Key Bird Species in Santa Clara County

  • Acorn Woodpecker: This species can be found in many areas around Santa Clara county where there are stands of oak trees. Some of the better locations to find them include the Stanford University Campus, Joseph D. Grant Park, the foothills east of Ed Levin Park (Felter, Sierra, Marsh and Calaveras roads), in Coyote valley at the western end of Laguna road, and Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve.
  • Allen’s Hummingbird: These birds are seen widely, primarily during spring migration (less so during fall). The most reliable spring location for them is Ed Levin Park, with best viewing in the blooming Eucalyptus trees near the dog park above Sandy Wool Lake, but they are seen at feeders across the county, especially in the southern parts of the county, as they migrate through
  • Bald Eagle: Bald eagle is a species that has been increasing in population over the last decade, with multiple successful nests every year. It is most commonly seen in winter but can now be seen year-round with a little luck. Nest locations are in general not disclosed, but one pair has started nesting in a tree in the front yard of Curtner Elementary School in Milpitas where they are easy to spot. Eagles in this county generally lay eggs in early February and chicks fledge by June. Good locations to spot individuals include Sandy Wool lake in Ed Levin Park, and Calero Reservoir
  • Barrow’s Goldeneye: A fairly rare winter visitor, Barrow’s goldeneye can be seen most winters in small numbers among the flocks of Common Goldeneye. The best location to find these species is on Shoreline Lake, or by scoping the salt ponds in that area.
  • Bell’s Sparrow: Bell’s Sparrow is found in a few areas around the edges of the county, mostly in the eastern foothill areas. Best places to local it include /top-birding-locations-in-santa-clara-county/#HenryCoe, San Antonio Valley road, and along highway 130 over Mt. Hamilton between Joseph D. Grant Park and San Antonio Valley Road.
  • Black Skimmer: Black Skimmers now have established breeding populations in California including on San Francisco Bay. They are resident in the region year round, but not always easily findable. They nest out on the islands and levees of the salt ponds but can also be found in other locations along the bay intermittently. Best locations for seeing them include Shoreline Lake and the Salt Pond A16 behind Don Edwards NWR in Alviso. They are also seen at times along Highway 84 (Dunbarton Bridge) in the Ravenswood Open Space Preserve areas
  • Burrowing Owl: More common in winter, there is land reserved for their protection new Don Edwards NWR in Alviso which can be viewed along Disk Drive and Nortech Parkway. Scopes are highly recommended. They can also be found in varying locations in winter, but the Shoreline Lake area and Coyote Valley often have wintering individuals
  • California Quail: Can be found in many areas of the county with a little luck but are best found in the less built-up areas in the South County area and in the eastern foothills. Most common places for sightings include Coyote Valley and Coyote Lake, Joseph d. Grant Park and along San Antonio Valley Road and Mines Road.
  • California Thrasher: This species is most commonly found in the edges of the county in the parks and opens spaces in the foothills. Joseph D. Grant Park and Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve are two good locations, but a single individual has been resident in Ulistac Nature Area for the last few years as well.
  • Cassin’s Vireo: This species can be a challenge to find in the county, with limited individuals being seen every year during spring migration (April and May) and rarely in the fall (September and October) in scattered locations. Best locations to search for this species would be Joseph D. Grant Park, the Mines Road/San Antonio Valley area, Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve, and Sanborn County Park and Castle Rock State park (which are mostly in San Mateo county but have bits in Santa Clara)
  • Eurasian Wigeon: A few individuals are found every year among the flocks of American Wigeons that winter in the area. Most common location to find them is Shoreline Lake, but they will also be seen in the bay along Alviso behind Don Edwards NWR and the Alviso Marina.
  • Ferruginous Hawk: is a regular winter visitor in the county, most commonly seen in Coyote Valley on Laguna Road or in the area between there and Coyote OSP.
  • Golden Eagle: This species is a year round resident but more common in winter. It is seen throughout the county at times, but is most commonly seen in the hills. Good places to look for it include the hills behind Ed Levin Park (Felter/Calaveras/Marsh/Sierra roads) and in Coyote Valley by scanning the coastal hills
  • Greater Roadrunner: This species can be found in the rural areas of the county, in the eastern foothills and south county areas. Best places to search are San Antonio Valley road (HWY 130 across Mt. Hamilton and out to the east), Coyote Lake and Henry W. Coe State Park.
  • Hermit Warbler: A few individuals are seen every year during spring migration (April and May) and rarely in fall migration (September and October). Areas to search for this bird would be Joseph D. Grant County Park and San Antonio Valley Road, Monte Bello Open Space Preserve, and Fremont Older Open Space Preserve.
  • Lawrence’s GoldfinchThis species can be found in small numbers year-round in the more rural areas of the county. Best location to look for them is the Mines Road and San Antonio Valley Road areas.
  • Lewis’ Woodpecker: This species can be found in small numbers year-round in the more rural areas of the county. Best location to look for them is the Mines Road and San Antonio Valley Road areas. they are also being seen in Coyote Valley.
  • Mew Gull: Small numbers of this species are found mostly in the winter months (November to March) at various locations around the edge of the bay. God locations to look include Palo Alto Baylands, Shoreline Lake and Don Edwards NWR.
  • Nuttall’s Woodpecker: is a common woodpecker in the area in both rural and urban areas where there are stands of trees in parks and open spaces.
  • Phainopepla: This species is found in limited numbers in stands of oak trees, with more reliable viewing in winter. The two best areas to look for this species are the Anderson Valley Road area and the Guadalupe Oak Grove Park.
  • Red-Breasted Sapsucker: This species can be found in small numbers in the winter scattered across the county. Best places to look for the bird would be Ed Levin County Park, Almaden Lake Park, Lake Cunningham Park and Joseph D. Grant Count Park
  • Ridgway’s Rail: This species can be found year-round along the edge of the bay. Best locations to search for it include Palo Alto Baylands, the Coast Casey Forebay area of Shoreline Park, Don Edwards NWR and the Alviso Marina
  • Rufous-Crowned Sparrow: This species can be found in limited numbers year-round along the edges of the county in rural areas.Best locations to search for it include Santa Teresa County Park, Alum Rock Park, and Ed Levin County Park along the Agua Caliente trail.
  • Snowy Plover: This species can be found year round along the edge of the bay. Best places to find it include the New Chicago Marsh area of Don Edwards NWR, and the Ravenswood Slough area along Highway 84/Dumbarton Bridge.
  • Steller’s Jay: This species can be found in the more rural areas around the edge of the county year-round. Best places to look include Ed Levin County Park and the roads in the hills east of there, Stevens Creek County Park, Almaden Quicksilver County Park, and Joseph D. Grant County Park.
  • Tricolored Blackbird: This species will sometimes be found in flocks, but often as individuals among flocks of Red-Winged Blackbirds. Best place to look for them is in Coyote Valley along Laguna road and in Coyote OSP.
  • White-tailed Kite: this species is found year-round around the bay in many locations, and in the south county areas. Best places to look for it include Coyote Valley, Don Edwards NWR, and Shoreline Lake.
  • Wrentit: This species is most commonly seen in the rural areas at the edges of the county. The best locations to find it are Almaden Quicksilver County Park, Rancho San Antonio OSP, and Fremont Older Open Space Preserve
  • Yellow-Billed Magpie: This species is found in the more rural areas of the county. Best locations to find this bird including Coyote Valley (especially Coyote OSP), the hills beyond Ed Levin Park (occasionally in park), and Joseph D. Grant County Park.