A practical guide to bird watching in Sonoma County, California

(Unless otherwise indicated, all phone numbers are in the 707 area code)


Sonoma County: Common winter species

Species generally present in the county in the WINTER months in appropriate habitat

Pelagic Species: Northern Fulmar, Common Murre, Pigeon Guillemot, Marbled Murrelet, Ancient Murrelet, Cassin's Auklet, Rhinoceros Auklet

Loons, Grebes: Red-throated Loon, Pacific Loon, Common Loon, Pied-billed Grebe, Horned Grebe, Red-necked Grebe, Eared Grebe, Western Grebe, Clark's Grebe

Ducks, Geese: Canada Goose, Brant, Wood Duck, Gadwall, Eurasian Wigeon, American Wigeon, Mallard, Northern Shoveler, Northern Pintail, Green-winged Teal, Canvasback, Ring-necked Duck, Greater Scaup, Lesser Scaup, Surf Scoter, White-winged Scoter, Bufflehead, Common Goldeneye, Hooded Merganser, Common Merganser, Red-breasted Merganser, Ruddy Duck

Shorebirds, Wading Birds: Brown Pelican, Brandt's Cormorant, Double-crested Cormorant, Pelagic Cormorant, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Cattle Egret, Green Heron, Black-crowned Night Heron, Virginia Rail, Sora, Common Gallinule, American Coot, Black-bellied Plover, Snowy Plover, Semi-palmated Plover, Killdeer, Black Oystercatcher, Black-necked Stilt, American Avocet, Greater Yellowlegs, Willet, Spotted Sandpiper, Whimbrel, Long-billed Curlew, Marbled Godwit, Ruddy Turnstone, Black Turnstone, Surfbird, Sanderling, Western Sandpiper, Least Sandpiper, Dunlin, Short-billed Dowitcher, Long-billed Dowitcher, Wilson's Snipe

Gulls and Terns: Western Gull, California Gull, Ring-billed Gull, Bonaparte's Gull, Mew Gull, Herring Gull, Thayer's Gull, Glaucous-winged Gull, Forster's Tern

Hawks, Eagles, Kites, Falcons, and Vultures: Turkey Vulture, Osprey, White-tailed Kite, Northern Harrier, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Cooper's Hawk, Red-shouldered Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, Golden Eagle, American Kestrel, Merlin, Peregrine Falcon

Doves, Quails, and Grouse: Mourning Dove, Rock Dove, Band-tailed Pigeon, California Quail, Mountain Quail, Blue Grouse

Owls: Barn Owl, Western Screech-owl, Great-horned Owl, Northern pygmy Owl, Spotted Owl, Short-eared Owl, Northern saw-whet Owl

Hummingbirds: Anna's Hummingbird

Woodpeckers: Acorn Woodpecker, Nuttall's Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Red-breasted Sapsucker, Pileated Woodpecker

Flycatchers: Black Phoebe, Say's Phoebe

Larks, Pipits: Horned Lark, American Pipit

Crows, Jays, and Allies.: American Crow, Common Raven, Steller's Jay, Western Scrub-jay

Chickadees, Titmice, Creepers, and Nuthatches: Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Oak Titmouse, Bushtit, Red-breasted Nuthatch, White-breasted Nuthatch, Brown Creeper

Wrens, Wrentit: Bewick's Wren, Pacific (Winter) Wren, Marsh Wren, Wrentit

Kinglets, Gnatcatchers: Golden-crowned Kinglet, Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Mockingbirds, Thrashers: Northern Mockingbird, California Thrasher

Thrushes: American Robin, Hermit Thrush, Western Bluebird, Varied Thrush, Townsend's Solitaire

Shrikes: Loggerhead Shrike

Vireos: Hutton's Vireo

Warblers: Yellow-rumped Warbler, Townsend's Warbler, Common Yellowthroat

Blackbirds, Orioles: Red-winged Blackbird, Brewer's Blackbird, Brown-headed Cowbird, Western Meadowlark

Sparrows, Towhees, and Juncos: Savannah Sparrow, Fox Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Lincoln's Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, Golden-crowned Sparrow, Spotted Towhee, California Towhee, Dark-eyed Junco

Buntings, Finches, and Grosbeaks: Purple Finch, House Finch, Pine Siskin, Lesser Goldfinch, American Goldfinch

Others: Cedar Waxwing, Belted Kingfisher

Introduced species: European Starling, House Sparrow, Ring-necked Pheasant, Wild Turkey, Eurasian Collared Dove, Mute Swan

The bird in the photo: White-crowned Sparrow, a common winter resident, Spring Lake, Santa Rosa, 

Most common species list

Common summer species list

Less common species list

Rare species list



© Colin Talcroft, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012

Unless noted, all photos by the author. If you would like to use one of my images, please ask for permission for non-commercial use with proper credit or commercial use with proper compensation.