Photo courtesy of
The Golden Trout Fund
The Kern River Preserve,
and environs, was one of the first ten sites in the U.S. to receive "Globally
Important Bird Area" recognition. 339 bird species have been recorded here.
Most significantly, two hundred species nest here including major breeding populations of
Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Summer Tanager, and Willow Flycatcher. Audubon-California is engaged
in a habitat enhancement program to benefit the Preserve's nesting wetland
species including Wood Duck, Mallard, and Cinnamon Teal.
photo courtesy Alison Sheehey © Nature Ali
The South Fork Kern River is home to
California's largest lowland riparian forest. It
is one of four "Flagship Projects" of the
California Riparian Habitat Joint Venture. A
shared effort between Audubon-California and The
Nature Conservancy (TNC) saved 1,136 acres of
this forest. In May, 1999, 156 acres of land
forming the new Kelso Creek Sanctuary of the
Kern River Preserve was purchased by Audubon.
On March 31,
acquired 1,640 acres of
Sprague Ranch. Because
of this purchase Audubon’s Kern River
Preserve now includes another
5 miles of frontage on the South Fork Kern
River. Then in early 2006,
another 105 acres was acquired from the
Alexander family. In 2009, two parcels were
purchased from heirs of the Alexander family for
a total of 106 acres. At last count the total
acreage of the contiguous preserve to 2,987 acres.
Audubon-California's Kern River Preserve, a "National Natural
Landmark," is located fifty-seven miles northeast of Bakersfield along the South Fork
Kern River in Weldon, Kern County, California. Our
headquarters is found on the old A. Brown Ranch. The
decaying flour mill found just east of the Preserve's entrance stands testament to its
The Preserve is open dawn to dusk every day of the year. See our Travel Information page
for maps and directions.