Appendix B. Birds of Malibu Lagoon


Daniel S. Cooper

Cooper Ecological Monitoring, Inc.

15 So. Raymond Ave., 2nd F.

Pasadena, CA 91105


Prepared: August 2006


Below are accounts for 276 native and naturalized bird species considered by the author to have been reliably recorded at Malibu Lagoon State Park south of Pacific Coast Highway (PCH). Additional species known from adjacent Malibu Creek just north of the park (to the Cross Creek bridge) and from offshore waters are not treated. Three main sources of data were used:


1. The Birds of Malibu Lagoon, by Lloyd Kiff and Kay Nakamura, published in Audubon Imprint (newsletter of Santa Monica Bay Audubon Society) in 1979. This annotated checklist includes records published previously in the Western Tanager (newsletter of Los Angeles Audubon Society) and in Audubon Field Notes/(North) American Birds through 1978, and is abbreviated “KN” below.


2. Sightings published in the “Birds of the Season” in the Western Tanager subsequent to 1979, abbreviated “WT” below.


3. Unpublished field notes of two regular observers, Kimball L. Garrett and Chuck Almdale, who together have kept field notes on 369 visits dating back to 1977.


4. Records from the Malibu Christmas Bird Count (“CBC”), a single-day count that includes Malibu Lagoon, run in late December during four winters from 1947-1958 and annually from 1958-present.


5. Sightings posted to the online birding forum “LACoBirds” (a Yahoo Group, 2001 – present). These records have not been reviewed as such, but are still valuable, particularly for scarce species.


Species confirmed as breeding within the park in 2005 and 2006 are in boldface. I have tried to include only birds that have occurred downstream of the Pacific Coast Highway Bridge, which marks a significant ecotone between the coastal lagoon and riparian and scrub habitat upstream. Many landbird species occur  primarily upstream and rarely within the park, and are so denoted: . I have also omitted from the main checklist most pelagic species and those seen exclusively offshore and not within the lagoon, unless there is evidence that the records pertained to beached individuals or to birds inside the lagoon. Also, several species listed as hypothetically occurring at Malibu Lagoon by Kiff and Nakamura are not repeated here, and should probably not be considered part of the Malibu Lagoon avifauna until actual records surface. I try to address speculation on hypothetical bird usage that has been incorporated into the “mythology” of the site, such as the purported occurrence of Light-footed Clapper Rail, Belding’s Savannah Sparrow and nesting Willow Flycatcher (Kiff and Nakamura 1979, Wohlgemuth 1980).



Common – Recorded in maximum numbers that would be expected for the season and habitat.

Fairly common – Recorded in lower numbers, but still likely to be recorded in season.

Uncommon – Recorded in small numbers and irregularly.

Occasional – Unlikely to be seen, but at least annual, and with a clear pattern of occurrence at the site.

Rare – Less than annual and not expected, but with a clear pattern of occurrence

Casual – Few records (generally under 5), but annual elsewhere in coastal southern California.

Accidental – One or two records, not expected.

Recent breeding species in boldface.



Greater White-fronted Goose: Casual; four records. Two spring migrants, 07-21 Mar. 1955 (KN) and 24 Apr. 1988 (KLG); one in fall: 06 Oct. 1987 [WT 54(4):10]; and one wintering 24 Oct. 1999 – 27 Feb. 2000 (CA).

Snow Goose: Rare visitor; eight known records in late fall, winter and spring.

Ross’s Goose: Casual; two winter records: 28 Nov. 1999 – 28 May 2000 (CA) and 24 Dec. 2000 – 28 Jan. 2001 (CA); one spring migrant: 24 Mar. 1991 (CA).

Brant: Uncommon spring migrant (April – May), with occasional birds lingering through summer and fall (exceptionally into winter). High: 17 birds on 24 Apr. 1988 (KLG).

Cackling Goose: Probably rare in winter; apparent minima present 01 Jan. 1988 – 24 Apr. 1988 (KLG); other small Canada Geese present 24 Oct. 1999 – 27 Feb. 2000 (CA) and 18 Jan. 2006 [WT 72 (5):6].

Canada Goose: Occasional winter visitor, mainly Nov. – Dec., but exceptionally as early as late Sept. (25 Sept. 2005, CA) and into April; several recent records of over-summering (1997, 1999).

Wood Duck: Rare fall migrant (Aug. – Sept.); few recent records.

Gadwall: Common (and increasing) fall and winter visitor, lingering in small numbers (single digits) through summer since the late 1980s. High: 60 on 27 Nov. 2005 (CA).

Eurasian Wigeon: Rare winter visitor (4 records); one record of a spring transient.

American Wigeon: Common (but decreasing) winter resident, arriving in Sept. and lingering occasionally into early summer. High: 54 on 29 Dec. 1979 (CA).

Mallard: Common breeding resident; double-digits present throughout the year.

Blue-winged Teal: Rare migrant; two recent records: 25 Apr. 2004 (CA) and 29 Oct. 2005 (D. Bell).

Cinnamon Teal: Common (but decreasing?) early spring (Jan. – Mar.) and fall (Aug. – Nov.) migrant. High: 55 on 17 Feb. 1986 (KLG).

Northern Shoveler: Common (and increasing) winter resident, arriving in September. High: 25 on 26 Jan. 2003 (CA). Numbers have been increasing on the Malibu CBC since the early 1990s, following a low in the 1980s.

Northern Pintail: Uncommon fall and winter visitor (single digits).

Green-winged Teal: Common (and increasing) winter resident. High: 76 on 11 Jan. 2006 (DSC). Numbers rather stable on Malibu CBC, so has possibly shifted wintering area from other local wetlands to the lagoon in recent years.

Canvasback: Casual in winter; 2 records since the late 1970s, when species went into sharp decline in Malibu area (CBC data).

Redhead: Rare in winter, few recent (post-1980) records.

Ring-necked Duck: Rare in fall and winter; four recent records, Oct. – Mar. (CA).

Greater Scaup: Rare (or overlooked?) in winter; few records.

Lesser Scaup: Fairly common (decreasing?) winter resident, 5-10 birds in winter. High: 15 on 14 Feb. 1982 (CA).

Surf Scoter: Fairly common in winter offshore; rarely on lagoon.

Bufflehead: Common (and increasing) winter resident; High: 50 on 26 Nov. 2000 (CA). Steady increase on Malibu CBC since mid-century.

