Ever since I was a little tyke growing up in beautiful Buenos Aires, I have always been a bird fan. As I started traveling and seeing the world, my binoculars and camera were never far from reach. And when I moved to the Palm Springs Valley, I felt like I had discovered the Holy Grail, for not only could I venture a mere two hours in any direction to find mountain birds, shore birds, or desert birds—I was living in one of the largest migratory fly ways on earth.
Sadly, just like people and animals, some of these local or migrating birds get sick or injured. Thankfully, since 1995, the Coachella Valley Wild Bird Center in Indio has been there to care for and rehabilitate native birds. Last year for my birthday, my good friend Danny surprised me with a visit to this amazing non-profit organization’s facilities just a short drive from my home in Rancho Mirage.
We took a tour with the center’s executive director Linda York, who introduced us to a number of feathered friends that were being cared for with the ultimate goal of having them be released back into their native habitat. A few others are permanent residents as a result of serious injuries or blindness, and have become beloved mascots. But seeing those on the mend was an amazing sight. A whole range of owls (including Long-Eared, Barn, and Great Horned), stately hawks and falcons, adorable quails, cormorants, roadrunners, and a number of White and endangered Brown Pelicans were all being nursed back to health.
Attached to the facility is a vast wetlands that is part of the Valley Sanitary District’s wastewater treatment process. The elevated bird watching platform provides a great scenic overview with ample opportunity to watch a tremendous variety of both resident and migratory waterfowl like Greater Yellowlegs, American Avocets, Great Egrets, and various ducks and geese.
The Coachella Valley Wild Bird Center is a wonderfully unusual outing for both visitors and locals, and offers bird-lovers the chance to get up close and personal with some of the most beautiful winged creatures in the world. www.coachellavalleywildbirdcenter.com