Public Lands and Bird Migration

A new model for conservation.

Sandhill Cranes Photo: Choktai Leangsuksun

California’s public lands play a vital role in the success and survival of millions of migratory birds. As birds make their perilous journeys across the Pacific Flyway, they need safe and reliable places to rest and eat. These protected lands provide access to food, water, and nesting habitat needed to sustain them along the way.

There are 34 National Wildlife Refuges in California that play a key role in supporting migratory birds. The Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge is one of the most important places for birds in North America, offering a rare spot for shorebirds to stop as they travel over large stretches of dry land.

Mono Lake and its surrounding ecosystem provide a diverse landscape, from marsh and meadow to sagebrush steppe and forest. It is ideal habitat for migrating birds, mule deer, and other big game species. In southern California, the Mojave Trails National Preserve and Joshua Tree National Park provide critical habitat for species such as the Burrowing Owl, Red-tailed Hawk, and Prairie Falcon.

So what do these regions have in common? They are all part of a network of large public lands corridors providing essential habitat along migratory flyways. When public lands are well-managed and kept healthy for migratory birds and other wildlife, they provide many benefits for people, such as clean air and water, economic opportunity, recreation, hunting, mental and physical health benefits. Plus, these intact lands buffer against the effects of climate change. 

Right now, California is poised to be a national leader in public lands conservation, working at the intersection of climate change, energy production, land management, and wildlife conservation. Visit the StoryMap to see how. 

Black-necked Stilt Photo: Logan Southall

Governor Newsom Issues Groundbreaking 30 x 30 Executive Order
Press Center

Governor Newsom Issues Groundbreaking 30 x 30 Executive Order

California is first in nation to commit to protecting 30% of our lands and waters by 2030.

Read more

Central Valley Working Lands
Working Lands

Central Valley Working Lands

By partnering with landowners, we can create lasting protections for birds.

Read more

A Way Forward for California's Working Lands
Working Lands

A Way Forward for California's Working Lands

Conservation ranching techniques create habitat and sequester carbon. Under a new bill, the state would pay ranchers to implement them.

Read more

The Case for Wetlands in the Central Valley
Water

The Case for Wetlands in the Central Valley

Vital protections are needed for wetlands that depend on groundwater under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act

Read more

State Habitat Restoration Project Breaks Ground at Southern End of Salton Sea
Press Center

State Habitat Restoration Project Breaks Ground at Salton Sea

Coalition of conservation and community groups says groundbreaking is positive step towards ending years of inaction at California’s largest lake.

Read more

Sandhill Crane

Latin:  Antigone canadensis

Illustration for Sandhill Crane

Western Tanager

Latin:  Piranga ludoviciana

Illustration for Western Tanager

Red-tailed Hawk

Latin:  Buteo jamaicensis

Illustration for Red-tailed Hawk

Snow Goose

Latin:  Anser caerulescens

Illustration for Snow Goose

Prairie Falcon

Latin:  Falco mexicanus

Illustration for Prairie Falcon

American White Pelican

Latin:  Pelecanus erythrorhynchos

Illustration for American White Pelican

Burrowing Owl

Latin:  Athene cunicularia

Illustration for Burrowing Owl

American Avocet

Latin:  Recurvirostra americana

Illustration for American Avocet

News & Updates

Colombia's Ecological Wonders: A Working Lands Exploration
Working Lands

Colombia's Ecological Wonders: A Working Lands Exploration

Colombia's Ecological Wonders: A Working Lands Exploration

Chuckwalla National Monument
Public Lands

Chuckwalla National Monument

Protecting California's stunning desert landscapes

Intermountain West Shorebird Survey: Preliminary Results Indicate 250,000 Migratory Shorebirds at the Salton Sea
Salton Sea

Intermountain West Shorebird Survey: Preliminary Results Indicate 250,000 Migratory Shorebirds at the Salton Sea

Conservation investments at the Salton Sea must embrace a holistic approach, considering the well-being of all waterbirds, including shorebirds.

Meet Xerónimo Castañeda
Working Lands

Meet Xerónimo Castañeda

Audubon California's new Working Lands Program Director has a long history in conservation and avian biology

Twenty Years On, Historic Water Deal Still Fails to Deliver for Salton Sea
Water

Twenty Years On, Historic Water Deal Still Fails to Deliver for Salton Sea

— Green heron at the Salton Sea
Audubon Celebrates Legislation to Create New California Desert National Monument
Salton Sea

Audubon Celebrates Legislation to Create New California Desert National Monument

— Chuckwalla National Monument would protect 660,000 acres of sacred and historic sites, wildlife habitat
Bills to Save Birds: Audubon California’s Sponsored and Priority Bills 2023
Audublog

Bills to Save Birds: Audubon California’s Sponsored and Priority Bills 2023

A suite of legislation towards conserving California's natural treasures

Study Finds Local Salton Sea Residents Would Use Recreational Facilities at a Healthy Sea
Salton Sea

Study Finds Local Salton Sea Residents Would Use Recreational Facilities at a Healthy Sea

— Locals say outdoor recreational infrastructure at California’s largest lake would be an asset to the area.
Meet Katie Collins and Katie Thomas, Starr Ranch Seasonal Staff
Audublog

Meet Katie Collins and Katie Thomas, Starr Ranch Seasonal Staff

Starr Ranch Audubon Sanctuary has a long history of welcoming early career conservationists as seasonal field staff. We caught up with two of this year’s cohort to find out what brought them to Audubon and what a typical day at “the office” is like.

Working with Ranchers to Turn Rangeland into Climate-friendly Grassland Bird Habitat
Working Lands

Working with Ranchers to Turn Rangeland into Climate-friendly Grassland Bird Habitat

Audubon California joins conservation partners at California State Capitol to host briefing for state government climate leaders

How you can help, right now