Common Goldeneye: Occasional in winter (1-2 birds), casual in spring (KN); not recorded every year.

Hooded Merganser: Formerly fairly common in winter; few recent (post-1985) records.

Common Merganser: Rare in winter (esp. Dec.); few records.

Red-breasted Merganser: Fairly common in winter, 2-10 birds. High: 15 on 14 Dec. 1979 (KLG).

Ruddy Duck: Generally common but irregular winter visitor; unrecorded or scarce in some years. High: 59 on 14 Feb. 1982 (CA).



California Quail: Accidental; a pair was present on the afternoon of 28 April 2006, foraging along the western fenceline and later seen flying into a clump of quailbush (Atriplex sp.) in the marsh to roost (DSC). This is the only reliable record; another report on 26 June 1988 was on a date with several questionable sightings (see below) and is likely in error. Now confined to upstream portions of Malibu Creek, quail may have been present around the lagoon historically (see KN).



Three species of loons, Red-throated, Pacific and Common are all uncommon in winter and spring, with larger numbers offshore during spring migration (April); rarely seen on lagoon. The Common Loon is the more frequently recorded.

Pied-billed Grebe: Fairly common resident, with numbers generally highest in late fall (Oct.-Nov.) and lowest in spring (May), when breeding. High: 25 on 25 Aug. 2002 (CA). Oddly, no spring/summer records during the 1990s, but several before and after.

Horned Grebe: Fairly common winter resident, but irregular; unrecorded or scarce in some winters. High: 20 on 01 Jan. 1977 (KLG).

Eared Grebe: Fairly common winter resident, 5-10 birds, scarce some years. High: 20 on 26 Oct. 2003 (CA).

Western Grebe: Rare on lagoon, but common to occasionally abundant winter resident offshore. High: 200 (presumably offshore) in Jan. – Mar. 2001 (CA).

Clark’s Grebe: Occasional in winter (1-2 birds per year), mainly offshore.



American White Pelican: Casual transient; Five individuals were seen on 21 April 1981 [WT 47(9):9]. KN mentions two old records, in Sept. and March.

Brown Pelican: Common non-breeding resident, most numerous at low tide when large numbers may roost in the main lagoon and on the adjacent beach. The pattern of occurrence at Malibu Lagoon defies easy analysis, and may be changing as the species continues to recover following its protection (listed as a federal Endangered Species) in the 1970s. In recent years (since 2000), counts of 50+ individuals have been made practically every month of the year, but in general, its presence at Malibu Lagoon appears to be bimodal, with highest counts in winter and again in spring. However, the timing of the spring peak is variable from year to year. Each fall, a build-up in numbers is generally apparent by Sept., which consistently peaks in mid-winter (Nov. – Jan.). This is followed by a sharp, consistent drop-off in late January and February, presumably due to birds departing for breeding grounds in western Mexico. Large numbers in spring may be appear as early as late March (failed breeders?) or, perhaps in more productive years, in May and June. A late summer dip in July and August is typically noted at the lagoon before the fall build-up (which is somewhat surprising, given the species’ abundance in southern California during late summer; see Garrett and Dunn 1981). Day-to-day numbers are highly variable, depending on human usage of the beach and lagoon level – birds are constantly flushed by people, dogs, trucks, helicopters and small planes (pers. obs.). Rebounding from lows in the mid-20th century, this pelican is increasing in abundance and frequency since the mid-1970s (CBC data); the first modern concentration of 100 birds at the lagoon proper came as recently as the late 1990s (100 on 22 Mar. 1997, KLG), and counts of 100+ birds are now commonplace. High: 520 on 27 Apr. 2006 (DSC).

Double-crested Cormorant: Common non-breeding resident; formerly (pre-2000) occurring only in winter, now present (double digits) every month of the year on the lagoon itself. High: 97 on 27 Nov. 2005 (CA). Formerly considered a California Bird Species of Special Concern (Remsen 1978) but no longer treated as such (PRBO, in prep.).

Brandt’s and Pelagic cormorants: Both uncommon, occurring mainly in winter, almost exclusively offshore, and in low numbers (up to 4 birds). There are a handful of summer records for both.

Magnificent Frigatebird: Two records, 12 July 1977 (J. Brant) and 29 Aug. 1979 (KLG); KN imply that this species was more regular in late summer prior to 1980, which was the case at the Ballona Wetlands to the south (Cooper 2006) but offer no specific records.



American Bittern: Accidental; KN cite two records from the early 1970s.

Least Bittern: Accidental; KN cite one record in Oct. 1976; another on 26 Sept. 1987 [WT 54(3):11].

Great Blue Heron: Fairly common (and increasing) permanent resident; formerly an uncommon fall and winter resident (1-2 birds), but during the late 1980s, began occurring in higher numbers (up to 5+ per visit), and later into spring and summer, presumably linked to initiation of local breeding. High: 9 on 24 Oct. 2004 (CA).

Great Egret: Fairly common (and increasing) permanent resident, most common in fall migration; formerly scarce, with only occasional sightings until the mid-1990s, when number and frequency increased markedly. High: 62 on 26 Oct. 2003 (CA). This is a recent (post-1980) colonizer; KN considered it a rare visitor and cited only three records.

Snowy Egret: Common (and increasing) permanent resident, most numerous in fall and winter and least common in spring and early summer (when breeding locally); formerly a scarce fall and winter visitor only, but like Great Blue Heron, increased greatly in the 1980s. High: 33 on 28 Oct. 2005 (D. Bell).

Little Blue Heron: Casual in spring, summer and fall; four records.

Tricolored Heron: Accidental; one record: 03 May 1981 [WT 47(8):9].

Reddish Egret: Accidental; one report, 21 Sept. 2002 (M. Kotin, LACoBirds).

Cattle Egret: Occasional visitor, often in small flocks, mostly in late fall and winter. High: 21 on 25 Dec. 2005 (CA).

Green Heron: Uncommon permanent resident, probably breeding annually. Usually encountered singly, but 8 birds were present on 16 Aug. 1987 and on 15 Aug. 1992 (both KLG).

Black-crowned Nigh-Heron: Fairly common permanent resident, most numerous in summer and fall; formerly scarce, increasing in mid-1980s with other waders. High: 14 on 29 Nov. 1987 (KLG).

White-faced Ibis: Rare (but increasing) fall transient, generally recorded singly; one spring record. A remarkable count of 30 was made on 25 Sept. 2005 (CA).

