Birdwatching in the Coachella Valley

A Quail near Whitewater Preserve.

Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy the numerous locations for wildlife viewing in the California Desert areas.  The Coachella Valley, in the Southern California Desert, has several locations that are excellent for birdwatching.  Any preserve or park that has a palm oases or natural spring will present excellent wildlife viewing opportunities.  The birds use the palm trees as shelters and to nest.  Where there are palms trees there is a water source.  The early morning and evening hours are when you will see the most activity at these locations.

Below are links to locations in or near the Coachella Valley that are known birdwatching areas.  Also included in the links are related articles about each area and links to birds common to the desert region.

Living Desert Overview
Butterflies & Hummers at the Living Desert

Coachella Valley Preserve

Indian Canyons, Palm Springs 

Palm Springs: It’s not just a hike, its a time machine
Wildflower Hike & Bird Watching at Indian Canyons: Andreas Canyon & Murray Canyon 
Hiking Tahquitz Canyon

Salton Sea National Recreation Area

Salton Sea NRA Overview
Bird Watching at the Salton Sea Wildlife Refuge
A Three Part Series:  Salton Sea, Salvation Mountain and Slab City (Part 1 has bird photos)

Joshua Tree National Park
Joshua Tree NP Overview
Cottonwood Springs at Joshua Tree National Park  

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park 

ABDSP Overview

Coyote Canyon is a Riparian habitat where birds are abundant (requires 4WD)
Yaqui Well is a bird watchers paradise in ABDSP

Morongo Preserve –

Big Morongo Canyon Preserve – BLM Area

Desert Bird Species

Black-Necked Stilt
Cactus Wrens
Cliff Swallow
Curve Billed Thrasher
Gambel’s Quail
Ground Hornbill / Abyssinian Ground Hornbill
Mallard Ducks
Mourning Doves
Pheasants ring-necked
Sandhill Cranes
Western Bluebird 

Canada Geese
Mallard Ducks 

Birds of Prey 

Golden Eagle
Turkey Vulture 

– Cooper’s Hawk
– Ferruginous hawk
– Marsh Hawk
– Northern Harriers
– Sharp-shinned
– Northern Goshawks
– Red-Tailed Hawk


– Barn Owl 
– Great Horned Owls
– Long-Eared Owls
– Screech Owl


Turkey Vulture

Related Articles …

Osprey Spotted at Barr Lake State Park
Birds in the Southwest?  Follow Water.
Northern Harrier: Hawk of the Marsh
Birdwatching at the Salton Sea
Birdwatching Tips & Interesting Facts About Birds
Migration – Birds – Butterflies 


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Lynn Bremner is the author of, a blog about desert road trips and tips. She started the blog after moving to Indio, CA where she now resides. Now a true desert dweller, Lynn has added in some of her own views on desert living. The heat does not keep her indoors in the summertime. She is out running, golfing or taking short day trips to some of the local points of interest. After years of traveling along the dusty, desert trails with her father, she has come to appreciate the beauty and solitude of the desert landscape. Her father’s passion for prospecting, desert lore and exploring the desert parks took their family to many interesting places, mostly in California, Nevada and Arizona. Lynn now writes about her desert road trips and intertwines a little bit of desert living into the mix.


  1. Please let me know if you are away of any Audubon Society groups or other bird-watching groups in the Palms Springs area. I will be visiting for about six weeks beginning in March 2016. Thank you! Donna

  2. Trying to find out the name of a bird that sings during the day but also sings at night. Live in Rancho Mirage and also hear this bird at 12 and 1 am.

  3. please advise where the best birdwalks/wildflower sightings are in the palm desert area.

    I only have to March 30th this trip here but would dearly like to know locations for enjoyable sightings for now as well as next winter’s visit to this lovely area.

    Am staying right in Palm Desert so anywhere not too far away would be delightful to be aware of.


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