"I hope you love birds too. It is economical. It saves going to heaven."
Emily Dickinson

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Audubon House: a friendly place for birders

A couple checks the list of bird sightings at the Audubon House in Irvine. Photo by J.J. Meyer
The 300-acre San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary, a fresh-water marsh in Irvine, is a great place to test your birding skills. And should you need a little help with identification, volunteers at the Audubon House are there to help.

The Audubon House sits at the entrance to the marsh. Forty-five volunteers of the local Sea and Sage Audubon Society chapter take turns working four-hour shifts to keep it open daily 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The trails weave between the more than 10 ponds, some surrounded by dense vegetation, which provides habitat for more than 300 species of resident and migrant birds. While you're there, pick up a free bird checklist. An abundance graph next to each species shows which birds are most likely present throughout the year.  The house also loans binoculars for the day to help with bird identification.

You don't have to be an Audubon member to visit the marsh or take part in the monthly bird walks sponsored by the local chapter, which meet the second Sunday of the month. The next walk meets at 8 a.m. Dec. 8. 

The Audubon House
Where: 5 Riparian View, Irvine
When: dawn to dusk daily
How much: free
Info: 949-261-7963

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