This checklist contains the names of 241 species that have been found in the Owens Lake area. The boundaries are Hwy 395 on the west, Hwy 190 on the south, and Hwy 136 on the north and east. This includes the towns, desert scrub, riparian patches, marshes, and Owens River from the lake to these highways. The taxonomy and nomenclature used follow that of The American Ornithologists’ Union Checklist of North American Birds, 7th edition (1998).
Migrants are recorded in the season they are primarily moving and so, if found slightly out of the expected time, should be considered normal. Those species known or suspected to breed in the area are noted with an asterisk (*) while others are summer visitors only and are not known to breed. The following seasonal divisions are those used by North American Birds:
Sp = Spring (1 Mar to 30 May)
Su = Summer (1 June to 30 July)
F = Fall (1 Aug to 30 Nov)
W = Winter (1 Dec to 28 Feb)
Abundance codes are not standardized and, therefore, an explanation of their usage in this checklist is necessary. The choices are a reflection of a century of data but with emphasis on the last decade, during which time coverage has been the most extensive.
C = Common: indicates that the chances of seeing that species during that season after a day in proper habitat, which is extensive, is excellent. The species is usually found in large numbers and is obvious enough that missing it is very unlikely and no special techniques are needed to locate it.
F = Fairly Common: indicates that the chances of seeing that species during that season after a day in proper habitat, which is moderately extensive, is good. The species is usually found in small to sometimes moderate numbers and usually is obvious enough that missing it is very unlikely. Usually no special techiques are needed but knowledge of vocalizations could help with those species that are found regularly but in smaller numbers.
U = Uncommon: indicates that the chance of seeing that species during that season after a day in proper habitat is fair. The species is usually found in small numbers reflecting the limited availability of proper habitat. Utilizing special techniques or knowing the vocalizations will improve your chances of seeing these birds. They are almost always found by experienced birders and often missed by beginners.
R = Rare: indicates that the chance of seeing that species during that season after a day in proper habitat is very poor. The species is not only found in usually very small numbers but may only be recorded a few times during the season when it is expected. Special techniques and vocalization knowledge will help but this species is often not in the area.
Ca = Casual: indicates that the chance of seeing that species during that season after a day in proper habitat is very poor. This species is not reported every year nor is it believed that they are in the area every year.
A = Accidental: indicates that the chance of seeing that species during that season after a day in proper habitat is very unlikely. Only 1-2 records of that species exist for the area.
Species listed as endangered, threatened or species of special concern are noted in parenthesis after the common name. Because State and Federal governments have different lists each is identified by government. SE = State Endangered, ST = State Threatened, SS = State Species of Special Concern, FE = Federally Endangered, and FT = Federally Threatened.
Most of the data used in this checklist were gathered by Tom & Jo Heindel, Mike Prather, Judy Wickman, and Bob Hudson. Any species considered rare, casual or accidental requires extensive documentation. Please submit to Tom and Jo Heindel, Box 400, Big Pine, CA 93513.
|1.||Back to [top]||Spring||Summer||Fall||Winter|
|PELICAN & CORMORANT|
|American White Pelican (SS)||C||C|
|Double-crested Cormorant (SS)||U||U|
|BITTERNS, HERONS, EGRETS, IBIS|
|Least Bittern (SS)||R||U*||R|
|Great Blue Heron||U||U||R|
|White-faced Ibis (SS)||U||R||F|
|2.||Back to [top]||Spring||Summer||Fall||Winter|
|Fulvous Whistling-Duck (SS)||A|
|Greater White-fronted Goose||R||U|
|“Blue” Snow Goose||Ca||Ca|
|3.||Back to [top]||Spring||Summer||Fall||Winter|
|BIRDS OF PREY|
|Bald Eagle (SE, FT)||Ca||Ca|
|Northern Harrier (SS)||U||U*||U||U|
|Sharp-shinned Hawk (SS)||U||U||U|
|Cooper’s Hawk (SS)||U||U||U|
|Swainson’s Hawk (ST)||U||U*||U|
|Golden Eagle (SS)||R||R||R||R|
|Peregrine Falcon (SE)||R||R||R|
|Prairie Falcon (SS)||U||R||U||U|
|Sandhill Crane (ST)||Ca|
|4.||Back to [top]||Spring||Summer||Fall||Winter|
|Mountain Plover (SS)||Ca||Ca|
|Long-billed Curlew (SS)||F||U*||F||R|
|5.||Back to [top]||Spring||Summer||Fall||Winter|
|JAEGERS, GULLS, TERNS|
|California Gull (SS)||C||C||C||U|
|Least Tern (SE, FE)||A|
|DOVES & ROADRUNNER|
|Great Horned Owl||U||U*||U||U|
|Burrowing Owl (SS)||R||R*||R|
|Long-eared Owl (SS)||R||R||R|
|Short-eared Owl (SS)||Ca|
|6.||Back to [top]||Spring||Summer||Fall||Winter|
|Black Swift (SS)||R|
|Vaux’s Swift (SS)||U||R|
|7.||Back to [top]||Spring||Summer||Fall||Winter|
|Willow Flycatcher (SE)||U||U|
|Loggerhead Shrike (SS)||U||U*||U||U|
|JAYS, MAGPIE & RAVEN|
|8.||Back to [top]||Spring||Summer||Fall||Winter|
|North Rough-winged Swallow||F||U*||F|
|Bank Swallow (ST)||U||U||F|
|KINGLET & GNATCATCHER|
|9.||Back to [top]||Spring||Summer||Fall||Winter|
|MOCKINGBIRD & THRASHERS|
|Le Conte’s Thrasher (SS)||U||U*||U||U|
|10.||Back to [top]||Spring||Summer||Fall||Winter|
|Yellow Warbler (SS)||F||F|
|Black-throated Gray Warbler||U||U|
|Yellow-breasted Chat (SS)||U||U|
|11.||Back to [top]||Spring||Summer||Fall||Winter|
|TOWHEES & SPARROWS|
|12.||Back to [top]||Spring||Summer||Fall||Winter|
|GROSBEAKS & BUNTINGS|
|BLACKBIRDS & ORIOLES|
|OLD WORLD SPARROW|