Plumas County, California

Helen Green, 2001 Yolo Ave., Berkeley, CA 94707
Daniel A. Airola, Jones & Stokes Associates, 2600 V. St.
Sacramento, CA 95818
July 1998


Lake Almanor and surrounding lands in northern Plumas County support a varied mix of habitats and a tremendous abundance of bird life. A total of 231 bird species have been recorded in this area. The checklist is designed to help birders identify the species that occur in the Almanor area, and their seasonal occurrence, relative abundance, breeding, and habitats.

Uplands surrounding Lake Almanor support a diverse mosaic of forest, scrub, meadow, lake, and marsh habitats. These areas also support a diversity of native birds and other wildlife.

Checklist Area

This checklist includes Lake Almanor and surrounding lands within the northern portion of Plumas County. The north, east, and west boundaries of the checklist area are formed by the Plumas County line. The southern boundary includes the town of Canyon Dam, Butt Lake, Humbug Valley, and Humbug Summit.

Breeding Status

= Breeding confirmed (by observation of nests, adults carrying food to young, or recently fledged young)

PR = Probably breeds, but not confirmed (observed regularly in suitable habitat during nesting season)

PO = Possibly breeds

Abundance Codes

Abundance categories reflect each species' relative abundance and observability in occupied habitats during each season. For owls, rails, and other species difficult to detect, codes reflect likelihood of observation using specialized census techniques.

c =Common - many individuals always or usually encountered
f =Fairly Common - small numbers usually encountered; sometimes abundant
u =Uncommon - a few individuals usually observed
r =Rare - seldom observed; often highly localized or markedly seasonal
x =Extremely Rare - 5 or fewer records for the checklist area during the designated season


Sp =Spring: March-May
Su =Summer: June-August
F =Fall: September-November
W = Winter: December-February


Habitats are listed for each species in order of general preference in the following categories:

A =Aerial: most often seen in flight
O =Open water of lakes, rivers, ponds
M =Marsh
S = Shoreline, mudflats, and adjacent shallow water areas
G = Grasslands, meadows
R = Riparian woodland and scrub
F = Conifer forest
C = Chaparral and other upland shrub habitats, and recently logged or burned forest
B = Bluffs, cliffs, other rocky areas, and earthen banks
D = Developed human habitats