Roseate Spoonbill: Accidental; KN cite one record in 1977.



Turkey Vulture: Rare visitor (1-3 birds), nearly year-round.

Osprey: Occasional fall transient, rarely recorded at other times of year; almost always seen singly.

White-tailed Kite: Rare post-breeding transient, recorded singly from June through January about every other year. KN mentions older records in spring, suggesting historical breeding nearby.

Bald Eagle: Accidental; May have formerly (pre-1930s) occurred, even breeding nearby (KN), the only non-historical record is of an immature on 08 Nov. 1975 (KN).

Northern Harrier: Casual in fall and winter; three apparent migrants and one possible wintering bird: 18 Nov. 1977 just upstream of PCH bridge (KLG); 11 Mar. 1979 and 22 Oct. 2000 (both CA). One was recorded several times during the winter of 1988-89 (CA) and may have over-wintered. Apparently more common historically (KN), though no specific records support this.

Sharp-shinned Hawk: Casual in winter; two records; scarce at Malibu Lagoon and more common inland.

Cooper’s Hawk: Rare fall transient (Aug. – Dec.).

Red-shouldered Hawk: Uncommon permanent resident, generally recorded singly (last record of two was in 1990).

Red-tailed Hawk: As above species, uncommon permanent resident in area, generally recorded singly.

Rough-legged Hawk: Accidental; KN cite two winter sightings from the 1970s.

American Kestrel: Uncommon fall and winter visitor (1-2 birds). Data from Malibu CBC show an increase in numbers at mid-century, then a steady decline since late 1960s.

Merlin: Occasional fall and winter visitor (singles); unrecorded until mid-1980s.

Peregrine Falcon: Occasional in fall and winter (singles); records increasing since late 1990s.

Prairie Falcon: Casual; one recent record, 27 Nov. 2005 (CA), and three older ones during migration (KN).



Clapper Rail: Accidental; KN mention one old record, 17 Jan. 1956, during an era when they were much more common in southern California, even resident at the Ballona Wetlands (Cooper, In press); there is no evidence for their assertion that this species “probably formerly nested at Malibu Lagoon when there was an extensive Salicornia marsh.” However, Malibu Lagoon was then located between two populations (Mugu Lagoon and the Venice/Ballona marshes), so it is conceivable that vagrants could have reached here.

Virginia Rail: Uncommon fall transient, lingering recently into winter (e.g., 4 on 11 Jan. 2006, DSC); one apparent spring migrant (25 Apr. 1999, CA). No records prior to the mid-1990s (KLG, CA).

Sora: Fairly common transient and winter visitor, with small numbers recently lingering through summer. Records increased dramatically during the 1990s, with only a handful of prior records. High: 8 on 27 March 2005 (CA).

Common Moorhen: Rare visitant (singly) with little seasonal pattern; fewer than 10 records. Apparently occurred more regularly when cattail beds were more extensive along lower Malibu Cr. (KN).

American Coot: Common to abundant resident; most numerous in winter and, more recently, in late fall; least common in summer. Winter high counts reach 200-300 birds.



Black-bellied Plover: Common transient and winter visitor, numbers highest in fall, when 50-100 birds are typically present. High: 168 on 23 Oct. 2005 (CA).

Pacific Golden-Plover: Accidental; two records: 11 Sept. 1965 (KN) and 04 Nov. 1989 (KLG).

Mountain Plover: Accidental; one record: 16 Oct. 2004 [WT 71(3):10].

Snowy Plover: Fairly common transient and winter visitor; several dozen consistently occur from late July through April on the sand-spit between the lagoon and the beach. Largest numbers in fall; high: 60 on 09 Sept. 1977 (CA), but 40+ still winter (as of 2005-06). Sporadic records in May and June suggest intention to breed, but no modern nesting records. KN assert that this species “probably nested at Malibu Lagoon until the 1960s when increased human use of the area displaced the birds” but provide no supporting evidence. Data from the Malibu CBC have shown a steady decline in winter numbers since the early 1960s, with counts averaging about half of what they were previously.

Semipalmated Plover: Fairly common transient (April and August), occasionally recorded in mid-winter. High: 40 on 09 Sept. 1977.

Piping Plover: Accidental; one wintered with Snowy Plovers at Malibu Lagoon in 1973-74 (KN), one of the few records for the western U.S.

Killdeer: Uncommon breeding resident, fairly common in late fall; formerly more numerous and more frequently recorded. High: 21 on 06 Nov. 1982 (CA).

American Oystercatcher: Accidental, one recent record: 02 May 2006 [WT 72(6):10].

Black Oystercatcher: Rare visitant to offshore rocks.

Black-necked Stilt: Occasional visitant with few records, mainly in migration (1-3 birds). An apparent pair was present continuously from 03 – 17 June 2005 (DSC), possibly prospecting for nest sites. A record of 50 birds on 08 May 1977 (KLG) was exceptional.

American Avocet: Uncommon and irregular transient and winter visitor, generally in single-digits. High: 20 during winter 1988-89 (KLG, CA). Recorded on the Malibu CBC only from mid-1980s to mid-1990s.

Greater Yellowlegs: Uncommon transient and winter visitor, generally seen singly.

Lesser Yellowlegs: Casual visitant; <10 records in fall, spring and winter.

Solitary Sandpiper: Rare fall transient.

Willet: Common transient and winter resident, present nearly year-round (scarce May – June); High: 110 on 23 Oct. 2005.

Wandering Tattler: Rare spring and fall transient.

Spotted Sandpiper: Fairly common transient and winter resident, most numerous as a late summer migrant. High: 15 on 25 Aug. 1990 (KLG).

Whimbrel: Common transient; small numbers remain through winter. High: 66 on 02 Aug. 1980 (CA).

Long-billed Curlew: Rare transient in spring and fall, generally found singly and not recorded every year.

Marbled Godwit: Common but somewhat irregular fall transient and winter resident, scarce some years (single-digits), but several dozen often winter. High: 60 on 23 Oct. 2005 (CA).

Ruddy Turnstone: Common transient and winter visitor, 5-10 present nearly year-round. High: 29 on 25 Aug. 1991 (KLG).

Black Turnstone: Uncommon transient and winter visitor; formerly nearly as common as above species. High: 25 on 24 Oct. 1993 (CA).

Surfbird: Rare transient; KLG and CA list four records spring and fall

Red Knot: Rare fall transient; one spring record: 08 May 1980 [WT 46(10):6].

