Latin: Melanitta perspicillata
Protecting the birds and habitat of the West Coast's largest estuary.
Richardson Bay is part of the larger San Francisco Bay. Photo: Alison Sheehey
Audubon California has long been committed to protecting the birds and habitat of the San Francisco Bay and its wetlands.
The San Francisco Bay area is recognized as an international biodiversity hotspot because of the vast number of species of birds, animals, plants found there – many of which are found nowhere else. The bay itself is the largest estuary on the West Coast, and is considered one of North America’s most important. It provides critical habitat for shorebirds, waterfowl, marsh birds, as well as over 500 species of fish, mammals, and plants, many of which are either threatened or endangered.
San Francisco Bay is a critical stopover point along the Pacific Flyway migration route of shorebirds and waterfowl, which number over one million birds at the height of migration, and includes three Important Bird Areas due to the high number of rare and endangered bird species and the sheer number of shorebirds and waterfowl supported by the by and surrounding wetlands. The area has also been recognized by the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network, which ranks it as being of “Hemispheric Importance” to shorebirds.
Audubon California operates the largest estuarine reserve in San Francisco Bay, the Richardson Bay Audubon Center & Sanctuary, which protects 900 acres of San Francisco Bay habitat and provides a center for community education, restoration, and celebration of the Bay.
A new white paper looks at this invaluable habitat ecosystem in San Francisco Bay
This large, handsome shorebird is often seen on our coast, calling in loud springtime territorial displays, hunkered together in small winter flocks and prying limpets off rocks. Yet the species is rare across its range and poorly understood in California in particular.
Oliver Ousterhout, a volunteer at the Richardson Bay Audubon Sanctuary, shot this terrific video of the center's ongoing waterbird survey. It features some of the staff and volunteers that make this important work possible. His personal website is www.oliverousterhout.com. Credit for the eelgrass footage goes to the Estuary and Ocean Science Center.
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