I’ve always thought Palm Springs was just for golfers or old people zipping to happy hours in their golf carts. On a recent trip, I discovered that Palm Springs is a fabulous place for hiking and bird watching. Did you know Palm Springs is a great place to bird watch?
I joined up with a group of birders at Coachella Valley Preserve and loved poking around several oasis for desert birds but one of my best bird encounters was on the patio of my VRBO rental in Palm Desert.
What I first thought was the soft coo of a dove turned out to be the call of a male roadrunner trying to attract females and set boundaries with other males.
Roadrunners often got the best of Wile E. Coyote in Warner Brothers’ cartoons. They can also get the best of rattlesnakes – they aren’t affected by the snake venom – and sometimes work in pairs to kill the snakes. Like many birds they suffer from habitat loss so it was a real treat to spot a roadrunner living a roadrunner’s life in Palm Desert, California.Did you know roadrunners are impervious to snake venom?
The roadrunner in this video was very approachable as I turned my camera on his courtship display. At one point he even ran towards me, perhaps thinking a female was hiding on our VRBO patio.
Video of Roadrunner and hummingbirds
Palm Springs has many great places for bird watching. My favorites are:
Coachella Valley Preserve Guided hikes most mornings at 7:30 a.m. from October to March.
Living Desert Museum Annual memberships are $99 but let you hike/bird every morning at 7am before the facility opens to the public.
Joshua Tree National Park Hidden Valley hiking trail (1.6 kilometers) didn’t have a lot of birds the day I visited (maybe it was too windy) but it was fun looking in the boulder-strewn landscapes.
Other recommendations by bird-loving friends include:
If you’ve visited Palm Springs what are your favourite places to hike or bird watch?
Also published on Medium.