A practical guide to bird watching in Sonoma County, California

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


Sonoma County Bird Finder and Species Notes



What is a passerine?

  1. *European Starling: Common in suburban and urban locations around the county, parks, agricultural land, grassy areas with light woods nearby. Jenner, Bodega Harbor, Spring Lake, Lake Ralphine, Sometimes seen in flocks of thousands in rural areas.

  2. *House Sparrow: YR common throughout the county near human habitation. (Pictured here)

  3. *Pigeon (Rock Dove): YR, The ubiquitous city pigeon.

  4. *Wild Turkey: YR, Annadel State Park, Channel Drive, Pine Flat Rd., Howarth Park, common in parts of Santa Rosa, other cities, suburbs

  5. *Cattle Egret: Win, Ninth St. Rookery during nesting season (Mar to early June)

  6. *Mute Swan: YR, Ellis Creek Water Treatment Facility, Shollenberger Park

  7. *Eurasian Collared Dove: YR, increasingly widespread, but sporadic. Numbers increasing also in absolute terms, beginning to push out the native Mourning Dove in some locations.


  1. Abundance: (Color coded to make it clear at a glance which birds are most common)

  2. Common (Permanent resident or abundant seasonally)

  3. Less common (usually present, or present in season, but not abundant)

  4. Unusual (migrants present seasonally, but only for a short period or in small numbers; or birds that may be confined to a limited habitat)

  5. Uncommon or Rare (One or only a few accepted county sightings, or birds that are noted only once or twice yearly).

  6. Birds are listed in rough order of abundance within their groups.

  7. Seasonality: Winter (Win); Spring; Summer (Sum); Autumn; Year-round (YR); Sporadic, Vagrant, Accidental, or Rare (SVAR). Intended as a rough guide only--many "summer" birds, for example, arrive in early spring and leave in late autumn, and some may overwinter.

  8. Locations given are some of the most likely places to find each bird in the county (not exhaustive, and, obviously, birds will be found in places not listed here. Again, intended as a rough guide.)

*Birds marked with an asterisk are birds known to breed in Sonoma County, according to Sonoma County Breeding Bird Atlas (Betty Burridge, Ed., Madrone Audubon Society, 1995)


© Colin Talcroft, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013

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.