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Birds on Campus

Southern California is an area rich in diversity. It has a diverse array of habitat communities, including deserts, mountains, woodlands, riparian forests, chaparral and sage scrub, marshes, lakes and rivers, and the ocean. These communities, combined with the relatively mild climate, make southern California home to a wide variety and abundance of plants and animals, including birds (and of course people). California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB) is located on the coastal slope of southern California at the base of the San Bernardino Mountains. The campus itself is well-landscaped with lawns and trees that are attractive to birds that have adapted to human habitation, while the areas immediately surrounding campus harbor interior coastal sage scrub and chaparral that provide refuge to many of our native species.

The following list represents all the bird species that I have seen on campus since I started birding the area in 2002. As of September 2016, I have recorded 173 species on or immediately adjacent to the CSUSB campus (see map). The main list below lists each bird's common name and the likelihood of seeing it on campus. Each common name provides a link to a web page with more detailed information on each species, including a photograph, a more detailed explanation of its status on campus and in the general area, identification tips, and links to more information. High counts and average counts are also included for regularly occurring species to provide readers with an idea of their abundance on campus. The High Count reflects the maximum number of indivduals seen in a single day, while the Average Count gives an estimate of the number of individuals one might expect to see on a typical day. You can also visit the CSU San Bernardino eBird hotspot page, which provides links to bar charts on seasonal distribution, checklists, and recent sightings.

In the main list below, an asterisk (*) indicates that the species is known to have bred or attempted to nest on campus. A dagger (†) indicates that the species probably or potentially breeds on campus but nesting evidence has not been recorded. The following definitions should be used when reading the bird list:

Status Definitions
Status Likelihood of Sighting
Common Likely to be seen at least 50% of the time
Uncommon Likely to be seen less than 50% of the time
Rare Seldom seen, but occurs regularly
Casual Less than one individual/occurrence per year on average

 

Season Definitions
Season Months
Fall September-November
Winter December-February
Spring March-May
Summer June-August

Note that the status refers to the likelihood of seeing a particular species, not the species' abundance on campus. For example, the Black Phoebe is a common year-round resident on campus: you might see only 5-10 birds while walking around campus, but you should see this species on almost every visit. Alternatively, you might see Horned Larks on campus only a few times per year, but when you do it could be a flock of 100 birds. The CSUSB campus comprises a relatively small area, so except for a few flocking species (e.g., blackbirds, sparrows, finches) you should not expect to see large numbers of individuals of any single species.

Geese & Ducks

Canada Goose - Casual, Winter
Cinnamon Teal - Casual
Gadwall - Casual
American Wigeon - Casual
Mallard* - Uncommon, Year-Round
Northern Pintail - Casual
Canvasback - Casual
Redhead - Casual
Lesser Scaup - Casual
Bufflehead - Rare, Winter
Hooded Merganser - Casual
Ruddy Duck - Casual

Quails & Grebes

California Quail † - Uncommon, Year-Round
Pied-billed Grebe* - Rare, Year-Round

Pigeons & Cuckoos

Rock Pigeon† - Common, Year-Round
Band-tailed Pigeon† - Uncommon, Year-Round
Mourning Dove* - Common, Year-Round
Greater Roadrunner* - Rare, Year-Round

Nightjars, Swifts, & Hummingbirds

Lesser Nighthawk - Casual
Vaux's Swift - Rare, Fall and Spring
White-throated Swift† - Rare, Fall and Spring
Black-chinned Hummingbird* - Uncommon, Summer and Spring
Anna's Hummingbird* - Common, Year-Round
Costa's Hummingbird* - Common, Year-Round
Rufous Hummingbird - Rare, Spring
Allen's Hummingbird† - Rare, Year-Round

Rails, Shorebirds, & Gulls

Virginia Rail - Casual
Sora - Casual
American Coot* - Rare, Year-Round
American Avocet - Casual
Killdeer* - Common
Least Sandpiper - Rare, Winter and Spring
Wilson's Snipe - Casual
Greater Yellowlegs - Rare, Fall, Winter and Spring
Ring-billed Gull - Casual
California Gull - Uncommon, Fall, Winter and Spring

Cormorants, Pelicans, & Herons

Great Blue Heron - Rare, Year-Round
Great Egret - Casual
Snowy Egret - Rare, Year-Round
Green Heron - Casual

Vultures & Hawks

Turkey Vulture - Rare, Spring
Osprey - Casual
Northern Harrier - Casual
Cooper's Hawk† - Uncommon, Year-Round
Swainson's Hawk - Casual
Red-tailed Hawk* - Common, Year-Round
Golden Eagle - Casual

Owls & Kingfishers

Barn Owl - Casual
Great Horned Owl* - Rare, Year-Round

Woodpeckers

Acorn Woodpecker - Casual
Red-breasted Sapsucker - Rare, Fall and Winter
Nuttall's Woodpecker* - Uncommon, Year-Round
Northern Flicker - Common, Fall, Winter and Spring