Sanderling: Common spring transient and winter resident, up to 50 birds winter. High: 400 birds on 18 April 1982 (CA).

Western Sandpiper: Common to abundant transient, most numerous in spring; uncommon through winter. Spring highs have been in the 100-200 range (though only up to 60 since the early 1990s), but an exceptional concentration of 2000 birds was recorded on 30 Mar. 1989 (KLG).

Least Sandpiper: Common transient and winter resident; more frequently recorded than above species, though in lower numbers (generally 10-20 birds). High: 43 on 19 Apr. 1992 (KLG).

Semipalmated Sandpiper: Probably rare in early fall; few records, including 3 on 25 Aug. 1991 (KLG).

Baird’s Sandpiper: Rare in early fall; c. 10 records Aug. – Sept. (KLG, WT)

Pectoral Sandpiper: Rare in fall; several old records (KLG, CA, KN); one in spring: 17 May 1964 (KN).

Dunlin: Occasional in spring and fall migration; formerly (until early 1990s) also occurred in small numbers in winter (e.g., 6 on 01 Jan. 1992, KLG). High: 10 on 26 Sept. 1993 (CA).

Ruff: Casual in fall; two records: 25 Sept. 1988 (CA) and 09 Sept. 1995 [WT 62(3):10]

Short-billed Dowitcher: Fairly common fall (July – Oct.) transient, rare in spring and (one record) early winter.

Long-billed Dowitcher: Irregularly fairly common transient and winter resident to low double-digits; scarce some years. High: 40 on 28 Nov. 1993 (CA).

Wilson’s Snipe: Occasional in fall and winter (1-2 birds); probably overlooked on most visits.

Red-necked Phalarope: Occasional transient, generally in early fall. Larger numbers have been seen offshore (e.g., 400 on 30 Apr. 1991, KLG).

Wilson’s Phalarope: Casual early fall transient; several old (pre-1985) records (KLG, CA, KN); one recent record, a bird photographed on 02 Aug. 2006 (H. Walter, via email).

Red Phalarope: Casual in migration and winter; several records prior to 1985, but only two since then, both in early June.


GULLS and TERNS (24)

Parasitic Jaeger: Regular offshore, but just one specific record of a bird onshore: 14 Oct. 1985 [WT(4):10].

Laughing Gull: Casual transient; three records in late April/May and one in fall: 27 Sept. 2003 (M. San Miguel, LACoBirds).

Franklin’s Gull: Rare but regular spring and fall transient and winter visitor; reported every few years but probably annual.

Bonaparte’s Gull: Uncommon winter resident; formerly abundant, with counts of several hundred from mid-1960s through early 1990s. High: 2500 on 11 Feb. 1989 (KLG); high since 2000: 12 on 28 Jan. 2001 (CA). It is possible that this phenomenon shifted south to utilize the Ballona Wetlands, as comparable numbers (low thousands) have been recorded there since the early 1990s (Cooper, unpubl. notes).

Heermann’s Gull: Common resident from late summer through winter; least common in spring (Apr. – May) but small numbers present year round. High: 200 on 11 Oct. 1979 (KLG).

Mew Gull: Uncommon winter resident, generally recorded in low single-digits; formerly more common, with 10-20 wintering into early 1980s but not since.

Ring-billed Gull: Common to abundant winter resident, with several hundred generally occurring from late fall to late winter. Small numbers may linger into late spring and even through summer. High: 800 on 01 Jan. 1989 (KLG).

California Gull: Similar occurrence pattern as Ring-billed Gull, but at least twice as numerous, with counts of 1000+ birds commonplace in winter. High: 3100 on 03 Jan. 1981 (CA). Formerly considered a California Bird Species of Special Concern (Remsen 1978) but no longer treated as such (PRBO, in review).

Thayer’s Gull: Rare in winter (singles), but probably overlooked to some degree.

Herring Gull: Uncommon in winter (single-digits), but almost always present during this season.

Western Gull: Common to abundant non-breeding resident; almost always present in double-digits, with peaks in the low hundreds recorded nearly every month with no clear pattern. High: 380 on 21 Sept. 1988 (KLG).

Glaucous-winged Gull: As Herring Gull, uncommon but regular winterer in small numbers.

Glaucous Gull: Casual in winter; three records: 22 Dec. 1985 – 15 Feb. 1986 [WT 52(6,7):10]; 07 – 13 Apr. 2003 [WT 69(6):6]; and 09 Apr. – 06 May 2006 [WT 72(6):10].

Sabine’s Gull: Accidental; one record: 11 Sept. 1992 [WT 59(3):6].

Black-legged Kittiwake: Rare and irregular, with several “invasion years” in the 1970s and 1980s but a handful of records since.

Caspian Tern: Fairly common transient and post-breeding (midsummer) visitor, least common in midwinter. High: 20 on 23 May 2005 (CA).

Royal Tern: Apparently occurs in several roles. Fairly common (and increasing?) transient (mainly April-May and October) and winter visitor; possibly irregular, as it was unrecorded during quarterly surveys in 2005-06 (DSC). Small numbers in recent years in late summer probably pertain to post-breeding dispersers. High: 20 on 24 Apr. 1994 (CA).

Elegant Tern: Common to occasionally abundant pre- and post-breeding resident. Numbers variable from year to year, but several hundred often occur in late summer, with smaller numbers remaining through Nov. and reappearing briefly (and in lower numbers) in spring from late March through April. High: 400 on 09 Aug. 1988 (KLG).

Common Tern: Rare and declining fall transient, generally recorded singly. Formerly much more common (High: 60 on 09 Sept. 1977, KLG), but sharp decline in mid-1980s and now possibly not even annual.

Arctic Tern: Accidental; several older reports in fall, including an oiled bird on 20 Sept. 1971 (KN).

Forster’s Tern: Irregularly common to (formerly?) abundant spring transient, less numerous in fall and winter. Some evidence of recent decline, with no counts greater than 50 since the late 1980s. High: 150 on 06 Apr. 1985 and 30 Mar. 1989 (both KLG). Numbers of this species appear especially susceptible to “red tide” conditions, and it may be nearly absent some years.

Least Tern: Fairly common post-breeding visitor (mid-July – early August) and uncommon spring transient (late April-May), possibly increasing in frequency and number (esp. in spring) as breeding populations receive protection. Counts exceed 40 birds in July.

