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The Birds of Lake Hodges

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Birds are listed in rough alphabetical order.

Photographs provided by San Diego Natural History Museum, National Audubon Society, and Sea & Sage Audubon Society.

Resources -> Wildlife -> Birds of Lake Hodges -> Birds of Lake Hodges Photo Page
Acorn Woodpecker
ACORN WOODPECKER
This handsome woodpecker is a denizen of oak woodlands. Watch in the eucalyptus trees in Del Dios Park for its acorn storing activity
American Avocet
AMERICAN AVOCET
In its breeding plumage with orange head and neck it rivals the Stilt for winner of the Lake Hodges shorebird beauty contest.
American Kestrel
AMERICAN KESTREL
A small falcon that also frequently hovers in midair when scanning the landscape for prey. It nests in cavities.
Anna's Hummbingbird ANNA'S HUMMINGBIRD
This feisty little bird dominates our feeders and locally far outnumbers its related species. If we see a hummingbird, chances are it's an Anna's.
American Coot
AMERICAN COOT
One of the Lake's most conspicuous birds. They congregate along the shoreline and forage in the shallow water and on the beaches. Flying is not their strong suit. They bounce awkwardly along the surface and may give up before attaining full flight.

Belted Kingfisher
BELTED KINGFISHER

Nests in cavities in the banks of Green Valley Cr. and is likely to be seen cruising along the South Shore of Bernardo Bay. Listen for its loud rattling voice. Note that the female has the maroon neck band which the male lacks.
Black-Necked Stilt
BLACK-NECKED STILT
A handsome shorebird that raises a hubbub of squawks and agitated flight when its nesting territory is threatened. An irate Stilt is a sight to behold.
Black Phoebe
BLACK PHOEBE
This active little bird seems to be everywhere not only around the Lake, but also in our yards where it is welcomed as a major eradicator of small flying insects.

California Gnatcatcher
CALIFORNIA GNATCATCHER
The more than 2,300 acres of coastal sage scrub habitat bordering Lake Hodges supports an impressive number of breeding pairs of these Federally Listed as Threatened little birds. This large gnatcatcher population was the basis for Lake Hodges receiving Globally Important Bird Area recognition.
Bushtit
BUSHTIT
These cheery little birds move in waves through our yards as well as through open space. They are master nest builders. Their sturdy hanging nests are their trademark.
Cactus Wren
CACTUS WREN
By far the largest of the Wrens. A significant population occupies the cactus on the North Shore west of Felicita Creek. These industrious nest builders construct more nests than they use for breeding.
Cassin's Kingbird
CASSIN'S KINGBIRD
A hike between Del Dios Park and the Boat Dock is almost certain to result in the sighting of at least one Cassin's Kingbird sallying forth from the utility wires in pursuit of insects.

California Thrasher CALIFORNIA THRASHER
A handsome bird with a long curved bill often seen singing perched high on a tall bush in the uplands.
Cinnamon Teal
CINNAMON TEAL

Another shallow water dabbling duck. As is typical of ducks, the male is more striking in appearance than the female; and differentiating between females of different species is usually more difficult than sorting out the males from the females of the same species.
Cliff Swallow
CLIFF SWALLOW
This is the swallow that builds the mud nests on the Interstate 15 bridge. In flight it can be distinguished from the other local swallows by its buffy rump.
Common Yellowthroat
COMMON YELLOWTHROAT
Usually found in the reeds along the shore. There is nothing common about the appearance of the male. The black mask and yellow plumage set it apart along with its distinctive witchety witchety call.

Double Crested Cormorant
DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT
A fish-eating species often found sunning themselves with wings outstretched as they perch on dead snags in the lake. There is a large dead tree in the Lake near Del Dios where they congregate.

FORSTER'S TERN FORSTER'S TERN
The most common of several gull and tern species at Lake Hodges can be seen hovering over the Lake and diving into the water after small fish. The head markings change with the seasons and maturity.
GREAT EGRET
GREAT EGRET
Another stately fisherman that is similar in size and demeanor to the Great Blue Heron, but its pure white plumage and bright yellow beak reveal its location immediately. The slightly smaller Snowy Egret with a black beak is also a common shoreline sentinel.

