The San Lorenzo is the largest (and possibly the most beautiful) watershed in Santa Cruz County, spanning 135 square miles. The last stretch of the river with predominantly fresh water (little to no seawater influence) runs from the Highway 1 bridge to the Water Street bridge. This section of the urban river is home to a host of unique plant species including California sycamore, creek dogwood, and thimble berry.The generous populations of trees and shrubs in this section of the San Lorenzo River provide for a variety of beautiful bird species.
Sparrows and finches are among the most numerous birds. Song sparrows and house finches nest in the shrubs and trees along the banks all year round. Other year-round residents include black phoebes and swallows which often build nests on the nearby bridges.
The violet green swallow, cliff swallow and the rough-winged swallow are cavity nesters meaning they build mud nests on bridges or buildings. They also dig holes along the muddy riverbank to nest in. Swallows are most commonly seen during their breeding season which spans late March to July.
Seasonal winter visitors include the white crowned sparrow and lincoln’s sparrow as well as the american and lesser goldfinches.
Listen to some of these bird songs here:
- song sparrow
- house finch
- violet green swallow
- cliff swallow
- rough-winged swallow
If you happen to go out along the San Lorenzo and snap some pictures of the local birds we would love to share them. E-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org. We credit all photographers!
Learn more about the work of the Coastal Watershed Council and the San Lorenzo River Alliance here.
Take the Self-Guided Mobile Tour