Black Tern: Rare transient in early fall (7 records, Aug.-Sept.); exceptionally in winter (1 on 06-07 Feb. 1988, KLG).

Black Skimmer: Rare visitor in late winter and fall, mainly from the mid-1980s to late 1990s.



Domestic Pigeon: Common permanent resident (low double-digits).

Spotted Dove: Extirpated; several records of singles prior to the late 1980s (termed “fairly common resident” by KN.” This introduced species is now absent from most of its former range in the Los Angeles area, including Malibu.

White-winged Dove: Casual fall transient; 4 records.

Mourning Dove: Fairly common resident, generally 5-10 birds recorded, but exceptionally high count was made of 200 birds on 23 Jan. 1987 (KLG).



Barn Owl: KN writes of birds nesting under the PCH bridge as recently as 1958, with subsequent (1970s) reports of nesting in palms since then; no recent records.

Great Horned Owl: Status uncertain; one record of an apparent transient, 29 Sept. 1976 (CA). May occur more regularly at night, when the site is closed.

Short-eared Owl: Accidental; fall migrants were present on 14 Oct. 1985 [WT 52(4):10], with another reported in “fall” 1970 (KN).

Lesser Nighthawk: Accidental; fall migrants were present on 25 Aug. 1976 (KN) and (very late) on 23 Nov. 1986 [WT 53(5):11].




Black Swift: Accidental; one on 23 May 2004 (CA).

Vaux’s Swift: Uncommon transient in flocks of up to 50 birds in mid-spring (April) and fall; one winter record: 05 Dec. 1980 [WT 46(5):9].

Chimney Swift: Accidental; one on 17 June 1990 (KLG).

White-throated Swift: Irregular visitant occasionally present in small flocks, mainly fall and winter. High: 30 on 09 Sept. 1977 (KLG).



Black-chinned Hummingbird: Rare and irregular in spring and early summer; more common farther up Malibu Creek.

Anna’s Hummingbird: Fairly common permanent resident, most common (occasionally double-digits) in fall. Steady increase on CBC counts into 1990s, then in decline (possibly due to competition with Allen’s Hummingbird?).

Costa’s Hummingbird: Possibly a casual transient; two were recorded either at the lagoon or along Malibu Cr. just upstream of the PCH bridge on 14 May 1977 (KLG). Apparently formerly more regular; KN considered this a “fairly common summer resident” with a nest found on 12 May 1977.

Allen’s Hummingbird: Fairly common permanent resident. An uncommon migrant during the 1970s, this hummingbird increased in detection frequency through the 1980s, but was not over-summering until the early 2000s; it now outnumbers the Anna’s Hummingbird. CBC data show a 4- to 5-fold increase since first detected in the 1970s.



Belted Kingfisher: Uncommon fall transient (from late July) and winter resident; when 1-2 generally present. Few late spring/early summer records, though a female carrying a fish on 07 June 1987 (KLG) is suggestive of at least potential regional breeding, possibly further upstream.



Three species, Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, and Northern Flicker and are all rare-to-occasional visitants at Malibu Lagoon, each with just a handful of records (KLG, CA, KN). All are more common along lower Malibu Creek, with at least one (Downy Woodpecker) having nested in the portion immediately north of PCH (in 1985, KLG).


Acorn Woodpecker: Casual migrant; two records.

Red-breasted Sapsucker: Casual; KN lists two winter records.

Pileated Woodpecker: Accidental; the one record (13 Aug. 1989, KLG) is one of the more bizarre examples of vagrancy in California birds. This strongly sedentary species is otherwise unrecorded in southern California.



Olive-sided Flycatcher: Rare transient; four records (KLG, CA, KN).

Western Wood-pewee: Rare transient; three records listed by KLG and CA.

Willow Flycatcher: Probably at least an occasional transient; one specific record: 10 June 1997 [WT 64(1):8], and another was upstream of the PCH bridge on 29 Sept. 1985 (KLG). Despite the implication by KN, there is no evidence to suggest that the Willow Flycatcher ever bred in the Malibu Lagoon area. It was indeed a common nester in the Los Angeles Basin and in southern California riparian systems (Garrett and Dunn 1981), but no local nesting records are known. This species remains a fairly common transient (early fall and late spring) throughout the state.

Hammond’s Flycatcher: Probably an occasional transient, but just one record of two birds on 27 Apr. 2006 (DSC). Also, one was upstream of the PCH bridge on 14 May 1977 (KLG).

Gray Flycatcher: Probably an occasional transient, but just one record of one bird on 27 Apr. 2006 (DSC).

Pacific-slope Flycatcher: Probably an uncommon transient, but just three records, with one on 26 June 1988 either in error (see above) or a mid-summer wanderer.

Black Phoebe: Fairly common breeding resident, generally in single-digits, but more in late spring when numbers augmented by young-of-the-year (e.g. 20 on 23 May 2004, CA) and during fall migration.

Eastern Phoebe: Casual; three reports of fall migrants prior to 1980 listed by KN, spanning 18 Sept. – 29 Oct.

Say’s Phoebe: Uncommon winter visitor; one individual is almost always present between Sept. and Mar.

Vermilion Flycatcher: Accidental; one on 04 Nov. 1989 (KLG).

Ash-throated Flycatcher: Uncommon fall transient, rare in spring.

Tropical Kingbird: Rare in fall and winter; c. 10 records, including one bird that returned for three winters during 2001 – 2004.

Cassin’s Kingbird: Occasional in spring, summer and fall. High: 6 on 18 Apr. 1982 (CA).

Western Kingbird: Fairly common transient (1-3 birds), more common in fall than spring.

Eastern Kingbird: Casual in early fall; five records in Aug./ Sept.

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher: Accidental; one record: 25 Oct. 2004 [WT 71(3):10].



Loggerhead Shrike: Occasional and irregular fall and winter visitor (1-2 birds); not present every year. This species has become very rare in coastal southern California, and this site may represent an important potential restoration opportunity for this species in coastal Los Angeles County. More regular in previous decades, local birds require patches of open, bare ground or very short vegetation, and a prey base of large terrestrial insects and small rodents. Malibu CBC data shows a pattern of abundance similar to the American Kestrel and American Pipit, with a peak in the 1960s followed by a steady decline.

Hutton’s Vireo: Accidental; one record, 29 Oct. 1972 (KN); additionally, one was upstream of the PCH bridge on 30 Sept. 1984 (KLG).

Warbling Vireo: Rare transient in spring (mainly May) and fall; generally recorded singly.



