South Coast Botanic Garden has been a great location to bird watch with the Palos Verdes and South Bay Audubon Society leading a bird watching event the second Sunday of every month. While we may not be able to host the docent-led tours at the Garden right now it remains an idyllic location for bird watching with the chance to see dozens of species (more on that below).

Robin Kirk is, a docent at the Garden, recently went bird watching at the Garden and had this to say: “It took about 15 minutes to shift gears. Once I settled down, I was in a different reality where only bird song and bird sightings mattered. I became enveloped in an amazing peaceful world. I was looking for bird friends and I found them. I left the garden reluctantly so relaxed and at peace. I felt connected again to the beautiful natural world.”

If you’re new to bird watching at the Garden, Robin and Palos Verdes/South Bay Audubon Society President David Quadhamer provide tips on how to make the most of the experience. They’ve also helped us compiled a list of bird species that have been spotted at the Garden so you can keep your eyes peeled! 

Tips from David Quadhamer:

  • Bring binoculars if you have them
  • Bring a bird book or download a birding app
  • Find a place to stop and then scan your surroundings
  • Birds can be soaring in the sky, perched in a tree, looking for berries or flowers in a tree or shrub, or on the ground looking for seeds and insects
  • Don’t forget to listen for birds too
  • Repeat

Additional tips from docent Robin Kirk:

  • Time of day makes a big difference
  • Birds are most active early morning and sunset when it’s cooler

What you might see (and in some cases where you can find them) in the Garden: 

  • Western Bluebird on the Esplanade at their bird box in the Coral Tree
  • Bushtits in low trees on the Promenade, American Crows cruising everywhere
  • CA Towhee in the low shrubs above the Pine Forest
  • A few Allen’s and Anna’s hummingbirds at the Mexican Sage across from the Rose Garden (early morning and after 5 p.m. is the best time to see them)
  • Black Phoebe in Sakura Meadow
  • Red-shouldered hawks soaring above Arizona Crossing and Lake
  • Olive-sided Flycatcher in top branches of trees at Arizona Crossing
  • Song Sparrows in the Volunteer Garden
  • There are one or two Black-chinned Hummingbirds (they have nested in the Garden in previous years but the Allen’s and Anna’s are more common)
  • Hooded Orioles
  • Bullock’s Orioles
  • Red-tailed Hawks
  • Spotted Towhees
  • California Scrub-Jays
  • Western Tanagers
  • Warbling Vireos
  • Black-headed Grosbeaks
  • Downy Woodpeckers

We hope to have our docent-led bird watching tours back soon, but until then we hope this is enough information for you to make the most of your next trip to the Garden!

To help support the Garden during these times, please consider making a donation. You can do so here.