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Wednesday, 08 November 2017 12:42

Birding in Greater Palm Springs

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Owl rests at Coachella Wild Bird Center Owl rests at Coachella Wild Bird Center

TASTE News Service, November 8, 2017 -- Bird watching continues to take flight with an estimated 47 million birders in the United States.

If you're one of them, bring your binoculars and cameras to Greater Palm Springs, one of the country's prime bird watching destinations with a wide variety of fascinating bird species and diverse habitats. The Southern California desert is part of the Pacific Flyway, a major north-south migratory route that sees at least a billion birds traveling from nesting to wintering territory.

The nonprofit Coachella Valley Wild Bird Center in Indio is an ideal place—for all ages—to begin a Greater Palm Springs bird watching excursion. Open to the public and free of charge, the Center cares for and rehabilitates sick or injured wild birds to return to their natural habitats.

For birding and nature enthusiasts, there's much to see at The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens in Palm Desert, recently ranked one of 10 Best Zoos in the U.S. by Conde Nast Traveler. Spot Golden Eagles in Eagle Canyon, stroll the walk-through aviary, and visit the Tennity Wildlife Hospital Center & Conservation Center, which ministers to a variety of animals including winged creatures. The much-anticipated Lorikeets – Winged Wonders exhibit, where visitors can get up close and personal with this colorful parrot species, recently opened.

An internationally renowned birding site, The Big Morongo Canyon Preserve (located only 25 minutes from Palm Springs) features more than 250 species of birds, including several rare types, amid 31,000 acres of stunning and diverse terrain. Be sure to take the Marsh Trail, an easy, panoramic hike on a winding boardwalk that allows access to a busy breeding area for birds.

When Sunnylands Center & Gardens in Rancho Mirage is not playing host to world leaders on retreat, this top Greater Palm Springs attraction offers a full slate of activities within its spectacular facility and surrounding gardens, including a popular weekly Bird Tour with College of the Desert Natural Resources Professor Kurt Leuschner.

For a bird watching experience like none other, head to the Sonny Bono Salton Sea Wildlife Refuge, a major habitat for migrating waterfowl like Canada Geese, Eared Grebes, and Pintails; endangered species such as the Bald Eagle and Peregrine Falcon; shorebirds and other varieties. More than 375 bird species have been recorded in the region; November through May are the best months for Salton Sea birding.

About Greater Palm Springs, California

Greater Palm Springs is comprised of nine distinctive cities: Palm Springs, Desert Hot Springs, Cathedral City, Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert, Indian Wells, La Quinta, Indio and Coachella.


Editor’s note: If you’re thinking of visiting this area, first visit the Deserts sections of Taste California Travel’s Resource Directory where you will find links to the websites of hundreds of Lodging and Dining options.

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