Western Scrub-Jay: Fairly common permanent resident in small numbers (1-4 birds). Formerly (pre-1990) mainly recorded in fall migration, but now seen year-round. Two juvenile birds were seen near the wooden bridges on 25 Aug. 1991 (KLG), but these may not have been produced on the site.

American Crow: Common permanent resident; up to 10 birds present. Most numerous in winter, when counts of 20+ are common. Dramatic increase in counts on the Malibu CBC in the past 50 years.

Common Raven: Uncommon year-round visitor, generally 1-2 birds.



Horned Lark: Casual in fall; three records prior to 1985 (KLG, KN).

Purple Martin: Casual migrant; two records (KN, DSC).

Tree Swallow: Occasional spring (Feb.-Mar.) and fall (mainly Nov.) migrant. High: 40 birds on 02 Mar. 1991 (KLG).

Violet-green Swallow: Occasional transient (more common in spring) and early summer wanderer, presumably from Santa Monica Mountain breeding populations (e.g., 4 on 17 June, 1990, KLG); one winter record: 20 Dec. 1987 (CA).

Rough-winged Swallow: Fairly common transient; small numbers remaining through summer starting in mid-1990s. High: 24 on 27 Aug. 2000 (CA).

Bank Swallow: Causal migrant; 2 old records (KN).

Cliff Swallow: Common to abundant spring and summer resident, breeding nearby. High: 300 (including birds nesting under wooden bridges) on 28 Apr. 1985 (KLG).

Barn Swallow: Common transient and (since late 1980s) summer resident. High: 25 on 25 Sept. 2005 (CA).



Note: several of the following small, generally nondescript landbirds are often overlooked by birders, especially when they are focusing on identifying waterbirds. Patience and attention to call notes are required, and the few records probably reflect the scant attention given to detecting these birds at the site, most of which are very common elsewhere in the Malibu area.


Oak Titmouse: Rare but perhaps increasing visitor; two birds were present in late May and early June 1987 (KLG), and singles were here on 08 June 2005 (DSC) and on 11 Jan. 2006 (DSC), presumably wandering from local populations.

Bushtit: Common resident, with flock counts of up to 25 birds found in fall and winter.

White-breasted Nuthatch: Accidental; one fall record: 21 Oct. 1975 (KN).

Bewick’s Wren: Possibly a rare resident. Known as an uncommon fall transient and winter visitor (up to 5 birds), with three summer records in late 1980s (KLG, CA), and singing birds through the summer of 2006. A common resident along Malibu Cr. just upstream of the PCH bridge, this bird apparently previously occurred here and was extirpated as a breeder, as KN termed it a “common resident in all brushy areas.”

House Wren: Uncommon transient and winter visitor (1-2 birds); no summer records.

Marsh Wren: Fairly common fall transient and winter resident (possibly increasing), though generally recorded singly. Records on 26 June 1988 and 25 May 2003 are not supported by details and are likely in error; the claim by KN that the species “formerly nested at Malibu Lagoon” is also not supported by actual breeding records. This species breeds sparingly in coastal Los Angeles County, and is much-reduced compared to historical times (Garrett and Dunn 1981).

Ruby-crowned Kinglet: Rare to occasional (increasing?) late fall and winter visitor, generally seen singly. Apparently much more common just upstream of the PCH bridge (e.g., 20 between PCH and Cross Creek Rd. on 18 Nov. 1977, KLG).

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher: Occasional fall transient and winter visitor (Aug. – Jan.). One on 26 June 1988 (CA) is probably in error. Considered rare by KN, who write “this species has undergone a drastic decline at Malibu Lagoon” but give no indication of previous abundance; data from the Malibu CBC (which covers a much larger area) are equivocal in this regard.

Western Bluebird: Accidental; one on 22 Oct. 2000 (CA). Formerly possibly more common, as KN describe this species as an “uncommon winter visitant” with small flocks appearing Oct. – Apr.

Hermit Thrush: Rare winter visitor; four records. Like Ruby-crowned Kinglet, much more common upstream of the PCH bridge (e.g., 4 here on 18 Nov. 1977, KLG).

Swainson’s Thrush: Two were present on 23 May 1987 (KLG); probably a regular late spring and fall migrant. KN discuss the presence of territorial birds in willows along lower Malibu Cr. in May and June 1977, but this was before we had a better understanding of this species’ movements in southern California (transients often sing through June before departing).

American Robin: Casual visitor; 3 spring records, plus one (or more?) during the winter of 1990-91 (CA).

Wrentit: Occasional year-round visitor. Formerly could be found in small groups, possibly family units wandering from breeding areas north of the PCH, but sharp decline in detection frequency noted since late 1990s.



Gray Catbird: Accidental; one record 05 Oct. 1991 [WT 58(4):10].

Northern Mockingbird: Fairly common permanent resident (one pair usually present), with small “flocks” in early summer and fall possibly involving family groups.

Sage Thrasher: Accidental; one record: 08 Sept. 1976 (KN).

Bendire’s Thrasher: Accidental; one record: 01 Sept. 1975 (KN).

California Thrasher: Rare visitor; few records, mainly in fall and early winter. A common resident in nearby chaparral, a juvenile was observed along Malibu Creek north of the PCH bridge on 25 May 1985 (KLG), suggesting local breeding.



European Starling: An introduced species, common to abundant (and probably increasing); several dozen usually present; High: 300 on 22 July 2001 (CA). Peaking in the mid-1980s, numbers have since been decreasing somewhat (Malibu CBC data).

Eastern Yellow Wagtail: A bird present on 06 Sept. 1987 (WT 54(3):10) remains one of the few records for the continental U.S. of this Eurasian species.

American Pipit: Occasional fall transient and (prior to mid-1990s) regular winter visitor; High: 15 on 23 Jan. 1987 (KLG). KN describe birds “seen most often on the sandy beaches,” where they no longer occur. Like the American Kestrel, showed an increase, then a steady decline on the Malibu CBC since the 1960s.

Cedar Waxwing: Rare but regular in late spring.

Phainopepla: Rare and irregular in spring and summer; few records (possibly tied to fruiting shrubs?), but some involving small flocks (e.g., 15 on 14 May 1988, KLG).



Note: As with “Misc. Passerines” (above), many of these birds are difficult to detect, and actual status may be under-represented here. Limited coverage by birders during the narrow migration windows has probably obscured this status.


