sbcobirding receives the generous support of the
Santa Barbara Audubon Society. For more than
50 years SBAS has helped to preserve the
biological diversity of the Santa Barbara area.
This website was created as a resource for everything birding in Santa Barbara County. The goal is
simply to promote the activity of field birding in the county and to provide information to interested
birders. If you have comments about this website or would like more information about local birding,
please contact me.
A Birder’s Guide to Santa Barbara County
Where the birds are…
Santa Barbara County boasts a rich diversity of bird life throughout. There are
many places to explore. Places yet to be discovered.
From mountainous back-country and semi-desert scrub, to coastal wetlands and rocky coastline, Santa Barbara County boasts a rich diversity of
bird life throughout. Positioned along the Pacific Flyway migration route, numerous land and sea birds 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.
This online birder’s guide is centered around the four “ornithological districts" in Paul Lehman's, "The Birds of Santa Barbara County, California."
These districts align with the geographic topography of the county and include: Coastal Plain (divided North and South in this guide), Interior
Lowlands, Mountains, and the Cuyama Valley. Also included here is a page on pelagic birding and access to the Channel Islands. This guide follows a
north to south, west to east layout. You will find several of the better birding sites known to locals described here. There is also a wealth of
information available through eBird. Be sure to explore the numerous eBird Hotspots located around the sites listed in this guide, including detailed
hotspot descriptions available through the county birdinghotspots.org project.
There are many more places to explore within the county. Places yet to be discovered. You can make contributions by sharing information about
other great birding sites or suggesting new eBird Hotspots through checklist submissions. Additions or updates are requested as habitat, conditions
and access may change over time or due to seasonal closures. Please send any updates to the webmaster.
sbcobirding © copyright 2023
Includes nearshore waters, sandy beaches, rocky
coastline, estuaries, dune scrub, and coastal foothills.
Vandenberg SFB comprises much of the north coast.
Population centers include the cities of Santa Maria,
Guadalupe, and Lompoc
INTERIOR & MOUNTAINS
Interior lowlands are characterized by oak savanna,
grasslands, riparian woodlands, vineyards, oak covered
foothills, montane coniferous forest. Lake Cachuma is the
largest freshwater lake. Towns include Buellton, Los
Olivos, Solvang, and Santa Ynez
From Pt. Conception east to Rincon Pt. Includes
nearshore waters, coastal bluffs, sandy beaches, sloughs
and estuaries, foothill canyons, county and city parks.
Population centers include the cities of Goleta, Santa
Barbara, Montecito, and Carpinteria
An arid, semi-desert region characterized by foothills,
canyons and grassland along the length of the Sierra
Madre Range, pinyon pine and juniper woodland,
sagebrush, extensive agriculture areas of alfalfa,
pistachios, and vineyards on the valley floor
The following key symbols are used on each guide page:
sp | su | fa | wi
Best seasons for observing the greatest variety of birds
(spring, summer, fall, or winter)
Map icon takes you to the eBird Hotspot map. Many
surrounding Hotspots may be worth exploring. These
are indicated by +
eBird Hotspot link for the described location. You can
search all species and recent sightings from this eBird
Hotspot. Often there are multiple Hotspots in an area
The location has either a day use, camping, entrance or
parking fee associated with it
Includes the northern Channel Islands of San Miguel,
Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz, and Santa Barbara Island in the
southern Channel Islands. Offshore waters including the
Santa Barbara Channel. Rocky coastline, coves
and anchorages, grasslands, and island chaparral
Discover great birding on the California coast
latest county rarities