More than 150 species of birds live in or visit the Gardens each year, making it one of the best birding spots on the coast. Download the Mendocino Coast Audubon Society Field Checklist of Birds of the Gardens, or pick one up at the entrance. The Gardens includes 47 acres that extend west to the Pacific Ocean. The Mendocino Coast Audubon Society leads two walks a month at the Gardens; their Beginners’ Bird Walk is the first Saturday, their Early Birders Walk is the third Wednesday. Birders with all levels of experience enjoy these guided walks, binoculars are available for those who need them, and the walks are free with paid admission or gardens membership. Facilities include public toilets, patio tables, seasonal café, gift shop, plant nursery plus water and treats for on-leash dogs.
Walk out to the headlands and scan for Canada Goose, Brant, Surf Scoter, White-winged Scoter, Red-breasted Merganser, Red-throated, Pacific and Common Loons. Western Grebe are common, Horned and Eared Grebe are fairly common while Red-necked Grebe are rare but have been seen (except in the Spring). Brown Pelican; Brandt’s, Double-Crested and Pelagic Cormorants; Great Blue Heron; Great Egret and Black Oystercatcher are common as well.
Other familiar birds of the Gardens include: Cedar Waxwings, Wild Turkeys, California Quail, Osprey, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Red-shouldered Hawk, American Kestrel, Anna’s Hummingbird, Allen’s Hummingbird, Belted Kingfisher, Acorn Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, and Pygmy Nuthatch. You might see a Northern Pygmy Owl, but they are rare in the Gardens, as are Pileated Woodpecker, Purple Martin, Hermit Warbler and Red Crossbill.
Watch for a variety of finches, warblers and sparrows throughout; watch the rocky shores for Black Turnstone, Surfbird, and an assortment of gulls.
Best Time for Viewing: Morning and Late Afternoon
Best Months and Seasons for Viewing: Spring and Fall
ADA Accessibility Notes
The varied habit makes it a hot birding spot; the accessibly makes it an easy spot to bird for people with limited mobility. The Gardens loans 4 electric scooters to visitors for free, on a first-come, first served basis; what’s more, most paths are wheelchair accessible.
Pet Friendly Notes
Dogs are welcome on-leash.
For More Information, Contact:
Mendocino Coast Audubon Society
P.O. Box 2297, Fort Bragg, CA 95437