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.

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Central Valley Working Lands
Working Lands

Central Valley Working Lands

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

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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.

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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

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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.

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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

Tricolored Blackbirds Once Faced Extinction—Here's What's Behind Their Exciting Comeback
Working Lands

Tricolored Blackbirds Once Faced Extinction—Here's What's Behind Their Exciting Comeback

For a decade Audubon California and partners have worked with farmers to delay harvests where the birds nest, solving what was once the biggest threat to the species.

A Shorebird Lover’s Paradise at the Salton Sea
Salton Sea

A Shorebird Lover’s Paradise at the Salton Sea

Conducting community science during a glorious spring migration for the Intermountain West Shorebird Survey

A California Wetland Program’s Flood of New Funding Lifts Hopes for Shorebirds
Working Lands

A California Wetland Program’s Flood of New Funding Lifts Hopes for Shorebirds

With many species rapidly declining along the Pacific Flyway, conservationists and landowners in the Central Valley are creating temporary wetlands where birds need them most.

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
Public Lands

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

How you can help, right now