Bluebird eyes photographer with disfavor
Bluebird eyes photographer with disfavor

Southern Humboldt Community Park is perhaps the best birding location between Bear River Ridge to the north and Usal Beach Campground to the south.

As of April 2, 2015, birders in the Park have sighted at least 130 species. The Park’s mix of grassland, oak and redwood forests, river, and farmland contributes to this impressive diversity. So does its long history of guided bird walks. The months of April to June exhibit the highest bird diversity. This composition of bird life is characteristic of the lower elevations of inland Humboldt.

Previously birders knew the Park best as the site of a small breeding population of the Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum). Currently the species is much reduced. There may be as few as one pair reproducing in the park. The Grasshopper Sparrow is a local grassland species uncommon in northwest California and a Species of Concern in California.

Information courtesy of Ken Burton of www.norcalnature.com

Birdwalks

Birders birdwatching at the Park, a best birding location.
Birders Birding at the Park

Birdwalk Schedule

Birdwalks are offered by the Park and the Redwood Region Audubon Society (RRAS) the third Sunday morning of each month, weather permitting. The birdwalks start at 8AM in the summer and 9AM in the winter. No dogs please.

A schedule for Birdwalks at the Park can be found on our Events page. You might also check for PSAs in the local papers and the North Coast Journal the week of a scheduled birdwalk. The group always meets at Tooby Park, If you don’t know where that is, use these Directions . When you find the Park, stay on the highway for another 50 feet or so past the Main Entrance and turn right where you see the picnic tables at the edge of the river.

Species in the Park

You might expect quite a few species at a “best birding location.” Species sighted at the park include: American Kestrel, Bald Eagle, Cooper’s Hawk, White-throated Swift, Grasshopper Sparrow, Lazuli Bunting, Merlin, Northern Harrier, Western Bluebird, Belted Kingfisher, Western Meadowlark, Wood Duck, and White-tailed Kite, among many others.

To view the birds in the gallery below, click the picture, then use the arrows at the far edges to scroll the photos. Enjoy!

Unfortunately, a printed checklist of birds at the Park is no longer available, but bird walkers who sign up in advance receive an emailed list of birds previously seen on the walks. This list is usually recorded on the eBird site maintained by the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology and can be accessed by clicking the link above.

Birdwalk Leaders

Birdwalk leaders vary from month to month. Jay Sooter, Birder in Charge and frequent walk leader, states…

We’ve been fortunate to attract some really talented leaders for the walks. David Fix (author of Birds of Northern California) leads around 3 walks a year. Jude Power, a past president of RRAS, generally leads 2 walks.

We have a number of local folks who almost always attend the walks. It’s become some sort of a social event.

Occasionaly even folk from Eureka show up. The walks are fun! Join us sometime.

For additional information about birdwalks and birdlife at the Community Park, visit the Redwood Region Audubon Society calendar at www.rras.org. You may also contact Jay Sooter at sohumbirds@yahoo.com.

Also, if you have bird photos taken at the Park that you would like to share on the website, you may email them to webmaster.sohumpark@gmail.com and they will definitely be considered for addition to the gallery. Please identify the bird(s) in your email. You will be given credit for the photo.