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Wildlife Viewing - Cosumnes River Preserve

Learn More About Plants and Wildlife

Within the Preserve, we have observed over 250 species of bird, 40 species of fish, 230 varieties of plant, and untold numbers of reptiles and amphibians. We provide a number of brochures listing the animals known to inhabit the preserve, along with their migration patterns, so that you can go bird-watching or animal-photographing and check each species off as you discover it. Quietly exploring the preserve with binoculars and a telephoto lens is a brilliant way to observe animals that can be exceedingly rare living wildly in their natural habitat.

Printable lists and brochures:

Also, check out the Crane Finder website to see where cranes have been sighted all over the U.S.

There are over 250 species of birds at Cosumnes River Preserve. These images were taken by Preserve volunteers and staff. To learn more about specific species that are common at the Preserve, download our “See the Cranes” and “Birds of CRP” brochure.

River otters, skunks, deer, bobcats, coyotes….the list goes on! There are many types of mammals that call Cosumnes River Preserve home. Though they are not as common to see as birds, you may just get a view from afar if you’re lucky. Like all the creatures at the Preserve, it is always best to keep a distance from wildlife. Check out our tips for viewing wildlife.

There are 40 species of fish and countless numbers of reptiles and amphibians that live in and around the Cosumnes River. Quick and well-hidden, these natives of the Preserve are rarely spotted, but when you do, it’s quite the sight! Check out our tips for watching wildlife and learn the best ways to sight these fleeting creatures.

Shrubs and vines and grasses, oh my! There are 230 varieties of plants species at the Preserve and their beautiful displays over the season will not disappoint. Trees, shrubs, vines, grasses, perennials, annuals, and so many more. To see the full list of plants, click the “Plants of CRP” link. To learn more about specific plants, click “Plant of the Day” on our homepage!

Tips for Watching Wildlife

Wildlife viewing can be an exciting, rewarding experience. But like all forms of outdoor recreation, wildlife viewing, if practiced irresponsibly, can threaten the very wildlife that we enjoy. Consider the effects of your presence and your actions – there is a fine line between viewing and violating the natural world.

Common sense is your best tool, but the following ideas will help you enjoy wildlife respectfully.

1. Do Your Homework
Prepare by glancing through field guides and reading up on the wildlife you hope to see. Knowing about the needs and behavior of animals will make spotting and identifying them easier, and will also help you avoid disturbing them.

2. Look, Don’t Touch!
Attempting to touch a wild animal is dangerous for you and the animal. Remember that young birds and other animals that are alone have probably not been abandoned – their parents may be waiting nearby. Consult with the site staff if you think an animal needs to be rescued.

3. Don’t Feed the Ducks…Or Other Wildlife
Feeding wildlife can interrupt the natural life cycles of animals, create unnaturally high populations, cause animals to lose their wildness, and provide poor nutrition.

4. Silence is Golden
Move quietly and encourage your companions to do likewise. Not only will this lessen the wildlife disturbance, you will also see more wildlife.

5, Stay On Trail
Walk only on trails and restrict your bicycles and vehicles to the road. Wandering off-trail can disturb wildlife, kill vegetation, cause erosion, and injure small animals that we may not even see. Remember that pets are not allowed on trails.

6. Do Unto Others
Be considerate of other wildlife viewers and nearby landowners. Obtain permission before entering private property and leave it undisturbed. Serve as a goodwill ambassador for other wildlife viewers!

7. Take Nothing, Leave Nothing
Do not collect or relocate natural objects or wildlife, as this reduces viewing opportunities for others and removes materials from the earth’s nutrient cycle. Transporting animals, plants, or fish from one site to another can disrupt a wildlife community and introduce competition, predation, or disease.

8. Don’t Call Us, We’ll Call You
Using recorded or hand calls to attract wildlife has been shown to cause undue stress on some species by interrupting courtship, nesting, and feeding. Listen instead to the different and beautiful calls the animals themselves make.

9. Too Close for Comfort
If an animal seems nervous, back off. Use binoculars and zoom lenses to view and photograph wildlife from a distance. Do not annoy or flush wildlife for a better photograph.

10. Hide and Seek
Concealing yourself among plants can prevent your being detected, but try not to damage plant life. On roads, your vehicle can act as a blind as some animals are more afraid of people on foot. Sometimes it is better to sit still, immerse yourself in the beauty around you, and wait to see what wildlife will come to you.