Wednesday, November 12, 2014


Although I've been a devoted pilgrim to the Greater Palm Springs area for over fifteen years, I have never visited the Coachella Valley Wild Bird Center in Indio. Today I did.

I'd heard about it from friends who saw pelicans, raptors, shorebirds and waterfowl. The centre is located across the tracks in an industrial area and is part of the Indio water treatment plant of all things!! Apparently the birds love it – it must be the smell. Not a reek, but definitely a noticeable smell. They gather on the ponds in large numbers, but on a windy morning they were skittish and disliked my presence. I had to creep up on the ducks behind trees and reeds.

The centre cares for and rehabilitates orphaned, injured, and sick native wild birds with the goal of releasing them back into their natural habitats. Sadly for me, there wasn't one in the hospital cages, inside or out.

However, I enjoyed walking around the man-made wetlands that are also part of the centre and the water treatment plant. The water, plants, animals and microorganisms here clean the water and provide a stopover for migrating birds on the flyway. One million gallons per day of waste water circulate through the ponds and marshes covering fifteen acres.

About two miles of paths wind through the wetlands and there are two observation towers that give clear views of the ponds over eight foot high reeds. My camera's shutter spooked a flock of ducks that wheeled over the ponds in unison. Enjoyable visit, but not spectacular today.


  • Admission is free but donations are suggested as the center depends on them to function. Take cash, there's no ability to deal with credit or debit cards. 
  • Two-hour, guided birdwalks take place on the first Saturday of the month from October to May at 8 a.m., but self-guided tours through the wetlands are easy on flat, gravel paths.
  • GPS address: 46-500 Van Buren Street, Indio, CA.

IMAGES: © Photos by Pharos 2014

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