Birders gather to start tour of City of Davis Wetlands

Birding or Bird Watching? It's all the same! Many residents of Davis enjoy checking out other residents or visitors to town. Specifically human 'birders' love to scope out the avian population! While there are many bird species that occur in this area year-round, there are hundreds of others that enjoy Yolo County just for the winter.

This section is to share about birds and birding here in Davis/Yolo County; not to try and re-create the wonderful birding site elsewhere online. If you have good photos of local birds, please go the relevant page and post them. If you have stories about encounters with local birds, please add them to The Bird and I page. Also check out the Friends of West Pond pages to see sightings of birds there.

Check out California Duck Days for workshops and birding in the wetlands.

Davis' Feathered Fauna

While Davis and vicinity may not be a mecca for the ornithological community, it does provide habitats for an impressive variety of birds. Northern mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos), in the UCD Arboretum (2/26/05) White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia luecophrys), a winter resident. Needs a napkin for his forehead? Mourning Doves at West Pond

Some of the more common birds that may be seen in or around Davis include:

Look on the individual pages for LOCAL photos of some of these birds. Want to know the correct taxonomic classification for a bird? Check out Wikispecies.

Robins in backyard on J Street, 2012 - Photo courtesy CO

Robin enjoying the sprinkler life, on J Street, 2012 - Photo courtesy CO


Junco in backyard, Davis - Photo courtesy CO

Wild Turkeys near the Domes, 2012 - Photo courtesy CO

Mourning Doves in backyard on J Street Davis, 2012  - Photo courtesy CO

Mocking Bird in Davis, 2012, Research Park area  - Photo courtesy CO

Mocking Bird in Davis, 2012, Research Park area  - Photo courtesy CO

Cranes in Yolo County wildlife area, as seen from afar, bird-spotting - Photo courtesy CO

Very strange bird spotted in backyard, Davis on J Street, 2012  - Photo courtesy CO

Goldfinches in backyard, Davis, J Street  - Photo courtesy CO

To increase your appreciation and, better yet, to help preserve Yolo County bird life and habitat, see the Yolo Audubon Society (website). Davis is also the home to the California Raptor Center. Be sure to check out the Yolo County Birding Statistics site and Steve Hampton's online guide to Yolo County Birding. There is a group that meets at noon at the UC Davis Arboretum to bird over the lunch hour on Thursdays; all are welcome. Meeting places vary so ask to join the listserve for more information about this (email PLEASE NOTE: this group is taking a break over summer 2009; lunchtime walks will resume in September.

If this site has convinced you to become a birder, please post your sightings on the Central Valley Birding Forum. This forum is part of the Central Valley Bird Club.

Local Area Bird Watching Spots

The Yolo Basin Foundation organizes field trips to local birding hotspots during California Duck Days, an annual event held in February.

Unidentified Birds

(please add your mystery photos below (or name one if you know the name))

At pauses in rainstorms, birds circulate high in the skies over Davis. Likely gulls but no one would ever be able to tell.

Mystery Solved! (birds formerly 'Unidentified')

A cross between a goose and a rooster? No! Spotted at Lakeshore Apartments, September 2008, this domestic Muscovy Duck shows its distinctive 'bare red face with a pronounced caruncle at the base of the bill'. A Belted Kingfisher (Ceryle alcyon), sighted in the Arboretum 2/3/07. Perhaps a point-and-shoot is not the appropriate camera for a shot like this. Several of these Black-crowned Night Herons (Nycticorax nycticorax) crowd treetops in the Arboretum. Western Scrub Jay (Aphelocoma californica), with the typical 'necklace' mostly hidden Blurry photo of a great egret (Ardea alba) seen in a pond in North Davis

Books: Northern California Birds

"An Introduction to Northern California Birds" by Herbert Clarke. (Mountain Press Publishing Company 1995)

"Birding Northern California" by John Kemper, a Woodland native. (Falcon Press, 1999)

"Birds of Northern California" by David Fix, Andy Bezener. (Lone Pine Publishing 2000)

"National Audubon Society Regional Guide to California" by National Audubon Society, Peter Alden (Knopf 1998)

"The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Western North America" by David Allen Sibley. (Knopf 2003)

  • This is the best field guide if you are serious about birding. The illustrations are better than any other guide out there.

Dead Birds

West Nile Virus is causing some of the birds in Davis to drop dead. Crow carcasses litter the ground in some parts of Davis. (posted in 2005) Corvid populations have rebounded somewhat since then. Magpies are again flocking in south Davis. (as of 2010)

If you see a dead bird, specifically a crow, scrub jay, or magpie, please report it here:

For info on other types of Davis fauna, see the page on Davis' town wildlife.


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2006-01-13 11:38:30   "Crow carcasses litter the ground"??? Where would that be? —AlphaDog

Try the area near The Domes and the human resources building near campusMatthewTom

2007-02-14 20:21:05   I've seen a cormorant (type unknown) sunning itself on the shore of Lake Spafford the past two days in a row. I'll try to get a pic up soon. —LeonardMarque

2007-04-02 17:41:29   I have many pics of the cormorants from the Arboretum and also of just about every other feathered species mentioned on the wiki (amateur wildlife photographer with a special interest in birds) except the swifts and owls. You can see it on my person page. Perhaps some of these pictures might be useful for birds that have unclear or absent photographs? —CaitlinMorrow

  • Would you look at the current (2010) bird pages and see if you good close photos of any of those species to add? Thanks. I love your cormorants! —LoisRichter

2010-07-19 15:09:20   This hasn't been touched in a while. I'm going to have to update and invigorate this page! Davis and the surrounding area is a wonderful place for birding. :) —Adalwolf

2011-05-20 09:34:49   We have a Sandhill Crane walking along the slough in our field west of the Yolo County Airport this morning. Never seen one here before.