Falcons & Parrots

American Kestrel† - Common, Year-Round
Merlin - Rare, Fall and Winter
Peregrine Falcon - Casual

Flycatchers

Gray Flycatcher - Casual
Black Phoebe* - Common, Year-Round
Say's Phoebe* - Common, Year-Round
Vermilion Flycatcher* - Common, Year-Round
Ash-throated Flycatcher† - Uncommon, Summer and Spring
Cassin's Kingbird* - Common, Year-Round
Western Kingbird* - Common, Summer and Spring

Shrikes, Vireos, & Jays

Loggerhead Shrike - Rare, Fall, Winter and Spring
Plumbeous Vireo - Casual
Cassin's Vireo - Casual
Warbling Vireo - Rare, Fall and Spring
California Scrub-Jay* - Uncommon, Year-Round
American Crow† - Uncommon, Year-Round
Common Raven† - Common, Year-Round

Larks & Swallows

Horned Lark - Rare, Year-Round
Tree Swallow - Casual
Violet-green Swallow - Rare, Fall and Spring
Northern Rough-winged Swallow* - Common, Summer and Spring
Cliff Swallow* - Common, Summer and Spring
Barn Swallow† - Uncommon, Summer and Spring

Chickadees, Wrens, etc.

Mountain Chickadee - Uncommon, Fall and Winter
Oak Titmouse - Uncommon, Fall and Winter
Bushtit* - Uncommon, Year-Round
White-breasted Nuthatch - Rare, Fall and Winter
Brown Creeper - Casual
Rock Wren - Uncommon, Fall, Winter and Spring
House Wren - Common, Fall, Winter and Spring
Marsh Wren - Casual
Bewick's Wren† - Common, Year-Round
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher* - Uncommon, Year-Round
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - Common, Fall, Winter and Spring
Wrentit† - Uncommon, Year-Round

Thrushes & Thrashers

Western Bluebird* - Common, Year-Round
Hermit Thrush - Rare, Fall, Winter and Spring
American Robin* - Common, Year-Round
California Thrasher† - Uncommon, Year-Round
Sage Thrasher - Casual
Northern Mockingbird* - Common, Year-Round

Starlings, Pipits, etc.

European Starling* - Common, Year-Round
Cedar Waxwing - Uncommon, Fall, Winter and Spring
Phainopepla* - Uncommon, Summer and Spring
House Sparrow* - Common, Year-Round
American Pipit - Uncommon, Winter and Spring

Finches

House Finch* - Common, Year-Round
Red Crossbill - Casual
Pine Siskin - Casual
Lesser Goldfinch* - Common, Year-Round
Lawrence's Goldfinch* - Common, Summer and Spring
American Goldfinch* - Common, Year-Round

Sparrows

Spotted Towhee† - Common, Year-Round
Rufous-crowned Sparrow* - Common, Year-Round
California Towhee* - Uncommon, Year-Round
Chipping Sparrow - Common, Fall, Winter and Spring
Black-chinned Sparrow† - Casual
Brewer's Sparrow - Casual
Vesper Sparrow - Uncommon, Fall, Winter and Spring
Lark Sparrow* - Common, Year-Round
Bell's Sparrow* - Uncommon, Year-Round
Savannah Sparrow - Uncommon, Fall, Winter and Spring
Grasshopper Sparrow† - Casual
Fox Sparrow - Casual
Song Sparrow† - Uncommon, Year-Round
Lincoln's Sparrow - Uncommon, Fall and Spring
White-crowned Sparrow - Common, Fall, Winter and Spring
Golden-crowned Sparrow - Uncommon, Fall, Winter and Spring
Dark-eyed Junco - Common, Fall, Winter and Spring

Chats & Blackbirds

Western Meadowlark - Uncommon, Fall, Winter and Spring
Hooded Oriole* - Uncommon, Summer and Spring
Bullock's Oriole* - Common, Summer and Spring
Red-winged Blackbird† - Uncommon, Year-Round
Brown-headed Cowbird* - Common, Summer and Spring
Brewer's Blackbird* - Common, Year-Round
Great-tailed Grackle - Rare, Fall, Summer and Spring

Warblers

Orange-crowned Warbler - Common, Fall, Winter and Spring
Nashville Warbler - Rare, Fall and Spring
MacGillivray's Warbler - Rare, Fall and Spring
Common Yellowthroat† - Uncommon, Year-Round
Yellow Warbler - Common, Fall and Spring
Yellow-rumped Warbler - Common, Fall, Winter and Spring
Black-throated Gray Warbler - Uncommon, Fall and Spring
Hermit Warbler - Casual
Wilson's Warbler - Uncommon, Fall and Spring

Grosbeaks & Buntings

Western Tanager - Uncommon, Fall and Spring
Black-headed Grosbeak - Uncommon, Summer and Spring
Blue Grosbeak* - Common, Summer and Spring
Lazuli Bunting* - Common, Summer and Spring
Indigo Bunting - Casual