University of California, Riverside

UCR Botanic Gardens



Wildlife at the Botanic Gardens


The UCR Botanic Gardens is a certified National Wildlife Federation (https://www.nwf.org) Wildlife Habitat, providing shelter, water, and food sources for a myriad of reptiles, amphibians, and mammals. All of these animals are important to the Gardens’ ecosystem, which also provides a habitat corridor for animals moving among protected spaces in Riverside. Please respect them and their home and do not approach or disturb them. We ask that you report any rattlesnake sightings in the Gardens to a staff member.

Reptiles and Amphibians

A number of reptiles may be observed at the Gardens. The Western fence lizard, alligator lizard and granite spiny lizard often sun themselves on ledges beside the paths. The California legless lizard, side-blotched lizard, western skink, orange-throated whiptail and western whiptail might also be seen. Other reptiles found in the Gardens include a number of nonvenomous snakes, including the California king snake, gopher snake, night snake, red racer, ringneck snake, rosy boa and western blind snake. The Gardens is also home to the venomous western diamondback rattlesnake and red diamond rattlesnake, which have been seen in all parts of the Gardens including occasionally the lawn areas. Visitors should observe all Gardens rules and keep children under close watch.

Some of the amphibians you might see include the slender salamander, Pacific tree frog, bullfrog and western toad. Insects and spiders abound at the Gardens. A specimen box of common insects, obtained from the UCR Entomology Museum, is displayed in the window of the entrance Gatehouse.

Mammals

Mammals found within the Gardens or seen passing through include the Audubon cottontail, California ground squirrel, Botta’s pocket gopher, coyote, gray fox, kangaroo rat, opossum, striped and spotted skunks, pack rat and other rodents. Bobcats are occasionally sighted, and periodically a mountain lion is seen passing through the upper boundary of the Gardens. Most of these animals are nocturnal, so daytime visitors rarely glimpse them since they are most likely to be seen early or late in the day during a visit to the Gardens.

Birds

UCR and the UCR Botanic Gardens are a bird hotspot for permanent resident and migrating avifauna species. Nearly 200 different kinds of birds have been observed in the Gardens since its founding. Some of the more conspicuous species are the Anna's and Costa's hummingbirds, California towhee, mockingbird, raven, red-tailed hawk, roadrunner and scrub jay. Many beginning and experienced bird watchers from the UCR campus and community visit the Gardens to observe birds and record their sightings. The Gardens hosts several expert-led bird walks throughout the year; please check our calendar for an upcoming event.

Several resources are available to help you learn about and report bird sightings in the UCR Botanic Gardens. Visit the UCR Avifauna web page for a list and excellent photos of birds observed in the Gardens. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology hosts a website, https://eBird.org, which, once mastered, is an excellent resource for learning about birds of UCR, the Botanic Gardens, and the surrounding region. This site can be used to generate an eBird Field Checklist of all bird species observed in the Gardens, specified by season, year, or year range. These lists are a great way to guide your bird walk through the Gardens. The Gardens also offers a dated publication on Gardens birds, Birds of the UCR Botanic Gardens, 3rd Edition (revised by Jean Weiss in 2000), which is also available as a small brochure at the entrance Gatehouse.

The UCR Bird Checklist

A checklist of birds observed in the UCR Botanic Gardens was prepared in 1974, updated in 1985, and revised in 2000. We hope to provide an updated edition in the future. While not current, this list provides valuable information on the seasonal occurrence of nearly 200 birds that have been observed over the past 50 years at the UCR Botanic Gardens and elsewhere on the campus. To help us update this list, we invite you to report your new bird sightings by dropping a note in the Gatehouse Suggestion Box at the Gardens entrance. Be sure to give your name, phone number and e-mail address when reporting a sighting.

The four columns to the right of the species list below have a code that indicates the reported seasonal occurrence and abundance of each species. These codes are summarized below.

Key to Symbols

Fall (September - November)
Winter (December - February)
Spring (March - May)
Summer (June - August)

C - Common, likely to be seen on more than 75% of visits.
U - Uncommon, likely to be seen on 10-50% of visits.
R - Rare, likely to be seen less than 10% of visits.
S - A single record, very unlikely to be seen.
- - No records, please let us know if seen.

