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Birding Around Furnace Creek
Birding Around Las Vegas, Death Valley National Park
Birding Around Furnace Creek
Furnace Creek
Furnace Creek duck pond and viewing platform (view SW)

Description

With few exceptions, the overwhelming impression one gets of the floor of Death Valley is that it is an extremely hot and dry land that is unencumbered by the burden of dirt and vegetation. To most birds, the entire area probably looks barren. Furnace Creek, an irrigated oasis, is one of those exceptions where lush green vegetation stands in stark contrast to the surrounding desert.

Water from springs and irrigation supports a lush oasis with palm trees, mesquite and athel tamarisk thickets, shrubs and other vegetation, a golf course, and a resort. The vegetation provides food and cover for a great variety of birds and other animals, and the birding can be quite good during migration because birds from miles around are concentrated in the oasis.

Death Valley National Park, Furnace Creek
The golf course is good for all sorts of unexpected birds (view W)

While not a wilderness experience, this is a great place to bird. Check the trees and thickets around the campground, bird around the golf course (but they don't like non-golfers, so scan from the edges), check the grove of palm trees, and look in the residential area for hummingbird feeders and roadrunners. The Furnace Creek Inn, about a mile south of the Visitor Center, is another interesting, semi-urban birding spot with grand old buildings, palm trees, and flowing water.

Location

Furnace Creek is located in the central portion of Death Valley National Park, in and around the Furnace Creek Visitor Center area.

From Las Vegas, drive northwest for about 2.5 hours to the Furnace Creek Visitor Center (Table 1, Site 712) in Death Valley National Park. From the Visitor Center, walk into the campground, the date palm grove, and along the edge of the gold course.

Death Valley National Park, Furnace Creek
The Date Palm grove can provide good birding (view NW)

Hours

The park is always open, but the birding sites should be considered day-use only. Birders should scan the golf course from the edge during the day when golfers are playing (but you might try to sneak in early in the morning and late in the afternoon).

Fees

After getting into the park, there are no additional fees.

Specialties

Furnace Creek is good for finding migrants and desert species, but the species mix depends on the season, and during migration it depends on just who is moving through at the time. Review the park bird list for some ideas on what to expect during the time of year when you will be visiting.

Furnace Creek
Pond and palms at Furnace Creek Inn
Furnace Creek
Pond and palms at Furnace Creek Inn
Furnace Creek
Pond and palms at Furnace Creek Inn
Furnace Creek
Stream and palms at Furnace Creek Inn
Death Valley National Park, Furnace Creek
This little pond on the edge of the golf course is almost not quite past the "keep off" signs (view NE)
Death Valley National Park, Furnace Creek
The Athel Tamarisk trees in the campground provide a little shade and a place to look for birds (view NW)
Furnace Creek
Furnace Creek duck pond (view SW)
Furnace Creek
More to come ...

Table 1. GPS Coordinates for Highway Locations (NAD27; UTM Zone 11S). Download Highway GPS Waypoints (*.gpx) file.

Site Location Latitude (°N) Longitude (°W) UTM Easting UTM Northing Elevation (feet) Verified
0712 Death Valley Visitor Center 36.4616 116.8657 512030 4034954 -186 Yes

Happy birding! All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 170630

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