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Bird Checklists of the United States

Kern National Wildlife Refuge

small state map showing location

Delano, California


Kern National Wildlife Refuge is located at the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley of California in an area that was once a vast wetland where millions of migratory waterfowl and other water birds wintered. By the early 1940's most of these wetlands were drained and reclaimed for agriculture and the rivers were dammed for flood control and irrigation purposes. The 10,600-acre Kern Refuge was established in 1961 to restore a small segment of this valuable waterfowl habitat and has played an important role in the Pacific Flyway.

The most favorable season to visit the refuge is October through March. This period provides an excellent opportunity to observe a variety of birds including large numbers of waterfowl and shorebirds. The summer months are extremely dusty, hot and dry. Refuge ponds are generally dry during the May through August period resulting in limited opportunities for wildlife observation.

The refuge headquarters is located at the junction of Garces Highway and Corcoran Road, 19 miles west of Delano, California.


The seasons and status of the 211 species listed are coded as follows.

Season Designations

Sp - Spring, March to May
S - Summer, June to August
F - Fall, September to November
W - Winter, December to February

Abundance Symbols

a - abundant species
c - common, certain to be seen in proper habitat
u - uncommon, present but not certain to be seen
o - occasionally seen
r - rarely seen
x - accidental, outside of normal species range
* - species known to nest here
# - endangered species


GREBES Sp S F W ___ Pied-billed Grebe* c c c c ___ Horned Grebe - r r r ___ Eared Grebe* c o c c ___ Western Grebe* u u u u ___ Clark's Grebe* u u u u
PELICANS AND CORMORANTS Sp S F W ___ American White Pelican o o o o ___ Double-crested Cormorant o o o o
BITTERNS, HERONS AND EGRETS Sp S F W ___ American Bittern* c u c c ___ Least Bittern o o o o ___ Great Blue Heron* c u c c ___ Great Egret u u u c ___ Snowy Egret* c c c c ___ Cattle Egret* c u c c ___ Green Heron u u u o ___ Black-crowned Night-Heron* a a a a
IBIS AND SPOONBILLS Sp S F W ___ White-faced Ibis o o o r
WATERFOWL Sp S F W ___ Fulvous Whistling-Duck* r r r r ___ Tundra Swan - - - r ___ Greater White-Fronted Goose o - o o ___ Snow Goose o - o o ___ Ross' Goose - - r r ___ Brant x - - x ___ Canada Goose u r u u ___ Wood Duck u - u u ___ Green-winged Teal* c c a a ___ Mallard* c c a a ___ Northern Pintail* a c a a ___ Blue-winged Teal* o o o o ___ Cinnamon Teal* a c o a ___ Northern Shoveler* a u a a ___ Gadwall* a c a a ___ Eurasian Wigeon - - - x ___ American Wigeon* a o a a ___ Canvasback* o r o o ___ Redhead* u o u u ___ Ring-necked Duck* u r u c ___ Greater Scaup r - r r ___ Lesser Scaup - o o o ___ Common Goldeneye r - r r ___ Barrow's Goldeneye - - - x ___ Bufflehead u - u u ___ Hooded Merganser - - r r ___ Common Merganser o - o o ___ Red-breasted Merganser x - - - ___ Ruddy Duck* c c c c
VULTURES Sp S F W ___ Turkey Vulture o o o r
OSPREY, KITES, EAGLES AND HAWKS Sp S F W ___ Osprey r - r - ___ Black-shouldered Kite* c c c o ___ Bald Eagle# - - - r ___ Northern Harrier* a c a a ___ Sharp-shinned Hawk c c c c ___ Cooper's Hawk c c c c ___ Red-shouldered Hawk r - r r ___ Swainson's Hawk r - r - ___ Red-tailed Hawk* c u a a ___ Ferruginous Hawk o - o o ___ Rough-legged Hawk o - o o ___ Golden Eagle o r o o
FALCONS Sp S F W ___ American Kestrel* c c c c ___ Merlin r - r r ___ Peregrine Falcon# o o o o ___ Prairie Falcon o o o o
GALLINACEOUS BIRDS Sp S F W ___ Ring-necked Pheasant* a a a a ___ California Quail r r r r
RAILS Sp S F W ___ Virginia Rail* u u u u ___ Sora* o u c c ___ Common Moorhen* u r c c ___ American Coot* a o a a
CRANES Sp S F W ___ Sandhill Crane r - r r
PLOVERS Sp S F W ___ Black-bellied Plover u - u o ___ Snowy Plover o - - - ___ Semipalmated Plover o - o o ___ Killdeer* a a a a ___ Mountain Plover o - u u
STILTS AND AVOCETS Sp S F W ___ Black-necked Stilt* a a c o ___ American Avocet* a a a u
SHOREBIRDS Sp S F W ___ Greater Yellowlegs c - c c ___ Lesser Yellowlegs o - o o ___ Solitary Sandpiper r - - - ___ Willet o - o o ___ Wandering Tattler - - x - ___ Spotted Sandpiper u - o o ___ Whimbrel o - o - ___ Long-billed Curlew u o u c ___ Marbled Godwit o - o - ___ Ruddy Turnstone r - - - ___ Red Knot - r r - ___ Semipalmated Sandpiper x - - - ___ Western Sandpiper a o a o ___ Least Sandpiper c o a c ___ Pectoral Sandpiper - - o - ___ Sharp-tailed Sandpiper x - - - ___ Dunlin c - u o ___ Short-billed Dowitcher u o u o ___ Long-billed Dowitcher a c a a
SNIPE Sp S F W ___ Common Snipe c o c c
PHALAROPES Sp S F W ___ Wilson's Phalarope u o u - ___ Red-necked Phalarope u - u -
GULLS AND TERNS Sp S F W ___ Bonaparte's Gull o o - - ___ Ring-billed Gull o c c c ___ California Gull c o o c ___ Herring Gull r r r r ___ Western Gull r - - u ___ Caspian Tern* o o o o ___ Forster's Tern c c u u ___ Least Tern - x - - ___ Black Tern r r - -
DOVES Sp S F W ___ Rock Dove o o o o ___ Mourning Dove* c a a a
CUCKOOS Sp S F W ___ Greater Roadrunner c c c c
OWLS Sp S F W ___ Barn Owl* c c c c ___ Western Screech-Owl o o o o ___ Great Horned Owl* u u u u ___ Burrowing Owl* c c c c ___ Short-eared Owl* u u o o
GOATSUCKERS Sp S F W ___ Lesser Nighthawk c c o - ___ Common Nighthawk - - r - ___ Common Poorwill - u - -
SWIFTS Sp S F W ___ Vaux's Swift o - o -
HUMMINGBIRDS Sp S F W ___ Anna's Hummingbird* c c c c ___ Calliope Hummingbird o - - - ___ Rufous Hummingbird o - o - ___ Allen's Hummingbird u - - -
