Birds at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve
Shown on this page are some of the birds commonly seen or heard near the Lodge. All these birds are in the park the year round. All photographs are copyrighted by Dr. Gary Grantham and others.
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) Wing spread is about four feet, and it soars in circular pattern; round white tail with reddish tinge; light-colored breast, broad band of streaking across belly; nest is a platform of sticks in trees.
California Quail (Lophortyx califomicus) Small, plump, grayish birds with short black plume growing forward from crown; nest is a grass-lined hollow on ground.
Anna’s Hummingbird (Calypte anna) Red crown, red throat; only hummingbird found in California in mid-winter; nest is a tiny lichen-covered cup in brush or tree.
Scrub Jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens) No crest on head; head, wings, and tail are blue; back is pale brownish; in flight often pitches down slopes in long shallow curves; nest is a twiggy bowl in bush or low tree.
Wrentit (Chhamaea fasciata) Long rounded, slightly cocked tail and streaked brownish breast, with white eye; nest is a compact cup in a low bush.
Common Bushtit (Psaltriparus minimus) Very small plain birds that move from bush to tree in straggling flocks; constantly conversing; gray back, pale underparts; stubby bill and longish tail; nest is a long woven pouch in bush and tree.
Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) Large white patches on wings and tail; nest is a rootlet-lined cup in bush or dense tree.
California Towhee (Pipilo fuscus) Formerly known as the Brown Towhee, this bird has pale rusty color under tail and streaked buffy throat; dull gray-brown back with long dark tail; the nest is a cup in bush or tree.
Spotted Towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus) Formerly known as the Rufous Sided Towhee, this bird is found rummaging among dead leaves; head and upper parts black, crown of white spots on back and wings; sides robin-red, belly white; a loose cup on ground or in low bush forms the nest.
California Thrasher (Toxostoma redivivum) A large dull gray-brown bird with pale cinnamon belly and undertail; nest is a twiggy cup in brush.
Mourning Dove (Zenaidura macroura) Pointed tail bordered with large white spots; brown, slim-shaped body; nest is a flimsy twig platform in tree, shrub, or on the ground.
Common Raven (Corvus corax) Larger than a crow, the raven has a wedge shaped tail, and is not inclined to fly in flocks like crows. These birds are commonly seen soaring on the updrafts along the beach cliffs and in the canyons of Torrey Pines. They are acrobats and sometimes perform barrel rolls!
Red-Shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus) This hawk has strong black and white bands on its tail, and rusty undersides. In flight, a translucent “window” can be seen at the base of the primary feathers on the wing.