The most admired wildlife in Jenner are the Bald Eagles and Harbor Seals. The best spot to view them is the Highway 1 overlook located .8 miles north of the Jenner Inn. Look for the wide pullout .1 miles past River’s End restaurant where the Russian River enters the Pacific.
This is one of the best Bald Eagle watching spots in the Bay Area. Prime time for viewing Bald Eagles is the early morning. Unlike most other raptors that hunt from dusk to dawn, bald eagles are such skilled hunters that they often satiate themselves early in the day. The eagles are commonly seen feeding on lampreys, an eel-like fish.
Jenner’s birds are are arguably the best example of this town’s biodiversity. Although Jenner is home to many permanent year round birds, it also attracts numerous migratory species. Jenner lies on the Pacific Flyway, a migratory path which ranges from Patagonia to Alaska. As a result, the Sonoma Coast provides respite for over 300 different bird species, both visiting and resident.
Our very own bird garden behind the Inn provides a sanctuary for a variety of songbirds, hummingbirds, woodpeckers, raptors, and mammals. Located next to the creek, this is a good starting place for admiring wildlife at the Inn.
Great Blue Herons visit the meadow in search of gophers, and Belted Kingfishers can be found perched above the creek. Follow the path at the end of the meadow that continues through the oak and alder trees and ends at a scenic waterfall at the back of the property. This shady path is frequented by many songbirds and woodpeckers.
The riverfront views offer a great vantage point for viewing wildlife in the Russian River and Penny Island. Songbirds can also be observed in the foliage on the river banks, particulary insectivorous birds likes swallows and Black Phoebes. Guests can literally be “armchair naturalists” without the need for expensive optics.
For those wildlife lovers who are craving more than Jenner’s birds and aquatic life, there are a handful of land critters worth seeing. Arguably the most special land animal Jenner has to offer is the American Badger, a solitary animal who digs its dens in the headlands. This is not a common animal in the Bay Area and Jenner is one of the few spots this animal can be found in Sonoma County.
The various bluffs and headlands in Jenner offer an excellent vantage point for seasonal whale watching. Various whale species can be seen January through May, March is typically the most active
Other whales, such as Humpbacks, Blue Whales, Orcas, Minke, and Fin Whales are occasionally seen May through the Fall. If guests are interested in getting up-close and personal with a breeching whale, they can hop aboard a boat on one of Sonoma County’s various whale watching charters.
Aside from Whales, guests may also see River Otters, Harbor Seals, Sea Lions, Elephant Seals, Sea Otters, and various species of dolphins.
Because of its preserved and protected landscapes, this region is also home to a few rare and vulnerable species including the American Badger, Northern Spotted Owl, Burrowing Owl, Red-Legged Frog, Foothill Yellow-Legged Frog, Steelhead Trout, and Coho Salmon.
Guests of the Jenner Inn with an interest in wildlife need not go far. A variety of wildlife can commonly be seen from your hotel window, whether your accommodations lie near the river or our bird garden. For the more proactive wildlife lovers, you will find in this guide some great walks and hikes that will expose you to our wildlife.
Arguably the most special land animal Jenner has to offer is the American Badger, a solitary animal who digs its dens in the headlands. This is not a common animal in the Bay Area and Jenner is one of the few spots this animal can be found in Sonoma County.
Other common residents include Coyotes, Bobcats, Mountain Lions, Grey Foxes, wild pigs, and Long Tailed Weasels. Black Tailed Deer are often seen swimming across the river to forage on Penny Island.
Although watching wildlife is a fun recreational activity, we should remember not to cause undue stress to the animal. Please enjoy wildlife from a distance where the animal feels comfortable and avoid nests and dens. As fun as wildlife viewing can be, it is also important to not overstay your welcome. Please do not feed wildlife. Socializing them unneccessarily can be doing them a disservice since being cautious of humans is important to their health and safety. Also, respect other wildlife viewers by not scaring off the subject.
If you come across injured wildlife or any suspicious human activity, please contact the following:
Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue (707) 526-9453
Bird Rescue Center (707) 523-2473
Wildlife Fawn Rescue (707) 931-4550
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