San Francisco Bay Wildlife
Wildlife of the San Francisco Bay Area


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Birds of San Franscisco Bay Area

Marbled Godwit
Marbled Godwit - Limosa fedoa (Elkhorn Slough)

Lark Sparrow
Lark Sparrow - Chondestes grammacus (Diablo Foothills)


Greater Yellowlegs
Greater Yellowlegs - Tringa melanoleuca (Alviso)

The San Francisco Bay Area is home to a wide variety of habitats, which in turn leads to a wide variety of bird species. Home to some of the most active bird-watching in America, the San Francisco Bay Area offers many opportunities to view avian wildlife.

Birding by Regional areas or County

  • Spreadsheet with lists for all California counties by John Sterling 
  • A very comprehensive guide to birdwatching spots in Sonoma County by Colin Talcroft. 
  • - a good resource for activities in Sonoma County. There is map of birding hotspots in the area. 
  • Birding in the North Bay - guide to birding locations in Sonoma County by Madrone Audubon Society. 
  • Checklists for Napa and Solano County by Napa-Solano Audubon Society  ...napa  and  ...solano 
  • Birding Contra Costa County - a detailed guide by Steve Glover of Mount Diablo Audubon Society. 
  • 2012 Year List for Alameda County by Bob Lewis, annotated with frequency status 
  • Directions to birding destinations in the East Bay by Bob Lewis 
  • Santa Clara County Bird Checklist - A comprehensive listing of the birds of Santa Clara County compiled by Bill Bousman and published by the Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society. 
  • Easy Birding Maps is a great resource by Gordon Barrett. He has created Google maps with details about many of the prime birding locations in the South Bay. 
  • Guide to Birding in Santa Cruz County - by the Santa Cruz Bird Club 
  • San Mateo County resources published by the Sequoia Audubon Society.
    Online Birding Guide with maps, place descriptions and detailed directions for sighting birds - excellent resource. 
    San Mateo County Bird Checklist - in PDF format 
  • San Francisco Bay and San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuges Checklist. This includes 281 species that are found in San Francisco Bay and Delta, and their bordering wetlands. 


  • A selection of useful reference books can be found here - Bird Books  ...more 
  • Bay Area Birds by David Lukas is a comprehensive guide to the life history, status, and distribution of birds of the Bay area. 
  • A nice laminated fold-out, with common local species, is produced by Local Birds. It includes backyard/trail and coastal/water birds. They also have similar guides for Marin County and the Monterey Bay Area. 
  • Waterbird ID Card - A two sided identification card to some of the most common waterbirds in California, by Point Blue. 
  • Pocket guide to SF Bay birds PDF - A pocket-sized guide to common birds of San Francisco Bay, containing tips for their protection and conservation, by Point Blue. 
  • Pocket guide to Beach Birds of California PDF ľA pocket-sized guide to common birds of California's beaches, and tips for their protection and management, by Point Blue. 
  • You can enter and look up reported bird sightings by species, region and date on eBird. This is a powerful resource for beginners and advanced birders. 
  • by David Ranney is a collection of all online Birding discussion groups. The California section includes all the ones covering the Bay area. This is a great reference if you want to find out what species are being seen and where to find them. 
  • Shearwater Journeys offers some great seabirding (pelagic) trips and an opportunity to see species that you are not likely to see from land. 
  • West County Hawk Watch - a North Bay group bringing attention to North American Birds of Prey and the threats they face, providing Identification and Education Programs, Hikes, Tours and ID Workshops. 


Good binoculars are essential for birdwatching. As you get further into birding, a spotting scope may be a worthwhile investment.

  • The Audubon Guide to Binoculars 
  • A very comprehensive evaluation of binoculars and spotting scopes from Birdwatcher's Digest. There are different articles for different price ranges. 
  • Binocular guide from 
  • Guide to Spotting Scopes by B&H Photo 

Articles/Links about Birds and Birding in the Bay Area

  • East Bay Raptors - an article in BayNature. 
  • Bay Area Peregrine Falcon nest cameras and discussion groups by the Santa Cruz Predatory Bird Research Group 
  • Rufous Hummingbird Migration Map, Spring 2009 - from Journey North. 
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