California Target Birds
Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why bird California? Our state list is at 635 at the moment, with more than ten birds pending. California has many different habitats available for birds, with a total of 155,973 square miles, making it the third largest state. All coastal counties have a checklist of over 400 species. California has several of the highest peaks in the lower 48 states, which are adjacent to the two of the lowest points in the northern hemisphere. The differences are more than 10,000 ft., creating many different habitats in a relatively short distance. There are many pelagic and coastal bird species seen off and along the 3,427 miles of coastline. The Pacific Flyway runs through California. Each of Southern California’s many habitats offers its own specialties. There are several specialties, including the Island Scrub-Jay, that are close to Santa Barbara. In Santa Barbara County, where I live, it is possible to visit ocean, marsh, desert and mountain habitats in one day. My friends & I get together for “Big Days” in SB Co. and have totals close to 200 species. Combining other regions of southern California, such as the Salton Sea, Eastern Sierras and the Mojave Desert, we can make your trip-list even higher.

2. What is Target Birding? Target birding is an interesting concept. Some people like to "tick and run". Some want to photograph or digiscope their birds. Some want to record bird songs. I’ve had a guest who just wanted to sketch his life-birds. I’ve had all kinds of guests and requests. We all bird for different reasons. That’s what makes life interesting. It's important for me to get a feel for your expectations. I've been doing this a long time, I can usually recognize this from our communications and your target list. Please forward your bird list to me and I'll let you know what I can do and how much time is needed. Some of these birds may be a couple hundred miles apart.

3. Why hire me to help you find southern California birds? Southern California can be intimidating to some people due to the high population and many freeways of that area. I would like to minimize your driving time, so we can spend more time in the field to get your target birds. I’ve worked daily in the field and birded southern California since 1985. To be a successful birding guide, it's necessary to know the habitats of the “specialty birds” that everyone wants to see, and to be familiar with the bird calls and songs. There are a lot of guides that like to end their days after eight hours, but I am willing to put in the extra time to get your target birds. Some people only have one day because they are vacationing with their families who don‘t have a birding interest, and some people want to spend several days in the field. I am flexible to your schedule.

4. What should I wear? Dress in layers, sunscreen, hat. We can be at 10,000 ft elevation and in two hours, be at 200 ft below sea level. Summer in the mountains can still be in the 40‘s in the morning, but the temperature can be 115 degrees at the Salton Sea. On the coast, there can be a cold brisk sea breeze any time of year.

5. What happens if it rains? It’s up to you. Rainy season is from November to early April. One April “Big Day“, I had 163 birds in the pouring rain. We can get wet, or you can cancel.

6. How many people can be in my group? 7 maximum, but I can arrange for other guides and van rentals to accommodate larger groups. For larger groups, more guides are necessary for everyone to see their birds.

7. Are children OK in the group? It’s important to expose children to nature. I encourage children to get an interest in birding and outdoor activities. But sometimes children lose interest in what is going on, and demand attention. I want to be sure the everyone can enjoy the experience.

8. Cost for children? Your children are free, but please call ahead to make arrangements.