A Birder's Resources

Brown Pelican, Preening
Symbol of the Central Coast Birding Trail
Copyrighted Photo courtesy of: Jim Dunn



There are various guides and additional internet resources that you can turn to in planning your trip to the Central Coast.


A Birderís Guide to Southern California by Brad Schram, 1998.
This is the revised and updated Lane guide. It provides good detail about most of the trail sites in both Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties. It also includes detail on the Cuyama Valley and north side of the Sierra Madre Mountains. Thought not officially part of the trail, both areas provide excellent spring birding opportunities. Many of the Ventura County sites are not covered, but it does contribute good detail about Pt. Magu State Park, the Santa Clara River Estuary, McGrath State Beach and Mt. Pinos. It also includes the Oxnard Plain which is not part of the trail, yet frequently a good birding destination in the fall. (available through the ABA)

California Wildlife Viewing Guide, by Jeanne L. Clark, 1992. One of the Watchable Wildlife series, this guide provides basic information about many of the trail sites in all four counties. (available through the ABA)

Monterey Birds by Don Roberson, 2002 [2nd edition]. This guide provides birding information along with status and distribution detail for the 482 species that have been recorded in Monterey County. (available through the ABA)

Birding Northern California by John Kemper, 1999. This guide relates to sites that are mostly north of the CCBT, yet does cover many of the Monterey County locations.
(available through the ABA)

Ocean Birds of the Nearshore Pacific by Rich Stallcup, 1990. This book gives pelagic birders insight and information on the offshore birds of the Pacific Coast. (available through the ABA)

Great Birding Trips of the West, by Joan Easton Lentz, 1989 (out of print). This wonderful book has two very informative chapters that cover parts of the trail, one on southern Santa Barbara County and the other from Morro Bay to Monterey.

Where Birders Go in Southern California by Henry E. Childs, Jr., 1993 (out of print). This southern California Guide covers many of the trail sites in Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties. 

The Birds of San Luis Obispo County, California, 1996 [revised]. This little booklet provides graphs showing the abundance and habitat for the countyís 438 species.
(available through the ABA)

The Birds of Santa Barbara County by Paul Lehman, 1994. This classic work covers the status and distribution of Santa Barbara County Birds. (While out of print, copies might still be obtained from the Vertebrate Museum at the University of California Santa Barbara. Books also appear on Amazon.com.)

A Birderís Guide to the Lompoc Valley, by Gene Lynch, 1997. The first of a trio of guides for northern Santa Barbara County details 11 birding locations. (available through La Purisima Audubon)

A Birderís Guide to the Santa Maria Valley, by Gene Lynch, 2000. The second of a trio of guides for northern Santa Barbara County details 16 birding locations. (available through La Purisima Audubon)

A Birderís Guide to the Santa Ynez Valley, by Gene Lynch, 2002. The last of a trio of guides for northern Santa Barbara County details 11 birding locations. (available through La Purisima Audubon)

Birding the Nipomo Mesa, by Corrine Ardoin, 2000. This guide is informative for the mesa area of southern San Luis Obispo County. (available through La Purisima Audubon)

An Album of the Birds of Rancho Nipomo Dana Adobe, by Corrine Ardoin, 2002. The Dana Adobe dates to the 1840s. Beyond the historical interest, the adobe grounds attract numerous bird species. (available through La Purisima Audubon)


ďBirding on DoD Lands: Vandenberg Air Force Base, California,Ē by Ken Hollinga and Chris Eberly, Winging It, May 2003. The author notes that VAFB occupies 98,000 acres of prime coastal real estate that is situated between two of the nationís top ten Christmas Counts [Santa Barbara and Morro Bay]. 

ďBirder-friendly California,Ē by Nancy Stevens Brown, Birderís World, October 2001. This article examines the birding opportunities at two of the missions along El Camino Real, La Purisima [Santa Barbara County] and San Antonio de Padua [Monterey County].

The annual January issue of the ABAís NT Winging It provides the schedule for pelagic trips throughout North America including Ventura, Santa Barbara and Monterey.


Through the Seasons: An Introduction to the Seabirds and Marine Mammals of Monterey Bay. This Les Lieurance and Debra Shearwater 1994 video is an informative and basic guide for pelagic birding on Monterey Bay. (available through Shearwater Journeys)

Life at the Oceanís Edge: The Western Snowy Plover and the California Least Tern. This Tony Sehgal award-winning video [in both DVD or video cassette format] documents the natural history of these two threatened Central Coast species. (available through La Purisima Audubon)


SLOCOBIRDING is a birding group for reporting sightings and discussing the birds of San Luis Obispo County. To subscribe: slocobirding-subscribe@yahoogroups.com 
Members can view the archives at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/slocobirding/ 

SBCOBIRDING is a birding group for reporting sightings and discussing the birds of Santa Barbara County. To subscribe: sbcobirding-subscribe@yahoogroups.com 
Members can view the archives at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sbcobirding/ 

VENTURACOBIRDING is a birding group for reporting sightings and discussing the birds of Ventura County. To subscribe: venturacobirding-subscribe@yahoogroups.com 
Members can view the archives at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/venturacobirding/

There is no comparable site for Monterey County.

Searching for Californiaís Seabird Specialties by Mitch Heindel. This informative brief relates pelagic birds that can be encountered on trips from Santa Barbara, Ventura and Los Angeles. http://www.surfbirds.com/Features/socalpelagics0901.html


The Santa Barbara County trail brochure is free upon request from the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce, 614 South Broadway, Santa Maria, CA 93454
[805-925-2403] or [800-331-3779}

For the other brochures, contact the local Audubon Chapters in Ventura, San Luis Obispo and Monterey Counties.



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Most recently updated: 30 June 2004 .