Tennessee Warbler: Casual fall transient. Six fall records are mentioned by KN (and two more in the early 1980s, WT) are probably correct. This species has declined sharply as a vagrant to southern California since the 1980s, and confusion with the much more common Orange-crowned Warbler obscures records not accompanied by good details.

Orange-crowned Warbler: Fairly common fall transient, less so in spring and winter. High: 10 on 20 Sept. 1986 (KLG).

Nashville Warbler: Rare transient; few records.

Virginia’s Warbler: Probably a rare fall migrant; KN mention several records from the early 1970s.

Yellow Warbler: Uncommon fall transient, rare (or more likely rarely reported) in spring. High: 8 on 15 Sept. 1978 (KLG).

Cape May Warbler: Accidental; a male, likely the same bird, recorded just north of the PCH bridge on 04 June (singing) and 04 Sept. 1983 (WT).

Black-throated Blue Warbler: Accidental; one record: 23 Oct. 1988 (CA).

Yellow-rumped Warbler – represented by two distinctive races:

“Audubon’s” Warbler: Common late fall and fairly common winter resident. High: 30 on 24 Nov. 1981 (CA).

“Myrtle” Warbler: Rare (or rarely recorded) in winter.

Black-throated Gray Warbler: Rare fall transient and winter visitor, recorded, 12 Oct. 1987 (KLG), 27 Oct. 2002 (Calbirds) and 01 Feb. 1974 (KN).

Townsend’s Warbler: Occasional transient and winter visitor; few records.

Hermit Warbler: Casual; two fall records (KN, CA).

Blackburnian Warbler: Accidental; one record: 21 Sept. 1988 (KLG).

Palm Warbler: Casual in fall; two records: 27 – 30 Dec. 1970 (KN) and 30 Oct. 2004 (KLG, LACoBirds).

Blackpoll Warbler: Rare fall transient; six records in Sept. and early Oct. (KLG, KN).

American Redstart: Accidental; a wintering record (possibly involving two birds) from 30 Sept. 1984 through December (WT). The next year, one was upstream of the PCH bridge on 29 Sept. 1985 (KLG).

Northern Waterthrush: Accidental; one record: 11 Sept. 1983 [WT 50(3):11].

MacGillivray’s Warbler: Casual; one record (15 Sept. 1987, KLG).

Common Yellowthroat: Fairly common breeding resident, numbers augmented by fall transients; prior to late 1980s, occurred only as a fall transient and winter visitor. High: 15 on 16 Aug. 1987 (KLG).

Wilson’s Warbler: Uncommon transient (spring and fall), usually recorded singly.

Yellow-breasted Chat: Occasional transient; 7 records, plus several others just upstream of the PCH bridge (KLG).

Lazuli Bunting: Occasional fall transient.

Western Tanager: Occasional fall transient (Aug. – Sept.); less common in spring (one record, 26 Apr. 2006, DSC).



Spotted Towhee: Status complex; a rare and irregular resident, but possibly an irruptive colonist at the site, with a small population present for a few years (e.g., 10-12 birds during mid-1980s), then absent. Resident just upstream of the PCH bridge.

California Towhee: Uncommon breeding resident, with 1-2 birds usually present year-round.

Chipping Sparrow: Rare transient, four records (KLG, KN).

Clay-colored Sparrow: Accidental; one record: 12 Nov. 1995 [WT 62(5)8].

Brewer’s Sparrow: Rare fall transient (4 records, KLG, KN); casual in spring (18 Apr. 2001; K. Larson, LACoBirds).

Lark Sparrow: Rare fall transient (3 records), but common inland (e.g., vic. Malibu Lagoon State Park) and probably under-reported.

Black-throated Sparrow: Casual fall transient; two records in late July and early Sept. (KLG, CA).

Sage Sparrow: Accidental; one record: 27 Mar. 1988 (CA).

Savannah Sparrow: Uncommon fall transient (esp. Sept.), rare in spring. Formerly (pre-1980) an uncommon winter resident (and a more numerous migrant), when small numbers would be recorded into Dec. and Jan. (e.g. 3 on 14 Dec. 1979, KLG), and up to 10 would occur in fall migration. Until the early 1980s, local birders erroneously assumed that the Savannah Sparrows at Malibu Lagoon were “Belding’s” Savannah Sparrows (fide KLG); there is no basis for the claim (Kiff and Nakamura 1979, Wohlgemuth 1980) that “Belding’s” Savannah Sparrows ever occurred at Malibu. This distinctive, non-migratory race was known as close as Santa Monica (Grinnell and Miller 1944) and is still locally common in the Oxnard/Port Hueneme area to the north and at the Ballona Wetlands (Cooper 2004).

Fox Sparrow: Probably a rare winter resident; two records; much more common just inland and throughout the Santa Monica Mtns.

Song Sparrow: Fairly common breeding resident; numbers augmented (up to 15 birds) in migration.

Lincoln Sparrow: Occasional transient and winter visitor; few records but undoubtedly overlooked.

Swamp Sparrow: Rare winter visitor.

White-crowned Sparrow: Fairly common winter resident.

Golden-crowned Sparrow: Probably a rare winter resident and transient, but just two records: 28 Dec. 2003 (CA) and 27 Apr. 2006 (DSC). This sparrow apparently underwent a decline locally prior to 1970s (KN), but is still common in winter in chaparral in the Malibu area.

Dark-eyed Junco: Rare in winter.

Lark Bunting: Accidental; one record: 30 Sept. – 04 Oct. 1984 [WT 52(3):11; S. Wohlgemuth, in KLG notes]

Rose-breasted Grosbeak: Accidental; one record: 01-03 Oct. 1984 [WT 52(3):11].

Black-headed Grosbeak: Uncommon migrant (spring and fall), rare in mid-summer.

Blue Grosbeak: Occasional fall transient, generally recorded in Aug. and Sept.



Bobolink: Casual late spring and fall migrant; KN list 3 records.

Red-winged Blackbird: Common breeding resident, occurring in variable numbers and occasionally abundant (post-breeding). Formerly in winter only, but has remained to breed since mid-1980s. High: 200 on 22 July 2001 (CA), probably representing many young-of-the-year.

Tricolored Blackbird: Casual transient; few reports with no seasonal pattern.

Western Meadowlark: Occasional fall transient (1-2 birds/year); formerly wintered (KN; last in 1986-87, KLG, CA) and previously more numerous as a transient.

