Wildlife Conservation

Walking through Shipley Nature Center is a ‘Sense-sational’ experience.

The sounds of critters skittering in the brush, the fragrance of the Redwoods and Sages, the feel of the breeze on your face, the sight of a Great Blue Heron landing on Blackbird Pond.

What might you look for in the Habitats?

At Blackbird Pond, listen for the Bullfrog and try to spot the Western Pond Turtles. Great Blue Herons, Snowy Egrets and Red-winged Blackbirds forage for food. Dragonflies can be seen skimming the pond surface.

Monarch butterflies are common all year round, but especially in the summer months when the Milkweed is plentiful for them to lay their eggs. The caterpillars eat only the Milkweed, so watch for them and their chrysalises which will turn into the butterflies. Other butterflies, like Swallowtails, Gulf Fritillary, Mourning Cloaks and the tiny Skippers are commonly seen looking for nectar.

On the trails, look for the mounding tunnels of the moles who inhabit the underground world with the gophers. You may come across a Gopher Snake basking in the sun on a warm summer day.

As you walk through the Oak Woodland, watch for the Ground Squirrels and crows harvesting acorns and listen for the Woodpeckers searching for insects in the trees.

Some animals such as the Coyote, Opossum, Raccoon, and Skunk are not out during open hours, but you can still see signs of their scat along the trails, so we know they are here.

The meadows are the playground of the Cottontail Rabbits running among the grasses and Buffalo Gourd. You may see a Red-tailed Hawk circling above looking for his next meal.

The habitats are home to many insects where you can observe spiders, bees, stink bugs, harlequin bugs and many more.

Coyotes can be found at Shipley and usually they are very shy of humans, but we have noticed what might be an increase in their presence.  Normally they do not harm humans as their preferred food source are small rodents and we have a plentiful food source at Shipley.  We do tell our visitors that there are coyotes at Shipley, and they should stay on trails and make sure their small children are with them.  I think that the information put out by the City of Huntington Beach should provide good information and remember they are not just at Shipley and Central Park they are seen frequently in neighborhoods.

Over 300 bird species have been sighted inside Shipley Nature Center.

Watch this video produced by The Cavity Conservation Initiative to lear more about the value of a dead tree.

Native Species Found at Shipley


  • Bull Frog
  • Mosquito Fish
  • Pacific Tree Frog
  • Western Toad




  • California King Snake
  • Coastal Rosy Boa
  • Pacific Gopher Snake
  • Southern Alligator Lizard
  • Western Fence Lizard
  • Western Pond Turtle


  • Argentine Ant
  • Armored Stink Beetle
  • Black Widow
  • California Oak Gail Wasp
  • Carpenter Bee
  • Cochineal
  • Desert Tarantula
  • Earthworm
  • Honey Bee
  • Hover Fly
  • Jumping Siders
  • Ladybugs
  • Paper Wasp
  • Yellow Jacket

Invertebrates of Blackbird Pond

  • Black Saddlebags Dragonfly
  • Black Swimmer
  • Caddis Fly
  • Crayfish
  • Damselfly
  • Diving Beetle
  • Flame Skimmer Dragonfly
  • Giant Crane Fly
  • Green Darner Dragonfly
  • Water Boatman
  • Whirligig Beetle

Learn more by reading Natural History of Orange County, California and nearby places by University of California, Irvine.