Birds of Prey

San Luis Obispo is home to an abundant amount of wildlife. Birds of prey are abundant, if you look up, you are likely to see one. I’ve often seen hawks with prey in their talons. I’ve seen them with mice, rats, I’ve even seen one with a snake, but I’ve never been able to capture one with my camera. Until a beautiful spring day in Avila Beach, CA. An osprey I was watching swooped down and caught a fish out of San Luis Creek, and I managed to catch it! So, I have been inspired to dedicate a page to all the birds of prey I’ve seen in San Luis Obispo County.


Osprey wingspan
Osprey Flying in Avila Beach, California
Osprey with fish
Osprey Catching Fish
Osprey Catching a Fish
Osprey with fish in talons in California
Osprey Perch
Osprey (Fish Hawk) on Perch


Osprey Misses fishOsprey Wings down

Golden Eagle

I felt more than saw or heard this flying over me in Poly Canyon, San Luis Obispo. I had heard that there was a Golden Eagle there by a birding group out of Morro Bay that I had been speaking with. They had said that they hadn’t seen the eagle this year yet. I had a few false alarms, but when this guy swooped over me, I knew that it wasn’t another hawk! What a beautiful bird, and huge too!

Golden Eagle
Golden Eagle in San Luis Obispo, CA

Red Tailed Hawk

While Red Tailed Hawks are a common bird in California, I still get excited every time I see one. They are just beautiful, and their colors amaze me. The vibrant red tails are just great.

Red tail Hawk 1
Red Tailed Hawk in Poly Canyon
red tail young
Juvenile Red Tailed Hawk
Red Tail Hawk
Red Tailed Hawk on Perch at Avila Ridge Trail

Red Shouldered Hawks

These slightly less common hawks are also seen in around San Luis Obispo, CA.

Red Shouldered Hawk
Red Shouldered Hawk

Turkey Vultures

Turkey Vultures, while perhaps not known for being the most beautiful bird in the world, are one of my favorites. They have a huge wingspan up to 6 feet long, and can weigh up to 5 lbs. They are carrion feeders, and the ones below were attempting to eat a seal that had washed up in Port San Luis.

Turkey Vulture on Cliff
Turkey Vulture in California
Turkey Vulture with full wings spread
Turkey Vulture soaring over Pismo Beach, CA

Fish Eagle

Switching continents to Africa, the Fish Eagle is an amazing bird. The African Fish Eagle can be found through sub-saharan Africa. We have seen them in Zimbabwe and Botswana.

African Fish Eagle flying over the Zambezi River in Zimbabwe


Carmine Bee Eaters

While the Carmine Bee Eater isn’t necessarily a bird of prey, they are one of my favorite birds, so I included them. They live in holes they burrow in cliff faces and have beautiful pink, red, and blue plumage. This group of birds was seen on the banks of the Zambezi River in Mana Pools.

Carmine Bee Eater.jpg


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