A practical guide to bird watching in Sonoma County, California

(Unless otherwise indicated, all phone numbers are in the 707 area code)


Doyle Park, Santa Rosa, 95405

Location aliases: Officially Doyle Community Park, but usually referred to as Doyle Park.

Imagery ©2012 DigitalGlobe, USDA Farm Service Agency, GeoEye, Map data ©2011 Google

Location: The main entrance is at 700 Doyle Park Dr., Santa Rosa, CA 95405, but see "Access" below.

GPS address: 700 Doyle Park Dr., Santa Rosa, CA 95405

GPS Coordinates: The Doyle Park Dr. entrance is at 38 27 14N, 122 42 14W or 38.454N, 122.704W.

Access: Doyle Park is at the confluence of Spring Creek and Matanzas Creek. To the west of the confluence the two creeks become Santa Rosa Creek. The park is bounded roughly by Sonoma Ave in the north, Hoen Ave. to the east, and Vallejo St. to the south. There is an entrance from each of these streets. The main entrance is via Doyle Park Dr, which is a turn-off from Sonoma Ave.

Habitats: Suburban park, mature oaks (some truly impressive, old trees), mature bay and evergreens, mature eucalyptus, riparian corridors.

Recommended route: Most of the bird activity is along the creek corridors on either side of the park. There are paths at the park level that allow a full circuit--including the area around the baseball diamond as well as the areas to the west of the ballpark. In many places there are trails lower down that allow you to walk closer to the creeks as well, but these are broken in places by thick vegetation, which requires a quick ascent to the park level before a dip back down to a path closer to the water again. In other words, there is no completely unobstructed path around the park close to the water, but it is nevertheless possible to make a pretty full circuit of the park near the water's edge, if you're willing to occasionally avoid obstacles. 

Typical Species: Oak titmouse, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Western Scrub-jay, American Crow, House Finch, Dark-eyed Junco, White-breasted Nuthatch, American Robin, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Orange-crowned Warbler, Townsend's Warbler, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Black Phoebe, California Towhee, Spotted Towhee, Northern Mockingbird, Western Bluebird, Downy Woodpecker, Acorn Woodpecker, Nuttall's Woodpecker, Red-shouldered Hawk, Turkey Vulture, Golden-crowned Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, Lesser Goldfinch, American Goldfinch

Unusual birds, sightings: Wood Ducks (February 18, 2012, Glo and Al Wellman); Varied Thrush (January 24, 2012, Colin Talcroft)

Restroom facilities: Permanent toilets near the main grassy area. Portables elsewhere in the park.

Restaurants Nearby: Doyle Park is just north of downtown Santa Rosa, which offers many choices. So, if you're heading south, it makes sense to head into town to eat. If you're heading north (say, going to Lake Ralphine or Spring Lake, restaurants at Montgomery Village shopping center may make more sense. See pages for nearby birding areas below for suggestions.  

Nearby attractions: See pages for nearby areas below for suggestions.

Related bird watching spots: Doyle Park is very close to the center of Santa Rosa. Any of the birding spots listed in the Santa Rosa area on the front page of this site is in easy striking distance, but the closest would be: Annadel State Park, Arroyo Sierra Dr., Brush Creek Trail, Channel Dr., Lake Ralphine, Melita Rd., Spring Lake Park, and Strawberry School Park

Notes: I've never had any trouble here, but Doyle Park has a reputation for attracting drug dealers, transients, and alcoholics. While it may be unfair to assume these people will cause problems, the place can sometimes feel vaguely threatening, and I've felt a bit nervous there at times. Best to stay alert. I would avoid the park after dark and would recommend women walking alone stay to the main paths during daylight hours. 

All photos by the author, unless otherwise indicated

Maps by Google Maps