Birding on California's Northcoast
The Redwood Coast - a naturalist's dream
Home to the world’s tallest trees and endless coastlines, California's northcoast offers year-round birding opportunities. Each season hosts a various selection of species, from a few to tens of thousands.
Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge:
The refuge has been described as one of the most important areas in the U.S. south of Alaska for the Aleutian cackling geese. The park offers two trails, along the tidal slough and near some of the refuge's best shorebird viewing areas.
Birdwalks at Wildlife Refuge 2nd Sun of the month Loleta - Guided bird hike with Audubon Society walk leaders. It's free & beginners are welcome. 1020 Ranch Rd. 9am 707.733.5406 www.rras.org/events
The Arcata Marsh & Wildlife Sanctuary: At low tide, thousands of shore birds can be seen foraging on the mud flats of Humboldt Bay. While the Sanctuary is populated by birds year round, the largest variety of birds can be seen during Fall and Spring migrations. Loaner binoculars available. Call 707-826-2359 for more info.
Humboldt Lagoons (Big, Dry, Stone and Freshwater lagoons): Herons, Grebes, Passerines, Common Loons, Surf Scoters, Brown Pelican, Golden-Crowned Kinglets, and occasionally a Bald Eagle.
Trinidad Area: Trinidad State Beach, Patrick’s Point, Moonstone and Luffenholtz Beach - Gray Jays, Common Murres and Black Oystercatchers, gulls & brown pelicans.
Humboldt Bay Jetties: (North Jetty and the South Spit on the Pacific Ocean): Red-Necked Grebes, Jaegers, Pelagic Cormorants, Black Turnstones, Wandering Tattlers and Sanderlings.
Russ Park, Ferndale: You can surround yourself in the solitude of a closed canopy forest with a nature hike in Russ Park, Ferndale's bird sanctuary. Russ Park is a 105-acre preserve with several miles of excellent trails.
Southern Humboldt Community Park set in the valley of the Eel River between Redwoods and the Lost Coast of northern California. 3.5 miles of interpretive trails; hiking, bird walks, biking, swimming, a disc golf course, a meditation labyrinth and more.
LOCAL BIRDING GUIDES
Jenny Hanson, Nature Guide Let Jenny lead you on a personalized nature tour.
Pacific Outfitters Adventures Offers kayaking tours with the chance to see egrets, herons, red-tailed and red-shouldered hawks, kestrels, harriers, kites, osprey, dunlin, sandpiper, dowitcher, godwit, and willet among many others.
Redwood Adventures Birding tours are among the many guided tours that Redwood Adventures offers in northern Humboldt County.
Strictly for the Birds Stop by the shop in Old Town Eureka to find the latest information on local bird watching. Pick up a field guide or CD and hone your birding skills. 123 F St. Eureka.
Some of these feathered guest’s arrival and departures are celebrated with special events.
The Fly Off: When the Aleutian cackling geese gather and stock up on resources for their long flight to their Aleutian Island's breeding grounds, in early March, the Humboldt Bay Wildlife Refuge opens their gates at 5:30 a.m. for the massive sunrise "fly off." A spectacle to see and hear as flock after flock slowly circle and take off.
Godwit Days in April: Suitably named after the Godwits that gather throughout Humboldt Bay. Although the featured guests are Godwits, all feathered species are watched and studied in the many tours and workshops that are offered during this week long event.
See the Bald eagles of Humboldt Bay
Humboldt Bay has its very own pair of roosting Bald eagles. The first in decades. Watch them here on a live cam.
Bald eagles breed once a year and remain with one mate as long as they are alive and successful at breeding. The eagles are often away from the nest during the day at least until there are eggs. The nest is on Humboldt Bay, but the Wildlife Care Center is keeping the exact location secret in order to protect the birds.
The Christmas Bird Counts: In December, the area's three coastal Christmas Bird Counts are always among the top 20 in the nation, and the current record for a single party "big-day" effort in Humboldt County alone is 176 species. Contact the Redwood Region Audubon Society for more info on bird counts.