National Bird Day Takes Flight in Southern California

Our love of birds soars on the fifth of January, as we search out ways to connect with winged wonders.

Image by David Gregg

What to Know

  • Jan. 5 is National Bird Day
  • The rangers at Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area recommends joining an "easy bird walk" once a month
  • Meet at the flagpole at King Gillette Ranch on the first Saturday of each month at 8:30 a.m.

It's always Bird Day, if you're a bird, but birders, devoted fans of flying critters, and lifelong lovers of nature would also enthusiastically sign onto the notion that celebrating the animals of the air is a most excellent thing to do, throughout the calendar.

But if you want to get into specifics, and observed occasions, then you'll want to look to the fifth day of January, which is, indeed, National Bird Day.

That means that you might pause on this bright winter morning, or during the cool afternoon, to say "hey" to the charismatic scrub jay in your yard, as he is seeking out any stray nuts, or the crows that call down to you from the oak branches above your head.

There are also numerous wintertime birding events on the local and regional calendar, as well as those major gatherings that happen further afield around California.

One to watch for, an event that actually extends its wings far beyond the Golden State? The Great Backyard Bird Count, when citizen scientists can help bird researchers understand which avian visitors are calling upon various areas.

That's happening over four feathery days in February 2022, from Feb. 18 through 21, and is free to join in.

Finding birder bashes around our state is quite easy, and one of the most acclaimed of the sky-high happenings takes place on the Central Coast each January. It's the Morro Bay Winter Bird Festival, which boasts "160 events over 5 days," including workshops, hikes, and several more info-rich, bird-beautiful outings.

That's coming right up, with a start date of Jan. 13, 2022.

And if you're looking to connect, from afar, with the hawks, egrets, and other amazing animals that call the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area home?

You can join a birder walk, which leaves from King Gillette Ranch on the first Saturday of each month.

Just meet by the flagpole for the 8:30 a.m. start, and remember to bring your comfy shoes, binoculars, a guide if you like, and, oh yes, a sense of wonder that's big enough to encompass our wonderful wing-filled world.

And will Jackie and Shadow, the beloved bald eagles of Big Bear Lake, have an egg or two for us to carefully observe in the coming days? Stay tuned, eagle aficionados, stay tuned.

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