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Sonny Bono National Wildlife Reserve

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Review Highlights
Birders need to go at least once

The Salton Sea, especially the southern end, is a migratory hot spot. It is also the most reliable... read more

Reviewed 25 October 2017
Judith D
Berkeley, California
Very interesting

This is a unique place. The Salton Sea was created by accident. Struggling to survive ever since... read more

Reviewed 6 March 2017
Palm Springs
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Traveller Overview
  • Excellent41%
  • Very good35%
  • Average16%
  • Poor5%
  • Terrible3%
Travellers talk about
“bird watching”(5 reviews)
“visitor center”(11 reviews)
“rocky hill”(2 reviews)
Nature preserve with abundant bird viewing.
Route 111, Calipatria, CA
+1 760-348-5278
Reviews (54)
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All reviewsbird watchingvisitor centerrocky hillnature centerbirdersbirdsbinocularsviewingplatformgulltrailmillionshabitatsinclair
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1 - 10 of 52 reviews
Reviewed 30 April 2018

We visited on a Monday and there wasn't another person anywhere in sight but the restrooms, viewing platforms and trails were open so we walked up to the rocky hill formation and observed many species of waterfowl reasonably close up so they were easily identifiable....More

Thank Linda W
Reviewed 1 April 2018 via mobile

There are a number of areas to bird that are encompassed in the Sonny Bono tract. All should be visited. But the main visitor center is the best. There are so many birds to see there if you bird at one place at the Salton...More

Thank danielKeiran
Reviewed 8 January 2018

Sonny Bono NWR, Imperial Wildlife Wisteria Unit, and Finney-Ramer Unit are terrible places to go. The roads to them are unkept especially Finley-Ramer which at one time had shelters. There is no visitor center at any of them. The Wister Unit was closed to the...More

Thank Carol F
Reviewed 25 October 2017

The Salton Sea, especially the southern end, is a migratory hot spot. It is also the most reliable place to see the Yellow-footed Gull. If you don't have that species on your life list, get thee to the sea. The habitat is funky, and the...More

Thank Judith D
Reviewed 6 March 2017

This is a unique place. The Salton Sea was created by accident. Struggling to survive ever since. The sea is a rest stop for millions of migrating birds. Two nice areas (a good distance apart) to wander around. Both have viewing towers. The area with...More

Thank J S
Reviewed 7 February 2017

If you enjoy birdwatching, particularly waterfowl, this Reserve is definitely worth the visit. In February one sees thousands of snow geese, red-winged blackbirds, and hundreds of sandhill cranes. Plus there are burrowing owls. The Visitor Center has maps and knowledgeable people to point you in...More

1  Thank DulciTraveler
Reviewed 20 January 2017

Don't go without binoculars. In December there are masses of birds migrating through. There is an interesting visitor's center and a cactus garden.

Thank Jaauca
Reviewed 7 January 2017

Traveling from San Diego to Las Vegas and decided to stop here. First of all follow the directions from the NWR website and you will have not problem finding the vistors center. Walked the trail and saw lots of birds. If you are into bird...More

Thank Richard R
Reviewed 1 January 2017

If one is not a birder I don't imagine the hiking is worth it. But if you are-- this yields an amazing number of species of interest. The staff at the visitor center were incredibly helpful. We saw our first Burrowing Owls! right outside in...More

1  Thank LaurettaYoung
Reviewed 28 October 2016

We spent an afternoon and evening here - wonderful views of birds in a peaceful quiet place. As the sunset we saw scores of birds coming in to roost and even saw a family of coyotes in the distance.

Thank Pakal K
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28 December 2017|
Response from Judith D | Reviewed this property |
Yes, that would be a good time for birding. You'll find lots of geese and ducks, wading birds (herons and egrets), and wintering shorebirds. I believe that the Yellow-footed Gulls, a specialty that birders go there to see... More