KINGFISHERS Sp S F W ___ Belted Kingfisher u - u u
WOODPECKERS Sp S F W ___ Acorn Woodpecker o o o - ___ Nuttall's Woodpecker o - o o ___ Downy Woodpecker - - u u ___ Northern Flicker c o c c
FLYCATCHERS Sp S F W ___ Olive-sided Flycatcher o o - - ___ Western Wood-Pewee c - u - ___ Willow Flycatcher - o - - ___ Hammond's Flycatcher u - o - ___ Dusky Flycatcher o - - - ___ Gray Flycatcher r - r - ___ Western Flycatcher u - u - ___ Black Phoebe u u c c ___ Say's Phoebe u o u u ___ Ash-throated Flycatcher u - u - ___ Cassin's Kingbird* u o - - ___ Western Kingbird* c c o -
LARKS Sp S F W ___ Horned Lark* c c c c
SWALLOWS Sp S F W ___ Tree Swallow c u a o ___ Violet-green Swallow u - u - ___ Northern Rough-winged Swallow u - u - ___ Bank Swallow o o - - ___ Cliff Swallow* a a o - ___ Barn Swallow* c c u -
JAYS, MAGPIES AND CROWS Sp S F W ___ Clark's Nutcracker - - x - ___ American Crow o o o o ___ Common Raven c c c c
WRENS Sp S F W ___ Rock Wren - - r r ___ Bewick's Wren - - o o ___ House Wren o - o o ___ Marsh Wren* a a a a
KINGLETS, BLUEBIRDS AND THRUSHES Sp S F W ___ Golden-crowned Kinglet - - o o ___ Ruby-crowned Kinglet u - u u ___ Blue-gray Gnatcatcher - - o - ___ Western Bluebird - - o o ___ Swainson's Thrush o - - - ___ Hermit Thrush u - u u ___ American Robin u - u u ___ Varied Thrush o - o o
MOCKINGBIRDS AND THRASHERS Sp S F W ___ Northern Mockingbird* u u u u ___ Sage Thrasher o - o o ___ California Thrasher o o o o
WAGTAILS AND PIPITS Sp S F W ___ Water Pipit u - c c
WAXWINGS Sp S F W ___ Bohemian Waxwing - - - r ___ Cedar Waxwing u - u o
SHRIKES Sp S F W ___ Loggerhead Shrike* a a c c
STARLINGS AND MYNAS Sp S F W ___ European Starling* c c a a
VIREOS Sp S F W ___ Solitary Vireo u - u - ___ Warbling Vireo u - u -
WARBLERS Sp S F W ___ Orange-crowned Warbler u - u o ___ Nashville Warbler o - o - ___ Yellow Warbler c - c - ___ Yellow-rumped Warbler c - c c ___ Black-throated Gray Warbler u - u - ___ Townsend's Warbler o - - - ___ Hermit Warbler o - - - ___ Blackpoll Warbler x - - - ___ MacGillivray's Warbler u - u - ___ Common Yellowthroat c u u u ___ Wilson's Warbler c - u -
TANAGERS Sp S F W ___ Western Tanager o - o -
GROSBEAKS AND BUNTINGS Sp S F W ___ Black-headed Grosbeak u - u - ___ Blue Grosbeak u u o -
TOWHEES AND SPARROWS Sp S F W ___ Rufous-sided Towhee u - u u ___ Chipping Sparrow u - u - ___ Vesper Sparrow u - u u ___ Lark Sparrow u - u u ___ Sage Sparrow* u u u u ___ Savannah Sparrow c - c a ___ Fox Sparrow u - u u ___ Song Sparrow c c c c ___ Lincoln's Sparrow u - c c ___ Golden-crowned Sparrow u - u r ___ White-crowned Sparrow c - a a ___ Dark-eyed Junco o - c c
BLACKBIRDS, MEADOWLARKS AND ORIOLES Sp S F W ___ Red-winged Blackbird* a a a a ___ Tricolored Blackbird* a a a a ___ Western Meadowlark* a a a a ___ Yellow-headed Blackbird* a a c o ___ Brewer's Blackbird* a a a a ___ Brown-headed Cowbird* c c u u ___ Hooded Oriole o - - - ___ Northern Oriole* c c r -
FINCHES Sp S F W ___ House Finch c c c c ___ Pine Siskin o - o o ___ Lesser Goldfinch u - u u ___ American Goldfinch u - u u
WEAVER FINCHES Sp S F W ___ House Sparrow* c c c c
For further information contact:
                 Refuge Manager
                 Kern National Wildlife Refuge
                 PO Box 670
                 Delano, CA  93216       
                 Telephone: 805/725-2767

This resource is based on the following source:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  1987.  Birds of Kern National Wildlife Refuge, 
     California.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Unpaginated.
This resource should be cited as:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  1987.  Birds of Kern National Wildlife Refuge, 
     California.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Unpaginated.  Jamestown, ND: 
     Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online. 
     http://www.npwrc.usgs.govkern.htm
     (Version 26MAY98).

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