Hundreds of native birds call Orange County home year-round, but there are also many migratory species drawn to the warmer Mediterranean climate of the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks. The variety of migratory birds in the Landmarks is incredibly diverse, due in part to the number of unique habitats found here.
International Migratory Bird Day, on May 14, celebrates these birds and highlights conservation efforts made to protect them and the habitats they need to thrive. First started in 1993 and now coordinated by the nonprofit Environment for the Americas, the day is celebrated in Canada, the U.S., Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean.
- Adopt a Canyon – Agua Chinon Stewardship (Tuesday, 5/17): Come listen to the song of the black-headed grosbeak – one of the latest migratory birds to be seen in Agua Chinon – while giving back to the land. Remove invasive weeds and plant native seedlings on a weekday morning, an ideal quiet time to see and hear birds.
- Be a Friend to the Cactus Wren (Friday, 5/20): Simple things like weeding greatly improve habitat for the threatened coastal cactus wren. Help this native bird while enjoying the scenery along Mule Deer Trail in the City of Irvine Open Space Preserve.
- Better Birding Basics: Migrating Birds (Tuesday, 5/24): Embark on an easy walk in Orchard Hills around an avocado orchard, where the extra moisture from irrigation attracts many migratory birds. Visitors will look for birds while learning how to identify rare species often only seen during this time of year.
- The Birds of Limestone Canyon (Sunday, 5/28): Those new to birding can explore the beautiful oak woodlands of Limestone Canyon and learn more about birds seen in the Landmarks.
Visitors to the Landmarks can also look and listen for birds while enjoying self-guided access in Buck Gully and the City of Irvine’s Bommer Canyon. Enjoy a solitary birding walk at your own pace along designated trails open daily from dawn to dusk (click on the location titles for more information). Make sure to bring binoculars, field guides, and a checklist of local species and migratory birds to make identification easier. You can also print and bring along a copy of the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks Birds Field Guidefor pictures of native birds commonly seen in the Landmarks.
All guided programs on the Landmarks listed above are free with pre-registration, which closes 4 p.m. the day prior to each activity. Minors must be accompanied by a parent or adult guardian. For more information on these events or to register, click the titles above or search for more upcoming programs at LetsGoOutside.org/activities.