GREAT BLUE HERON
GREAT BLUE HERON
This solitary fisherman has a rather ghostly appearance as it stands patiently in shallow water along the shore. It is marvelously camouflaged to appear like just another gray weather-beaten stick.
KILLDEER KILLDEER
Lays its eggs on the ground and puts on a convincing wounded bird act to lure intruders away. The Academy Award winner of Lake Hodges.
LEAST BELL'S VIREO
LEAST BELL'S VIREO
At L. Hodges this Endangered Listed little bird is found only in the riparian habitats east of I-15. It breeds here but winters in Southern Mexico and portions of Central America. None of the current River Park Trails offer good opportunities for observing Least Bell's Vireos.
LESSER GOLDFINCH
LESSER GOLDFINCH
The most common local goldfinch and is frequently seen foraging in small flocks.

MALLARD
A familiar duck that nests on shore usually near the water's edge. It is a dabbler that feeds in shallow water. Mallards hybridize rather frequently. Often strange looking hybrids are found near the boat dock.

NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD
Some people find this noisy imitator of other birds a nuisance, because it seems to delight in disturbing our sleep on summer nights with its incessant chatter. Look for this flashy aggressive bird near residential areas at the fringes of the Lake.
NORTHERN FLICKER NORTHERN FLICKER
The largest of our local woodpeckers.Typical of woodpeckers, it is a cavity nester and displays an undulating flight pattern. Notice its white rump as it bounces along through the air.
OSPREY
OSPREY
Except for the eagles this is the largest of the local raptors. It subsists almost entirely on fish and is often seen over the lake carrying its prey headfirst. It is quite tolerant of human activity as attested by its proclivity for perching on the light poles at the boat dock.
PHAINOPEPLA
PHAINOPEPLA
The glossy black male with its flashy white wing bars is conspicuous in flight as it gathers berries and insects during breeding season.
CALIFORNIA QUAIL
CALIFORNIA QUAIL
An abundant upland game bird frequently encountered by hikers along the trails. The sight and sound of a covey of quail bursting into flight can be the highlight of a stroll in the Park.
RED-SHOULDERED HAWK
RED-SHOULDERED HAWK
Another large soaring hawk and by far the noisiest of the local raptors. Its loud piercing shrieks are a common sound around the Lake.
LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER
LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER
Winter residents that wade in groups along the shore constantly probing the bottom with their long beaks. They have been likened to sewing machines because of their incessant probing action.
RED-TAILED HAWK
RED-TAILED HAWK
Large raptors often seen soaring gracefully overhead. During courtship they perform spectacular aerial acrobatics. As with raptors in general, the female is the larger member of the pair.
RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD
RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD
One of the most populous birds in North America. It is prominent along the shorelines of Lake Hodges.
GREATER ROADRUNNER
GREATER ROADRUNNER
Easily recognized by its size and unique shape, this bird is designed for dashing through the uplands in pursuit of snakes and lizards. It is a real showman during its mating ritual or when merely sunning itself atop a conspicuous boulder.
RUDDY DUCK
RUDDY DUCK
A diving duck often seen in deeper water. During the breeding season the males develop vivid coloration. The bill becomes intensely blue. Ruddy Ducks tend to hold their short tales erect at a jaunty angle.
SPOTTED SANDPIPER
SPOTTED SANDPIPER
Can be recognized by its distinctive stiff-winged flight and habit of teetering when it alights. The breast is heavily spotted in breeding season but is clear during most of the year. It is a rather solitary bird and slightly larger than the other local sandpipers, which travel in flocks.
SPOTTED TOWHEE SPOTTED TOWHEE
Formerly known at the Rufous-sided Towhee because of its bright rufous coloration. Look for it on or near the ground especially in shaded areas.
Song Sparrow
SONG SPARROW
A quintessential sparrow that seems to be everywhere both in open space as well as in our residential shrubbery.
TREE SWALLOW
TREE SWALLOW
An iridescent little bird seen darting and swooping over the water in pursuit of small insects. It is a cavity nester that makes frequent use of dead stumps in the mud-flats.
WESTERN GREBE
WESTERN GREBE
This species, and its nearly identical cousin, the Clark’s Grebe, are arguably the birds most readily associated with Lake Hodges. They are visible year-round in great numbers and delight observers with their synchronized dance routine.
WESTERN SCRUB JAY
WESTERN SCRUB JAY
This colorful and aggressive bird makes its presence felt throughout the landscape both as a nest predator of other species and as a vigorous defender of its own nesting territory.
WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW
WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW
During its winter visits this gregarious sparrow outnumbers the Song Sparrow and is equally at home in a wide variety of habitats.
WHITE-TAILED KITE
WHITE-TAILED KITE
A spectacular bird of prey often observed hovering over the landscape. It is seen consistently along Green Valley Creek near the foot-bicycle bridge
YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER
YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER

Gregarious little birds present in great numbers during the winter. Look for them feeding on insects among the treetops.
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