San Bernardino National Forest
The San Bernardino National Forest is rich in wildlife species, especially in comparison to surrounding urban areas. Animals depend on specific habitats for food, water, shelter, and space. Knowledge of habitats and the ability to recognize them are valuable tools for wildlife watchers. Wildlife found in different habitats in the Forest include:
Desert chaparral - coastal horned lizards, California thrashers, and western kingbirds.
Rugged cliffs - white-throated swifts, hawks, and ravens.
High-elevation ponderosa pine - juncos, mountain chickadees, and Steller's jays.
Oak woodlands - acorn woodpeckers, western bluebirds, and ground squirrels.
Chaparral - quail, California thrashers, coyotes, and golden eagles (at night: bats and ringtails).
Mixed forest - coyotes, gray foxes, dark-eyed juncos, and songbirds.
Dense conifers - gray squirrels, spotted owls, flying squirrels, southern mule deer, turkeys, mountain quail, and acorn woodpeckers.
Mountainsides - golden eagles, red-tailed hawks, and sharpshinned hawks.
Lakes - grebes, great blue herons, pelicans, mergansers, bald eagles (in winter only)
High-elevation conifers - northern flickers, white-headed woodpeckers, Townsend's solitaires, black bear, and deer.
Riparian - western toads, Pacific tree frogs, American dippers, orioles, and goldfinches.
Bighorn sheep numbers in the Forest are declining. The Peninsular bighorn sheep, a race of desert bighorn, inhabit the Peninsular Mountain ranges from Palm Springs to Baja California, Mexico.
They are found in the San Jacinto and Santa Rosa Mountain ranges. This population was once the largest population of desert bighorns in Southern California. There are now fewer than 400 in the U.S. portion of the range.
A major cause of the decline is disease. At least 80 percent of the lambs born in the Santa Rosa Mountains are dying each year from pneumonia. Stress appears to make bighorns susceptible to a variety of bacterial, viral, and fungal infections. Forest Service biologists and their colleagues in other agencies are working to reverse the decline by studying disease control, protecting habitat, reintroducing new sheep, and studying habitats.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication