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.
The Arcata Marsh: 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.
Prairie Creek Redwoods SP: Redwoods National & State Park System - spotted owl and marbled murrelet.
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.
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.
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.
- September and March are the peak seasons for viewing most species of water birds and raptors. Migratory shorebird populations peak from mid-March to late April. Waterfowl and raptors are visible throughout the year.
- Dawn and dusk are generally the best times to observe wildlife. Tide levels also have great influence on wildlife behavior and movements around estuaries.
- For more information about the latest rare and unusual bird sighting in Humboldt County, contact the Birdbox hotline number at 707-822-loon (5666)