Fall

Winter

Spring

Summer

Grebes

Pied-billed Grebe

-

C

-

-

Eared Grebe

-

U

-

-

Western Grebe

-

R

-

-

Cormorants

Double-crested Cormorant

U

C

U

-

Herons

Great Blue Heron

C

C

C

-

Great Egret

C

C

C

-

Snowy Egret

C

C

C

-

Cattle Egret

U

U

-

-

Green Heron

-

U

-

-

Black-crowned Night-Heron

-

U

-

-

American Vultures

Turkey Vulture

R

R

R

R

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Fall

Winter

Spring

Summer

Geese & Ducks

Canada Goose

C

C

C

-

Wood Duck

-

R

-

-

Green-winged Teal

U

U

U

-

Mallard

C

C

C

-

Northern Pintail

R

U

R

-

Blue-winged Teal

-

-

R

-

Cinnamon Teal

R

S

R

-

Northern Shoveler

C

C

C

-

Gadwall

U

U

U

-

American Widgeon

C

C

C

-

Canvasback

R

S

R

-

Redhead

R

R

R

-

Ring-necked Duck

U

U

U

-

Lesser Scaup

U

U

U

-

Common Goldeneye

R

R

R

-

Bufflehead

R

R

R

-

Hooded Merganser

U

U

U

-

Common Merganser

R

R

R

-

Ruddy Duck

C

C

C

-

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Fall

Winter

Spring

Summer

Kites, Eagles & Hawks

Osprey

R

R

R

R

White-tailed Kite

U

U

U

U

Northern Harrier

U

U

U

-

Sharp-shinned Hawk

U

U

U

-

Cooper's Hawk

C

C

C

U

Red-shouldered Hawk

C

C

C

C

Swainson's Hawk

-

-

R

-

Red-tailed Hawk

C

C

C

C

Golden Eagle

R

R

R

R

Falcons

American Kestrel

C

C

C

C

Merlin

R

R

-

-

Prairie Falcon

-

R

-

-

New World Quail

California Quail

C

C

C

C

Rails & Coots

Sora

-

-

S

-

American Coot

-

-

S

-

Plovers

Killdeer

C

C

C

-

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Fall

Winter

Spring

Summer

Sandpipers

Greater Yellowlegs

U

U

U

-

Spotted Sandpiper

U

U

U

-

Western Sandpiper

R

-

R

-

Least Sandpiper

U

U

U

-

Long-billed Dowitcher

U

U

U

-

Common Snipe

R

R

R

-

Gulls & Terns

Bonaparte's Gull

R

R

R

-

Mew Gull

-

-

S

-

Ring-billed Gull

C

C

C

-

California Gull

C

C

C

-

Herring Gull

R

R

R

-

Caspian Tern

R

-

R

S

Pigeons & Doves

Rock Dove

C

C

C

C

Band-tailed Pigeon

C

C

C

C

Spotted Dove

C

C

C

C

Mourning Dove

C

C

C

C

Common Ground-Dove

R

R

R

R

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Fall

Winter

Spring

Summer

Cuckoos

Greater Roadrunner

U

U

U

U

Barn Owls

Barn Owl

U

U

U

U

Typical Owls

Western Screech-Owl

R

R

R

R

Great Horned Owl

U

U

U

U

Burrowing Owl

R

R

R

R

Goatsuckers

Lesser Nighthawk

-

S

-

R

Common Poorwill

S

R

-

-

Whip-poor-will

-

S

-

-

Swifts

Vaux's Swift

U

-

U

-

White-throated Swift

C

C

C

C

Hummingbirds

Black-chinned Hummingbird

-

-

C

C

Anna's Hummingbird

C

C

C

C

Costa's Hummingbird

C

U

C

C

Rufous Hummingbird

U

-

U

-

Allen's Hummingbird

U

-

U

-

Kingfishers

Belted Kingfisher

U

U

U

U

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Fall

Winter

Spring

Summer

Woodpeckers

Lewis's Woodpecker

R

R

-

-

Acorn Woodpecker

C

C

C

C

Red-naped Sapsucker

-

S

-

-

Red-breasted Sapsucker

-

U

-

-

Nuttall's Woodpecker

C

C

C

C

Downy Woodpecker

U

U

U

-

Hairy Woodpecker

R

R

-

-

Northern Flicker

C

C

C

R

Tyrant Flycatchers

Olive-sided Flycatcher

R

-

U

-

Western Wood-Pewee

U

-

U

-

Willow Flycatcher

U

-

U

-

Hammond's Flycatcher

-

-

U

-

Gray Flycatcher

-

R

R

-

Pacific-slope Flycatcher

C

S

C

-

Black Phoebe

C

C

C

C

Eastern Phoebe

-

S

-

-

Say's Phoebe

U

U

U

R

Ash-throated Flycatcher

-

S

U

U

Cassin's Kingbird

C

C

C

U

Western Kingbird

U

-

C

C

Shrikes

Loggerhead Shrike

U

U

U

U

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Fall

Winter

Spring

Summer

Vireos

Bell's Vireo

-

-

S

-

Cassin's Vireo

U

R

U

-

Plumbeous Vireo

R

U

U

-

Warbling Vireo

-

-

U

-

Red-eye Vireo

S

-

-

-

Jays & Crows

Steller's Jay

S

-

-

-

Western Scrub-Jay

C

C

C

C

American Crow

C

C

C

C

Common Raven

C

C

C

C

Larks

Horned Lark

U

U

U

U

Swallows

Tree Swallow

C

-

C

-

Violet-green Swallow

C

-

C

-

Northern Rough-winged " "

