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Where the birds are...
From mountainous backcountry and semidesert scrub, to coastal wetlands and rocky coastline, Santa Barbara County boasts a rich diversity of birdlife throughout. Positioned along the Pacific Flyway migration route, a large number of land and seabirds migrate through this portion of western North America each spring and fall. Endemic species unique to the continent are also found in the region, and seasonal rarities are annually seen at several coastal migrant traps and in offshore waters.
The pages in this online bird finding guide generally follows the four “ornithological districts" published in Paul Lehman's, "The Birds of Santa Barbara County, California" (UCSB, 1994) (BOSBC >>). These districts align with the geographic topography of Santa Barbara County and include: Coastal Plain (divided North and South), Interior Lowlands, Mountains, and the Cuyama Valley. Also included in this online guide is a page on pelagic birding and access to the Channel Islands.
This guide follows a north to south, west to east layout and includes directions and map links. US 101 and exit numbers are listed as a point of reference when directions are provided. You will find many of the better birding sites known to locals in this guide along with a short list of some of the expected and more unusual bird species that have been found at each. Additional information is now available through eBird by exploring species maps, Hotspots, and recent checklists. Visit the sbcobirding web page devoted specifically to county eBird information HERE >>
There are many more places to explore within the county. Places yet to be discovered. You can make contributions to this guide by sharing information about other great birding sites. Additions or updates are requested as conditions and access changes over time. Please send any updates to the webmaster.
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