Trees and marshy lands at the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge provide the perfect sanctuary for migratory birds from across the world. World-class photographers and bird researchers often flock to the sanctuary to spot migratory birds and research their habitats.
However, birding isn’t just for veterans who can spot a Northern Shoveler from 100 feet away. Birdwatching is for everyone, so don’t be intimidated. Grab some breakfast from the Alamo Inn, pack a pair of binoculars and some comfortable shoes, and wing it! You can find any of the following birds in and around the 2,088-acre area today!
Keep your eyes open for this long-legged friend wading and foraging for food at the Refuge’s marshy lands. This Ibis likes feeding on insects and frogs, and its pointy bill makes snatching earthworms a breeze.
This waif-like shorebird can be spotted catching insects in its needle-like beak. The unique beak shape allows the bird to lift crayfish right out of the water. Sometimes, it submerges its head into the refuge’s lakes. Watching this pink-legged Stilt get its hair wet is a fun sight for first-time watchers.
During the winter months, the Long-billed Dowitcher is known to tiptoe through the muddy lands of the refuge, feasting on mollusks and small crustaceans, but come summer, its brown speckled wings can be spotted in the Valley’s dry, grassy lands, devouring beetles and other insects.
Covered in brown and white specks, the tiny Least Sandpiper often strolls through the sandy banks of the refuge’s lakes rather than beaches like other sandpipers. Snails and worms are usually what’s for dinner for this round, fluffy flyer.
The beautiful American Goldfinch is hard to miss. Its bright yellow feathers and black spot above its eyes make the bird easy to identify and is truly a great sight. During the winter, their feathers tend to blend into the Refuge’s surroundings with a brownish color. The finch often shows off its acrobatic flight skills by bouncing through the air and can be seen at birdfeeders and in weedy fields.
A Sure Thing
With 400 species taking refuge at the sanctuary, the opportunities to see a variety of birds are endless. Also, the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge’s bird tracker keeps birdwatchers updated about the location’s most plentiful species. Birdwatchers can begin tracking them today.