The birds at Daley Ranch are representative of almost any coastal sage scrub/soft chaparral plant community in Southern California. The Ranch is certainly large enough at over 3000 acres, with diverse terrain and proximity to fresh water at Dixon Lake, to support a wide variety of resident species. Daley Ranch is also close to Escondido, of course, so you'll probably also see birds that are typically more associated with urban environments (especially around the Dixon Lake picnic areas!).

Birds are known to be very active and usually furtive creatures, and rarely allow the courtesy of posing for photographs. Hence, when you suffer with a digital camera with moderately-mediocre zoom capabilities -- such as mine -- you normally don't get the opportunities for many high-quality close-ups. (Full disclosure: my photographic deficiencies are almost entirely my own, as I often forget to go out with fully-charge batteries, and haven't taken the time to really learn how to use all of the features of my camera.) Nevertheless, hover your mouse over the images below to see more of the few photos I've managed to shoot!
Notes about the entries on the Birds pages (see the Sub Menu at right):
  • The recordings of the bird calls were assembled by Frank T. Awbrey. The clips were originally edited by James Dillane, with further editing by Rob Mustard. The clips were pulled from Frank's Southern California Coastal Sage & Chaparral Birds CD-ROM, which was produced by Rob's Featherbrain Productions (no connection to the keeper of this web site). The CD-ROM was also distributed by Rick's Tours.
  • Additional recordings for the "unavailable" entries would be greatly appreciated!
  • Photos were provided with the courtesy of the photographers (all of whom I am insanely jealous of) via Wikimedia Commons and are public domain and/or open access via Creative Commons agreements. See the caption with each photo for complete details.
  • Photos of Daley Ranch resident birds would also be greatly appreciated!
Want to experience the sounds of Daley Ranch? When you go to one of the Birds pages, just scroll down the list and click on ALL of the MP3 players at once! You'll hear the chorus of the birds, just like you were out on the trails!
The 75 species featured on the following pages represent native birds, non-native invaders, plus a few transients...
Care to download a checklist of the common birds at Daley Ranch? Click the Download Now at right!

Checklist (PDF)

Birds of Daley Ranch
California Ground Squirrel
Spermophilus beecheyi
Okay, technically not a bird... Their call, however, can be confusing if you haven't become familiar with them!
By Howcheng (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
What's your favorite reference for the Birds of Southern California? Sibley's? Audubon? Peterson's? Any good iPod/iPhone/iPad or Android apps you want to share? Do you use a pocket guide? Please let me know what you use -- I'll add it to the list!