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Best Bird Watching in Imperial Beach

Home to 370 species of birds

Imperial Beach is described as the one of the best places to watch birds in coastal Southern California.

During spring and fall migration, Imperial Beach plays host to thousands of shorebirds, waterfowl and neotropical birds traveling along the Pacific Flyway stopping to forage on the beach and in protected wetlands.

Among the best bird watching areas along coastal Southern California, Imperial Beach is home to 370 species of birds.

In addition to spring and fall migrations, summer brings a rare combination of colonial nesting seabirds, like Black Skimmers and Gull-billed Terns, to the South Bay, while migratory songbirds nest within the adjacent river valleys. Even the winter months provide opportunities for observing wintering waterfowl, shorebirds and raptors. Resident species such as the endangered Light-footed Clapper Rail, and a number of shorebirds, wading birds and songbirds can be observed throughout the year.

Coastal vegetation is best viewed in the winter and spring when indigenous plants such as beach evening primrose and red sand verbena cover the dune habitat with color and deerweed, sage, lemonadeberry and sumac fill native plant gardens and the natural upland habitats with the scents of spring. If you are really lucky, you may come across a stand of rare salt marsh bird’s beak.

Where to Watch

  • Tijuana Estuary Visitor Center
  • Living Coast Discovery Center
  • Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve
  • Tijuana Slough National Wildlife Refuge
  • Seacoast Drive, 301 Caspian Way, Southern End
  • Tijuana River Valley Regional Park
  • Dairy Mart Pond Ecological Reserve
  • Imperial Beach Pier
  • San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge (7th Street, 8th Street, and 13th Street, Northern End and Biological Study Area)

 


 

Before starting your bird watching adventure, check out our printable brochure with a map of the bird watching locations.

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