C

-

C

C

Barn Swallow

C

-

C

U

Cliff Swallow

C

-

C

C

Titmice

Mountain Chickadee

U

U

-

-

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Fall

Winter

Spring

Summer

Bushtits

Bushtit

C

C

C

C

Nuthatches

Red-breasted Nuthatch

S

-

-

-

White-breasted Nuthatch

U

U

-

-

Creepers

Brown Creeper

R

R

-

-

Wrens

Rock Wren

C

C

C

C

Canyon Wren

C

C

C

C

Bewick's Wren

C

C

C

C

House Wren

C

C

C

C

Winter Wren

-

S

-

-

Gnatcatchers

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

U

C

U

R

California Gnatcatcher

R

R

R

R

Kinglets

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

C

C

C

-

Thrushes

Western Bluebird

C

C

C

-

Swainson's Thrush

-

-

C

S

Hermit Thrush

R

R

R

R

American Robin

C

C

C

-

Varied Thrush

-

R

R

-

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Fall

Winter

Spring

Summer

Babblers

Wrentit

U

U

U

U

Mockingbirds & Thrashers

Northern Mockingbird

C

C

C

C

Sage Thrasher

-

S

S

-

California Thrasher

U

U

U

U

Starlings

European Starling

C

C

C

C

Pipits

American Pipit

C

C

C

-

Waxwings

Cedar Waxwing

C

C

C

-

Silky-Flycatchers

Phainopepla

R

-

R

U

Wood-Warblers

Orange-crowned Warbler

U

U

C

-

Nashville Warbler

U

R

U

-

Virginia's Warbler

-

R

-

-

Northern Parula

-

-

S

-

Yellow Warbler

C

R

C

-

Magnolia Warbler

S

-

R

-

Yellow-rumped Warbler

C

C

C

-

Black-throated Gray " "

U

R

U

-

Townsend's Warbler

U

R

U

-

Hermit Warbler

R

-

R

-

Blackburnian Warbler

S

-

-

-

Black-and-White Warbler

R

S

-

-

Worm-eating Warbler

S

-

-

-

Ovenbird

-

S

-

-

MacGillivray's Warbler

R

-

R

-

Common Yellowthroat

R

-

R

-

Hooded Warbler

-

-

S

-

Wilson's Warbler

C

R

C

-

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Fall

Winter

Spring

Summer

Tanagers

Summer Tanager

S

-

-

-

Western Tanager

C

R

C

-

Emberizines

Spotted Towhee

C

C

C

C

California Towhee

C

C

C

C

Rufous-crowned Sparrow

U

U

U

U

Chipping Sparrow

C

U

C

R

Brewer's Sparrow

-

R

-

-

Black-chinned Sparrow

-

-

U

R

Vesper Sparrow

-

U

-

-

Lark Sparrow

U

U

U

U

Sage Sparrow

U

R

U

U

Savannah Sparrow

C

C

C

-

Fox Sparrow

U

U

U

-

Song Sparrow

C

C

C

C

Lincoln's Sparrow

C

C

C

-

White-crowned Sparrow

C

C

C

-

Golden-crowned sparrow

C

C

C

-

Dark-eyed Junco

U

U

U

-

Grosbeaks

Black-headed Grosbeak

C

-

C

U

Blue Grosbeak

-

S

U

U

Lazuli Bunting

R

-

U

U

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Fall

Winter

Spring

Summer

Blackbirds & Orioles

Red-winged Blackbird

C

C

C

C

Tricolored Blackbird

-

R

-

-

Yellow-headed Blackbird

S

-

-

-

Brewer's Blackbird

C

C

C

C

Brown-headed Cowbird

C

C

C

C

Hooded Oriole

U

-

C

C

Bullock's Oriole

U

S

C

C

Fringilline Finches

Purple Finch

U

U

U

-

House Finch

C

C

C

C

Red Crossbill

-

R

-

-

Pine Siskin

U

U

U

-

Lesser Goldfinch

C

C

C

C

Lawrence's Goldfinch

R

R

U

U

American Goldfinch

C

C

C

-

Old World Sparrows

House Sparrow

C

C

C

C

More Information

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

UCR LibrariesCampus Status
Career OpportunitiesDiversity
Visit UCRMaps and Directions

Botanic Gardens Information

Botanic Gardens Schneider House Office
Botanic Gardens

Tel: (951) 784-6962
E-mail: ucrbg@ucr.edu

Mailing Address:
Botanic Gardens
University of California
Riverside, CA 92521-0124

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