Audubon California

A Brief History of Audubon in California

Audubon California was established in 1996 as a field program of the National Audubon Society, overseeing the organization’s properties and leading conservation efforts. But our work in California goes back to the earliest days of the national organization, even before its formal founding. Audubon’s legacy of conservation and activism in the Golden State establishes it as a force for conservation along the Pacific Flyway. Audubon California has a network of 49 local chapters throughout the State of California where Audubon members and their families can enjoy and protect local birds and nature.

Global warming is a serious threat to California birds. A seven-year study from the National Audubon Society released in September 2014 finds that global warming threatens the survival of 170 California species in the coming decades. This includes iconic California birds such as the Brown Pelican, Allen’s Hummingbird, Yellow-billed Magpie, and many others. These are birds that all of us know well from our backyards and from our own experiences in California’s beautiful outdoors.

Audubon analyzed more than 40 years of historical North American climate data and millions of historical bird records from the U.S. Geological Survey’s North American Breeding Bird Survey and the Audubon Christmas Bird Count to understand the links between where birds live and the climatic conditions that support them. Of 588 bird species examined in the study, 314 species are considered at-risk. Hundreds of species not previously considered at risk will be challenged to survive in a climate-changed future. Understanding those links then allows scientists to project where birds are likely to be able to survive – and not survive – in the future.

Audubon California is addressing this challenge by protecting the habitats that we know birds will need now and into the future, and doing what we can to lessen the severity of global warming. We’ll do this work with a variety of partners on the ground and in the halls of the State Capitol and Washington, D.C.

Our mission is to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats for the benefit of humanity and the earth's biological diversity.

Currently listed birds by California Department of Fish and Wildlife

DFW California Fully Protected Birds
  • American Peregrine Falcon
    (Falco peregrinus anatum)
  • Brown Pelican, California Brown Pelican
    (Pelecanus occidentalis, P.o. occidentalis)
  • California Black Rail
    (Laterallus jamaicensis coturniculus)
  • Ridgway's Rail (Rallus obsoletus obsoletus)
  • California Condor
    (Gymnogyps californianus)
  • California Least Tern
    (Sternula antillarum browni)
  • Golden Eagle
    (Aquila chrysaetos)
  • Greater Sandhill Crane
    (Grus candadensis tabida)
  • Ridgway's Rail (Rallus obsoletus levipes)
    Southern Bald Eagle, Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus leucocephalus, Haliaeetus leucocephalus)
  • Trumpeter Swan
    (Cygnus buccinator)
  • White-Tailed Kite
    (Elanus leucurus)
  • Ridgway's Rail
    (Rallus obsoletus yumanensis)
  • American Peregrine Falcon
    (Falco Peregrinus Anatum)
  • Brown Pelican, California Brown Pelican
    (Pelecanus Occidentalis, P.O. Occidentalis)
  • California Black Rail
    (Laterallus Jamaicensis Coturniculus)
  • California Clapper Rail
    (Rallus Longirostris Obsoletus)
  • California Condor
    (Gymnogyps Califonianus)
  • California Least Tern
    (Sterna Albifrons Browni, Sterna Antillarum Browni)
  • Golden Eagle
    (Aquila Chrysaetos)
  • Greater Sandhill Crane
    (Grus Candadensis Tabida)
  • Light-Footed Clapper Rail
    (Rallus Longirostris Levipes)
  • Southern Bald Eagle, Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus Leucocephalus Leucocephalus, Haliaeetus Leucocephalus)
  • Trumpeter Swan
    (Cygnus Buccinator)
  • White-Tailed Kite
    (Elanus Leucurus)
  • Yuma Clapper Rail
    (Rallus Longirostris Yumanensis)

DFG Special Status birds
  • Yellow-breasted chat (Icteria virens)

Key Audubon California Watch List birds

Audubon WatchList 2007

Family Groups

Swans, Geese, Ducks Crane Gallinaceous Birds Plovers Loons, Grebes Snipe, Sandpipers, Phalaropes, allies Albatrosses Gulls, Terns, Skimmers Shearwaters, Fulmars, Petrels Auks, Murres, Puffins, Guillemots Storm-Petrels Pigeons, Doves Boobies, Gannets Parrots Cormorants Cuckoos Frigatebirds Owls, Nightjars Herons, Bitterns, Egrets Swifts, Hummingbirds, Trogon Condor Woodpeckers Hawks, Kites, Osprey, Eagles Songbirds Coots, Rails

Swans, Geese, Ducks

Emperor Goose, Trumpeter Swan, Mottled Duck, Steller’s Eider, Spectacled Eider, Hawaiian Duck, Hawaiian Goose, Laysan Duck

Gallinaceous Birds

Greater Sage-Grouse, Gunnison Sage-Grouse, Sooty Grouse, Greater Prairie-Chicken, Lesser Prairie-Chicken, Mountain Quail, Scaled Quail, Montezuma Quail

