Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge Complex
Pacific Southwest Region
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Bird Life Bird List

Numbers and species of birds you will see here varies according to season. Heavy migrations of waterfowl, marsh and shorebirds occur during spring and fall. Throughout the mild winter and spring, a wide variety of songbirds and birds of prey are present. They are attracted to the freshwater marshes and riparian habitat along the New and Alamo Rivers. The greatest number of species is present from November to May.

The following list of birds contains over 400 species that have been recorded on the Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge). The common name and taxonomic order used in this list follows that appearing in the 6th edition of the American Ornithologists’ Union Check List of North American Birds, published in 1983, and subsequent revisions.

Sp – Spring (April through May).....................F – Fall (September through October)
S – Summer (June through August).................W – Winter (November through March)

Season Abundance Codes
c – common to abundant, easily found in suitable habitat.
u – uncommon to fairly common, found when looked for in suitable habitat, but can be missed.
r – rare to very uncommon, more often missed than seen, even when looked for in suitable habitat.
o – occasional, normally less than five individuals per season during any given year.
a – accidental, less than ten records for the entire area, and not to be expected.

Bird Collage

Habitat Codes
o – open water
b – beach and mudflat
m – marshes
f – farmland
s – shrubland
r – riparian vegetation
a – aerial
h – houses and towns

Codes Listed Under Status
b -- species regularly breeds in the area.
b+ -- species has bred in the area, and may continue to breed sporadically in the area, but is not expected to become a regularly nesting species.
l – species occurs only locally within the area.
e – an erratic species, occurring in numbers some years, but very scarce or even absent in others.
x – species formerly occurred in the area, but is now extirpated, occurring only as an accidental straggler if at all.
xb – an extirpated breeder formerly nesting in the area, but with no recent breeding records.
p – a post-breeding visitor to the area from the south, most numerous in the area between July and September.
1-9 – actual number of recorded occurrences for those species listed as accidentals in the area.
y – present year round, origin unknown.

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Last updated: February 23, 2009