Bird watchers enjoy nature at California Botanic Garden

Brandy Estrada
Staff Writer 

The California Botanic Garden held their monthly bird walk in cooperation with the Pomona Valley Audubon Society on Sunday. The walk was a two hour tour, from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. located in Claremont at 500 N. College Ave.

Bird enthusiast and eight-year member of the Audubon Society, Ken Damon led the small group of eight Sunday morning. 

Along the walk, Damon helped the group distinguish the difference of sounds that the birds made. The sounds are used by the birds to call out to their mates and to share their location. 

“Think of the sound like a bouncing ball,” Damon said to the group about the sound the Wrentit made. The call of the Wrentit bird sounds like a tennis ball bouncing.

One of the birds that the group was excited to spot was the Cooper’s hawk. The hawk was on the lookout in a high tree. 

The binoculars came out when Damon asked whether the tail was round or square. The Cooper’s hawk has a round tail, but was not easy to notice right away until the second time.

Birds spotted on the walk by Damon, and the other attendees were the California Thrasher, Mockingbird, Anna’s Hummingbird, Allen’s Hummingbird, Cooper’s Hawk, California Towhee, Spotted Towhee, Goldfinch, Sharp-shinned Hawk and many more. 

Damon paid close attention to the bird’s calling throughout the tour, even when the calls were distant. 

Applications recommended by Damon to download were Audubon Bird Guide and Merlin Bird ID which can be used to identify birds and their sounds. 

 “I have partaken in a number of years here in this location and Frank G. Bonelli Regional Park,” Damon said. 

According to Damon, being a bird enthusiast takes up his retirement time but he would not have it any other way.

“I’ve grown into birding and it’s fun to come to different locations,” Damon said. “Hearing the birds is fun for me to learn how to recognize the calls. It’s fun for me to see new birds.”

The Spotted Towhee and the California Thrasher are two birds Damon looks forward to seeing and said each bird is a work of art. 

Besides the birds, along the walk, there were many different types of flowers, plants and trees such as Golden Poppies, Redwood trees, and cacti.

Harvey Mudd College students Callie Dawson and Ash Shah, were two of the eight included in the bird walk. Dawson and Shah have been on the walk many times.

“I’ve always just been into nature in general,” Dawson said. “I’m excited to see the squirrels and we got to see a rabbit.”

Throughout the walk both students were thrilled to spot birds and other animals that were in the garden. The hummingbird was Shah’s favorite bird on the walk.

Dawson said it was her first time seeing an Allen’s Hummingbird and tries to make herself as close to nature as possible.

“I’d like [it] if this was bigger,” Shah said when he was describing the garden and the bird walk.

Aside from the bird walk, Mt. San Antonio College student Braelyn Ortiz, was on her own exploring the garden with her map. Ortiz said she has done the bird walk before and enjoys coming to the garden to explore and walk around for exercise.

“I did it once and I would definitely recommend it for beginners who have never been to the garden and want to know what type of birds can be found,” Ortiz said.

The bird walk is a free event held every first Sunday of the month at 8 a.m. Attendees must register prior to attending and binoculars are available to loan for the walk. 

The next walk will be held on March 5 and more information can be found on the California Botanic Garden website. 

Brandy Estrada can be reached at


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