Loons, Grebes

Yellow-billed Loon, Clark’s Grebe


Laysan Albatross, Black-footed Albatross, Short-tailed Albatross

Shearwaters, Fulmars, Petrels

Bermuda Petrel, Black-capped Petrel, Hawaiian Petrel, Cory’s Shearwater, Pink-footed Shearwater, Greater Shearwater ,Buller’s Shearwater, Sooty Shearwater, Manx Shearwater, Newell’s Shearwater, Black-vented Shearwater, Audubon’s Shearwater


Ashy Storm-Petrel, Band-rumped Storm-Petrel, Black Storm-Petrel, Tristram’s Storm-Petrel, Least Storm-Petrel

Boobies, Gannets

Masked Booby


Red-faced Cormorant


Magnificent Frigatebird

Herons, Bitterns, Egrets

Reddish Egret


California Condor

Hawks, Kites, Osprey, Eagles

Swallow-tailed Kite, Swainson’s Hawk, Hawaiian Hawk

Coots, Rails

Yellow Rail, Black Rail, Clapper Rail, King Rail, Hawaiian Coot


Whooping Crane


American Golden-Plover, Snowy Plover, Wilson’s Plover, Piping Plover, Mountain Plover

Snipe, Sandpipers, Phalaropes, Allies

Wandering Tattler, Eskimo Curlew, Bristle-thighed Curlew, Long-billed Curlew, Hudsonian Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, Marbled Godwit, Black Turnstone, Surfbird, Red Knot, Sanderling, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Western Sandpiper, White-rumped Sandpiper, Rock Sandpiper, Stilt Sandpiper, Buff-breasted Sandpiper

Gulls, Terns, Skimmers

Heermann’s Gull, Thayer’s Gull, Iceland Gull, Yellow-footed Gull, Red-legged Kittiwake, Ross’s Gull, Ivory Gull, Gull-billed Tern, Elegant Tern, Roseate Tern, Least Tern, Aleutian Tern, Bridled Tern, Black Skimmer

Auks, Murres, Puffins, Guillemots

Razorbill Marbled Murrelet, Kittlitz’s Murrelet, Xantus’s Murrelet, Craveri’s Murrelet, Ancient Murrelet, Whiskered Auklet

Pigeons, Doves

White-crowned Pigeon


Green Parakeet, Thick-billed Parrot, Red-crowned Parrot


Anis Mangrove Cuckoo

Owls, Nightjars

Flammulated Owl, Elf Owl, Spotted Owl, Short-eared Owl, Antillean Nighthawk

Swifts, Hummingbirds, Trogon

Black Swift, Blue-throated Hummingbird, Costa’s Hummingbird, Calliope Hummingbird, Allen’s Hummingbird, Elegant Trogon


Lewis’s Woodpecker, Red-headed Woodpecker, Williamson’s Sapsucker, Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Arizona Woodpecker, Red-cockaded Woodpecker, White-headed Woodpecker, Gilded Flicker, Ivory-billed Woodpecker


Olive-sided Flycatcher, Willow Flycatcher, Thick-billed Kingbird, Bell’s Vireo, Gray Vireo, Black-capped Vireo, Florida Scrub-Jay, Island Scrub-Jay, Pinyon Jay, Yellow-billed Magpie, Hawaiian Crow, Elepaio Mexican Chickadee, Oak Titmouse, Millerbird, California Gnatcatcher, Kamao, Olomao, Omao, Puaiohi, Bicknell’s Thrush, Wood Thrush, Varied Thrush, Wrentit, Bendire’s Thrasher, California Thrasher, Le Conte’s Thrasher, Sprague’s Pipit, Bachman’s Warbler, Blue-winged Warbler, Golden-winged Warbler, Virginia’s Warbler, Colima Warbler, Lucy’s Warbler, Bay-breasted Warbler, Golden-cheeked Warbler, Hermit Warbler, Grace’s Warbler, Kirtland’s Warbler, Prairie Warbler, Cerulean Warbler, Prothonotary Warbler, Swainson’s Warbler, Kentucky Warbler, Canada Warbler, Red-faced Warbler, Abert’s Towhee, Rufous-winged Sparrow, Bachman’s Sparrow, Five-striped Sparrow, Brewer’s Sparrow, Black-chinned Sparrow, Sage Sparrow, Lark Bunting, Baird’s Sparrow, Henslow’s Sparrow, Le Conte’s Sparrow, Nelson’s Sharp-tailed Sparrow, Saltmarsh Sharp-tailed Sparrow, Seaside Sparrow, Smith’s Longspur, Chestnut-collared Longspur, McKay’s Bunting, Varied Bunting, Painted Bunting, Tricolored Blackbird, Rusty Blackbird, Audubon’s Oriole, Black Rosy-Finch, Brown-capped Rosy-Finch, Lawrence’s Goldfinch, Laysan Finch, Nihoa Finch, Ou, Palila, Maui Parrotbill, Oahu Amakihi, Kauai Amakihi, Anianiau, Nukupuu, Akiapolaau, Akikiki, Hawaii Creeper, Oahu Alauahio, Maui Alauahio, Akekee, Akepa, Iiwi, Akohekohe, Poo-uli