More than a million shorebirds and waterfowl use San Francisco Bay habitat at the height of migration, and the area includes twelve spots designated as Important Bird Areas due to the high number of rare and endangered bird species as well as the sheer number of birds supported by the bay and surrounding wetlands.
Perhaps the most numerous of these birds are the Greater and Lesser Scaup, along with Bufflehead and Ruddy Ducks. Surf Scoters – with their white, red, yellow and black bills – were once plentiful in San Francisco Bay, but have declined considerably in recent years. Wetlands restoration will also greatly help the recovery of the federally-endangered Ridgway’s Rail. Other affected birds include Western and Clark’s Grebes, Wigeon, Pintails, Coots, Cormorants and Loons.
San Francisco Bay in 2013 was designated a “Wetland of International Importance” under the Convention on Wetlands, also known as the Ramsar Convention. It has also been recognized by the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network, which ranks it as being of “Hemispheric Importance” to shorebirds.
Twelve Important Bird Areas
As mentioned above, San Francisco Bay includes twelve spots designated as Important Bird Areas. These are:
- San Pablo Bay Wetlands
- San Pablo Bay Marine
- N. Richmond Wetlands
- East Shore Wetlands
- Richardson Bay
- Corte Madera Wetlands
- Alameda Wildlife Refuge
- San Francisco Bay South
- San Francisco Bay Southern Marine
- Suisun Marsh
- Concord marsh
- Brooks Island
A map of San Francisco Bay's Important Bird Areas is below:
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