Yellow-headed Blackbird: Rare spring transient (four records); casual in early fall.

Rusty Blackbird: Casual in winter (at least formerly); a handful of records from the shopping center across PCH, with just one apparently at Malibu Lagoon proper: 29 Nov. 1987 on [WT 54(5):11].

Brewer’s Blackbird: Fairly common permanent resident.

Great-tailed Grackle: Fairly common year-round visitor; four records prior to 1999, when ongoing invasion of Los Angeles area apparently reached Malibu.

Brown-headed Cowbird: Fairly common transient (spring and fall), small numbers began summering during early 2000s (e.g., 2 on 14 July 2005, DSC); one winter record: 25 Dec. 1994 (CA).

Orchard Oriole: Accidental; KN list one record: 02 Oct. 1976.

Hooded Oriole: Uncommon summer resident; apparently “invaded” and began breeding adjacent to the park (Malibu Colony) in the late 1980s (KLG notes).

Bullock’s Oriole: Occasional transient and early summer visitor. This species has possibly declined, as KN termed it a “common summer resident.”



House Finch: Common permanent resident, up to 10 usually present.

Purple Finch: Rare transient; apparently does not occur in winter, when expected elsewhere in the Los Angeles Basin.

Lesser Goldfinch: Fairly common year-round visitor, mainly in late winter and spring; formerly (pre-2000) occurring in winter and migration only.

Lawrence’s Goldfinch: Rare fall transient; few records.

American Goldfinch: Occasional in migration and winter, not recorded every year. Territorial birds have been noted just upstream of  the PCH bridge (e.g., 15 on 14 May 1977, KLG).

Pine Siskin: Casual in fall and winter during “invasion years.”

Evening Grosbeak: Accidental; one record, a fly-over on 12 Oct. 1986 (KLG).



House Sparrow: Fairly common (but under-reported/overlooked?) year-round visitor.

Orange Bishop: Casual visitor; one very early record in spring 1979 (KLG – get date), another present for several weeks in 1995 – 1996 (KLG), and one on 29 Oct. 2005 (D. Bell).



The following species have been reliably recorded near Malibu Lagoon (e.g. lower Malibu Creek), but not south of the PCH bridge; none is expected at Malibu Lagoon. Not included are several pelagic species (alcids, shearwaters, jaegers) published from “Malibu Lagoon” but almost certainly recorded offshore the beach at the lagoon (e.g., Black-vented Shearwater).


Harlequin Duck: KN cite one record from Dec. 1971, which was probably offshore.

White-winged Scoter: Formerly fairly common offshore; no recent (post-1985) records, and no specific records for the lagoon.

Black Scoter: Rare offshore in winter (KN; LACoBirds); no specific records for the lagoon itself.

Long-tailed Duck: KN cite a single record for Mar. 1954, which was probably offshore.

Red-necked Grebe: Casual offshore in winter and early spring; six known records, possibly involving birds in the main lagoon.

Greater Roadrunner: One on 12 May 1977 (KN) may have been north of the PCH bridge, where the only other sighting was (18 July 1981, CA). This species is now scarce in the Malibu area and unlikely to occur again.

Black-hooded Conure: An introduced species established as a breeding resident in the Malibu area; only two records (KLG, CA), presumably from north of PCH.

White-eyed Vireo: One was in willows just north of the PCH bridge on 24-27 May 1981 [WT 47(9):9].

American Dipper: One was just north of the PCH bridge on 22 Oct. 1997 [WT 64(3):4].

Black-and-white Warbler: One was singing upstream of the PCH bridge on 25 May 1985 (KLG).

Prothonotary Warbler: One record just above the PCH bridge: 18 Sept. 1983 (KLG).



Records of the following species have been previously published, but they lack details that would warrant their inclusion in this checklist of birds (fide KLG)


Black Rail: KN mention a second-hand report of two records from the 1940s “in stands of cattails,” and imply that historical nesting was possible. This does not constitute an acceptable record, and no nesting in the Malibu area (nor anywhere in the Santa Monica Bay area) has ever been proven.

Little Gull: One was reported without details on 31 Oct. 1988 [WT 55(4):6].

Common Murre: KN mention that individuals “occasionally appear in the lagoon itself” but this seems unlikely; there are no modern records; several species of alcids have been observed flying offshore.

Band-tailed Pigeon: One report on 26 Nov. 1989 did not include details, and may have been farther up Malibu Creek.

Rock Wren: KN considered it an “uncommon transient” but gave no specific records. Now rare in coastal Los Angeles Co., most likely to be encountered on riprap along Malibu Cr. just north of PCH.

Rufous-crowned Sparrow: One was reported without details on 24 Mar. 1991; this strongly sedentary species is virtually unrecorded in the state away from its breeding sites (grassy, scrub-covered hillsides with rocky outcrops).



More numerous north of PCH.


Sources Cited


Cooper, D.S. In press. Annotated checklist of extirpated, reestablished and colonized species in the Ballona Valley, Los Angeles County, California. Bull. So. Cal. Acad. Sci.


Cooper, D.S. 2006. Birds of the Ballona Valley. Available online ( Retrieved 2006 from the World Wide Web.


Cooper, D.S. 2004. Important Bird Areas of California. Audubon California. 286 pp.


Garrett, K. and J. Dunn. 1981. Birds of Southern California: Status and Distribution. Los Angeles Audubon Society.


Grinnell, J. and A.H. Miller. 1944. The Distribution of the Birds of California. Pac. Coast Avifauna 27.


Kiff, L. and K. Nakamura. 1979. The Birds of Malibu Lagoon. Audubon Imprint (newsletter of the Santa Monica Audubon Soc.). 4:1-13.

Point Reyes Bird Observatory. In prep. California Bird Species of Special Concern.


Remsen, J.V., Jr. 1978. Bird species of special concern in California: an annotated list of declining or vulnerable bird species. California Dept. of Fish and Game, Nongame Wildlife Investigations, Wildlife Management Branch Administrative Report No. 78-1.


Wohlgemuth, S. 1980. Good News for Malibu Lagoon (“Topics of Conservation”). Western Tanager (newsletter of the Los Angeles Audubon Soc.). Nov. 1980.





I thank Kimball Garrett and Chuck Almdale for generous use of their unpublished field notes, and the staff of the Los Angeles Audubon Society bookstore for welcoming my use of their library. Kimball was also very helpful with personally recollections about birds and birding at the lagoon. Judith Raskin assisted in researching records.