Species Breeding Status Sp Su F W Habitat
Red-throated Loon         x O
Pacific Loon         r O
Common Loon   c r c f O
Pied-billed Grebe PR f f f c O
Horned Grebe   f   f f O
Red-necked Grebe     x   x O
Eared Grebe PO f f f c O,M
Western Grebe CO c c c c O
Clark's Grebe CO u f f r O
American White Pelican   u c f   O
Double-crested Cormorant CO u f u r O
Great Blue Heron CO c c c c S,M,G
Great Egret   r r f r S,M
Snowy Egret     r r   S
Cattle Egret   x       S
Green Heron PO   x     S
Black-crowned Night-Heron     x     S
White-faced Ibis     x     S
Tundra Swan   c x c c S,O,M
Trumpeter Swan         x S,O,M
Greater White-fronted Goose   r x r r G,S,O,M
Snow Goose   r   r r G,S,O,M
Ross' Goose   x   x x G,S,O,M
Canada Goose CO c c c c G,S,O,M
Wood Duck CO u f u x S,O
Green-winged Teal PO f r f f O,S,M
Mallard CO c c c c O,S,M
Northern Pintail PO c f c f O,S
Blue-Winged Teal   r   r   O,S
Cinnamon Teal CO f f f x O,S,M
Northern Shoveler   f u f f O,S
Gadwall CO f f f c O,S,M
Eurasian Wigeon       r x O,S
American Wigeon   f r f c O,S
Canvasback   f   f f O,S
Redhead PO f r f c O,S
Ring-necked Duck CO f u f f O,S,M
Greater Scaup       r f O,S
Lesser Scaup PO u r u c O,S,M
Oldsquaw       x   O
Surf Scoter       x x  
White-winged Scoter       x   O
Common Goldeneye   u   u c O,S
Barrow's Goldeneye       r r O,S
Bufflehead CO f u f c O,M,F
Hooded Merganser   u   u f O,S
Common Merganser CO f f c c O,F
Red-breasted Merganser       x r O
Ruddy Duck PO u u f c O,M
Turkey Vulture PR u f f   A,B
Osprey CO u c u x O,F
Bald Eagle CO u u f f O,F
Northern Harrier   r r r u G,M
Sharp-shinned Hawk   r   r u F,R
Cooper's Hawk PR u r u u R,F
Northern Goshawk CO r r r r F
Red-shouldered Hawk   x x r r R
Red-tailed Hawk CO f f f f F,R,G
Rough-legged Hawk         u G,R
Golden Eagle PO r r r x F,G
American Kestrel PR r r r   G,R,F,C
Merlin   r x r x F,G,S
Peregrine Falcon       x x S,G
Prairie Falcon   r   r r G,S
Ring-necked Pheasant         x G
Blue Grouse PR u u u r F,G,C
California Quail CO u u u u C,R,F
Mountain Quail CO u u u u F,C,R
Virginia Rail     r   x M
Sora PO   r     M
American Coot CO c c c c O,M
Sandhill Crane CO u u u   G,M
Black-bellied Plover   x x     S
Snowy Plover     x x   S
Semipalmated Plover   r   r   S
Killdeer CO c c c c S,G,M,D
Black-necked Stilt   r u r   S
American Avocet   u   u   S
Greater Yellowlegs   u u f x S
Lesser Yellowlegs     x     S
Willet   u u u   S,M
Spotted Sandpiper CO f f f x S
Long-billed Curlew   r       S,G
Marbled Godwit   r   r   S,G
Western Sandpiper   r r u x S
Least Sandpiper     u u r S
Baird's Sandpiper       u   S
Pectoral Sandpiper       r   S
Dunlin   x     x S
Long-billed Dowitcher     u u x S
Common Snipe PR u f f f G,M
Wilson's Phalarope PR f f f   M,O,S
Red-necked Phalarope   x   x   O,M
Franklin's Gull         x O
Bonaparte's Gull   u r f f O
Mew Gull         x O,S
Ring-billed Gull   f f c c O,S
California Gull CO r f c c O,S
Herring Gull       u f O,S
Thayer's Gull         x O,S
Glaucous-winged Gull         x O,S
Caspian Tern   r r     O,A,S
Forster's Tern CO u f u x O,A,M,S
Black Tern PR r r     A,M,S,O
Rock Dove PO f f f f D
Band-tailed Pigeon CO u u u x F,R
Mourning Dove CO u f u r C
Great Horned Owl PR f f f f All
Northern Pygmy-Owl PR f f f f F,R
Spotted Owl CO r r r r F
Long-eared Owl     x     R
Short-eared Owl         x G
Northern Saw-whet Owl PR r r r r F
Common Nighthawk CO u c u   A,F
Common Poorwill PR r r r   C,A,F
Vaux's Swift PR r u r   F
Anna's Hummingbird PR f f f   C,D,F
Calliope Hummingbird CO f f     C,R,D
Rufous Hummingbird   u f x   C,D
Belted Kingfisher PR f f f f O,A,B
Lewis' Woodpecker         x C,R,F,G
Red-breasted Sapsucker CO u f u u F,R
Williamson's Sapsucker CO u u u f F
