - Rancho La Puerta
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Birds At The Ranch

Imagine you are a bird migrating over the region; you would look down and see a large green oasis with flowers, trees, and water in an otherwise brown and arid landscape. Naturally, you would want to drop down and investigate.

They do.

The Ranch is equally attractive to native (resident) birds, which stay here year-round. Some of these prefer the developed gardens and lawns; others, the oaks or chaparral on the hillsides. The variety of vegetation in and around the creek area is especially enticing.

acrobat2011 Download Guide to “Birds of Rancho La Puerta”

Open to see Ranch Bird List

The following list includes all the common birds at the Ranch, as well as those most likely to be seen during spring and fall migrations. The code symbol by each name indicates when you are most likely to see a particular bird, and identifies less common ones with an asterisk. The key to the symbols is at the end of the list. We hope this list introduces you to the great variety of birds that make use of the various habitats at the Ranch, and that by becoming more familiar with the bird life here, your stay at the Ranch will be even more enjoyable.

Key to symbols:

Y Year-round resident at the Ranch
B Known to breed at the Ranch
b Possibly breeds at the Ranch
M Seen during spring and fall migration only
S Spring-summer breeding migrant
W Winter visitor only
* Rare or less likely to be seen at the Ranch

Herons and Egrets
Great Blue Heron *
Great Egret *
Green Heron *
Snowy Egret *
Vulture, Hawks and Eagle
Turkey Vulture Y
Black-shouldered Kite *
Cooper’s Hawk Y, B
Sharp-shinned Hawk W
Red-shouldered Hawk Y, B
Red-tailed Hawk Y
Golden Eagle *
Prairie Falcon *
American Kestrel Y
California Quail Y, B
Shorebirds and Gull
Killdeer *
California Gull *
Mourning Dove Y, b
Band-tailed Pigeon *
Greater Roadrunner Y, b
Great Horned Owl Y, b
Barn Owl *
Western Screech Owl Y, b
Common Poorwill Y
(inactive in winter)
Lesser Nighthawk * S
Vaux’s Swift M
White-throated Swift S
Black-chinned Hummingbird S
Anna’s Hummingbird Y, B
Costa’s Hummingbird Y, b
Calliope Hummingbird * M
Rufous Hummingbird M
Allen’s Hummingbird * M
Acorn Woodpecker Y, B
Nuttall’s Woodpecker Y, b
Downy Woodpecker *
Red-breasted Sapsucker *
Red-naped Sapsucker * W
Northern Flicker Y, b
Western Wood-Pewee * S
Pacific-slope Flycatcher S, B
Ash-throated Flycatcher S, B
Olive-sided Flycatcher M
Western Kingbird S, b
Cassin’s Kingbird Y
Black Phoebe Y, B
Say’s Phoebe * W
Horned Lark * W
Tree Swallow Y
Violet-green Swallow M
Northern Rough-winged Swallow S
Cliff Swallow S, b
Barn Swallow *
Jay, Crow, Raven
Western Scrub-Jay Y, B
American Crow Y, B
Common Raven Y, b
Tits and Nuthatch
Mountain Chickadee *
Oak Titmouse Y, B
Bushtit Y, B
Wrentit Y, B
White-breasted Nuthatch Y, b
House Wren Y, B
Bewick’s Wren Y, B
Rock Wren *
Canyon Wren Y, b
Cactus Wren *
Kinglet and Gnatcatchers
Ruby-crowned Kinglet W
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher Y, b
California Gnatcatcher Y, b
Thrushes and Bluebird
American Robin W
Varied Thrush * M
Hermit Thrush W
Swainson’s Thrush M
Western Bluebird Y, B
Mockingbird and Thrasher
Northern Mockingbird Y, b
California Thrasher Y, B
Silky Flycatchers
Cedar Waxwing W
Phainopepla Y
Loggerhead Shrike *
Cassin’s Vireo M
Hutton’s Vireo *
Warbling Vireo M
Warblers and Chat
Orange-crowned Warbler Y
Nashville Warbler M
Yellow Warbler S, b
Yellow-rumped Warbler W
Black-throated Gray Warbler S
Townsend’s Warbler M
Hermit Warbler M
Common Yellowthroat Y, b
Wilson’s Warbler M
Yellow-breasted Chat * S
Western Tanager M
California Towhee Y, B
Spotted Towhee Y, B
Sparrows and Junco
Rufous-crowned Sparrow Y, b
Black-chinned Sparrow S, b
Lark Sparrow Y, b
Sage Sparrow Y, b
Savannah Sparrow * W
Fox Sparrow W
Song Sparrow Y, B
Lincoln’s Sparrow * W
White-crowned Sparrow W
Golden-crowned Sparrow W
Dark-eyed Junco W
Blackbirds and Cowbird
Brewer’s Blackbird * Y
Red-winged Blackbird *
Western Meadowlark *
Brown-headed Cowbird Y, b
Hooded Oriole S, B
Bullock’s Oriole S, b
Scott’s Oriole * W
Grosbeaks and Bunting
Black-headed Grosbeak S, B
Blue Grosbeak * S
Lazuli Bunting S, b
Finches and Siskin
House Finch Y, B
Purple Finch *
American Goldfinch S
Lesser Goldfinch Y, b
Lawrence’s Goldfinch *
Pine Siskin * W
Introduced Species
Rock Pigeon Y (mainly in town)
European Starling Y, B
House Sparrow Y, b


Our Resident Bird Expert

Currently you will find Rob Larson leading bird and nature walks at the Ranch.

Rob was born in Monterey, California and spent 30 years in the Pacific Northwest, with notable detours through Southeast Asia and the American Midwest.  He holds a degree in nursing and a degree in fine arts. As an artist, Rob has worked with sculptural media including wood, bronze and the majority of his work has been with clay. He has taught studio art classes and designed and developed ornamental gardens. His love for nature started early working in the Oregon woods as a sawyer.

Along with his interests in art and horticulture, Rob enjoys free-diving coral reefs and bicycle touring. He has done a bicycle tour from Oregon to Panama!

Rob started working with Salvador in Tres Estrellas, our organic garden, in 2000.  To Rob, the Ranch represents over 70 years of learning and teaching about life. It is experimental in ideals, an institution of the real higher learning and a gathering place for life-long learners.