than 300 species of birds have been recorded in the Anza-Borrego region.
Many of these birds, like the Swainson's Hawk, are here only briefly each year,
during their seasonal migration. But Anza-Borrego's wide range of
elevations, from close to sea level in the east to 6,200 feet in the mountain
peaks, has created a great diversity of habitat. The photo gallery
does not include all of these species, but it does show many of the more common
ones, along with the wide variety of birds that live here.
The roadrunner is most likely seen running in spurts across the open
desert or darting across a roadway as you drive along. You are
most likely to see roadrunners close to human habitation, where things
are green, and where the roadrunner is mostly likely to find something
Although the Roadrunner can fly short distances, it prefers staying on
the ground, and can hit speeds of up to 15 miles per hour. The
Roadrunner is a fearless predator, and feeds on insects, small birds,
lizards, mammals, and small snakes, including rattlesnakes.
The Phainopepla is a striking bird; the male a shiny black, and both
males and females have very distinctive red eyes.
The Phainopepla eats insects, berries, seeds, fruits, and vegetables.
This bird has a specialized mechanism for more efficient digestion of
small fruits and berries. It has a gizzard that removes the skin from
berries so the skins and can be digested separately from the rest of
The Swainson's Hawk is a
long-distance traveler, spending the winter months as far away as
Argentina, and then returning each year to their breeding grounds in
western North America. Large numbers of Swainson's Hawks can be
seen here each year during the peak migration period; generally from
late February until early April.
This hawk is a beautiful
sight to behold around Borrego Springs as it peacefully glides on
updrafts against the clear blue sky.
There are several species
of hummingbirds that are commonly seen in Anza-Borrego, Costa's
Hummingbird, Anna's Hummingbird, and the Black-chinned Hummingbird.
These smallest of birds are most likely to be seen near clusters of
brightly colored flowers, as they dart about feeding on the nectar.
Many people put hummingbird feeders around their homes and the feeders
can become so popular that some of these tiny birds will begin to
actively defend the feeder as their very own territory.
Listen: Anna's Hummingbird
The Mockingbird mimics the songs of other birds, and can have some of
the most varied and beautiful songs you will ever hear. Males will
often sing at night; so when you hear a beautiful birdsong long after
the sun goes down, there is a good chance you are hearing a
The Mockingbird eats insects and fruits and is often seen perching in
some prominent location, on the top of a bush or on a branch.
There are many different
varieties of sparrows you will see in Anza-Borrego. The White-crowned
sparrow is most common in the desert during the winter months, but it
is found year round in the state of California.
This sparrow feeds on the ground, and searches for insects, seeds,
berries, and other food items by scratching backwards with its feet.
Sparrows are often seen in small groups.
The common raven is
considered to be one of the most intelligent and inquisitive birds,
solving problems and learning by their experience. Ravens are
common throughout Anza-Borrego and lots of fun to watch. Often you
will hear the loud SWISH of it's wings as it flies overhead before you
actually see the bird. Or you might hear it's loud croaking
Ravens will eat almost anything. They are predators that will
take small animals like mice, they will eat the eggs of other birds,
insects, berries and fruit, carrion, and just about any food items
left out or thrown away by humans.