Nuttall's Woodpecker         x R
Downy Woodpecker CO u u f f R,F
Hairy Woodpecker CO c c c c F,R
White-headed Woodpecker CO c c c c F,R
Black-backed Woodpecker CO r r r r F
Northern Flicker CO c c c c C,F,R,G
Pileated Woodpecker CO u u u u F,R
Olive-sided Flycatcher CO f f     F,R
Western Wood-Pewee CO c c     F,R
Willow Flycatcher CO f f     R
Hammond's Flycatcher CO f f     F
Dusky Flycatcher CO c c     C,F
Gray Flycatcher   x   x   C
Black Phoebe   x     x G,D
Say's Phoebe   x x     G
Ash-throated Flycatcher     x     G
Western Kingbird   r   r   G
Horned Lark CO f f f u G,S
Tree Swallow CO c c f   A,F,R
Violet-green Swallow   f f     AF,R,B
Northern Rough-winged Swallow CO u u     R,G,D
Cliff Swallow CO c c     D,R,A,B
Barn Swallow CO f f f   D,R,A,B
Gray Jay CO u u u u F
Steller's Jay CO c c c c F
Western Scrub-Jay   r   r x C,F
Pinyon Jay       x x F
Clark's Nutcracker PR u u u f F
Black-billed Magpie       r r G,R,D
American Crow       x   G
Common Raven PR f f f c S,G,D
Mountain Chickadee CO c c c c F,R,C
Bushtit CO u u u u C
Red-breasted Nuthatch CO c c c c F,R
White-breasted Nuthatch CO f f f f F,R
Pygmy Nuthatch CO f u f f F,R
Brown Creeper CO f f f f F,R
Rock Wren PR r r r r B
Bewick's Wren CO u u u u C,R
House Wren CO f c f   C,R,D
Winter Wren CO f r f u F,R,C
Marsh Wren PO r c r x M
American Dipper CO f f f f S,B
Golden-crowned Kinglet CO c c c c F,R
Ruby-crowned Kinglet PR u u f f R,F,C
Western Bluebird PO f u f r G,R,F,C
Mountain Bluebird CO f f f x G,C,S
Townsend's Solitaire CO f f f u F,B,D
Swainson’s Thrush     x     R
Hermit Thrush CO f f f x F,R
American Robin CO c c c f F,R,G
Varied Thrush   r   r r F,R
Wrentit         x C,R
American Pipit   r   r f G,S
Bohemian Waxwing         x C,R
Cedar Waxwing       x x C,R,F,D
Northern Shrike         r G,R
Loggerhead Shrike         x G,R
European Starling CO f f f f D,G,S
Solitary Vireo CO f f r   F,R
Hutton's Vireo         x R
Warbling Vireo CO c c r   R,F
Orange-crowned Warbler PO f f c x R,C,F
Nashville Warbler CO u u u   F,R,C
Yellow Warbler CO c c f   C,R
Yellow-rumped Warbler CO c c c r F,R,C
Black-throated Gray Warbler   u r u   C,R,F
Townsend's Warbler   r   r   F
Hermit Warbler CO f c u   F
MacGillivray's Warbler CO f c u   R,C
Common Yellowthroat       x   M,S
Wilson's Warbler CO f c u   R,C
Western Tanager CO f c u   F,R
Rose-breasted Grosbeak   x x     D,R
Black-headed Grosbeak CO f f u   F,R,C
Blue Grosbeak     x     R,G
Lazuli Bunting PR   u u   C,R
Indigo Bunting     x     D
Green-tailed Towhee PR f f f r C
Spotted Towhee CO f f f u R,C
American Tree Sparrow         x R,G
Chipping Sparrow CO u c u   F
Sage Sparrow     x     C
Savannah Sparrow PR f f f   G,M
Fox Sparrow CO f c r r C,R,F
Song Sparrow CO f f f f R
Lincoln's Sparrow CO r r r   G,F
White-throated Sparrow         x  
Golden-crowned Sparrow       f r R,C,D
White-crowned Sparrow PR f u f r R,C,D
Dark-eyed Junco CO c c c c F,R,G,C,D
Lapland Longspur         x G,S
Red-winged Blackbird CO u c u x M,G,S
Western Meadowlark PR u u u r G
Yellow-headed Blackbird PO   u u   M,G,S
Brewer's Blackbird CO f c c f G,S,R,D,C
Brown-headed Cowbird CO c c u x R,C,F,D,G
Bullock's Oriole   x       R
Pine Grosbeak         x  
Purple Finch PR u f u u F,R
Cassin's Finch CO c c c c F,R
House Finch         r D,R
Red Crossbill CO f f f f F
Pine Siskin CO f f f f F,R
Lesser Goldfinch   r f r x R,G
American Goldfinch   x   x x G,R
Evening Grosbeak CO f f f f F,R
House Sparrow CO f f f f D

Reporting of Rare Species

Please report sightings from the checklist area of species not included on the checklist or those with abundance code X to one of the authors (see addresses above, and email: or to the Almanor Ranger District wildlife biologist (916/258-2141).