Monterey Bay Birding Festival, September 28-30, 2018

Monterey Bay Birding Festival

Thank you for joining us at the 2018 festival. Stay tuned for 2019 dates!


Debi Shearwater to receive Ludlow Griscom award, September 29 at 7:00pm, before the keynote presentation delivered by
Jonathan Franzen


Online registration is now closed and will re-open at the festival:

Thursday, September 27, 4-5:30PM, early registration and pre-registered packet pick-up

September 28-30, Festival registration desk opens at 5:45 AM and remains open throughout the day.

Welcome to the home of one of the most spectacular birding and wildlife venues in North America, The Monterey Bay Birding Festival.

Located at the Watsonville Civic Plaza at 275 Main Street in Watsonville, California.

From soaring golden eagles, effortlessly gliding California condors, cheeky bushtits, gorgeous Townsend’s warblers, scampering snowy plovers, to thousands of sooty shearwaters streaming along the ocean’s surface, few places can match the diversity of species as the Monterey Bay region.

September marks the peak of fall migration, with wintering shorebirds arriving en masse. Warblers and other passerines are doing the same, and we even start seeing the first appearances of wintering ducks and other waterfowl. Meanwhile, just a few miles offshore, jaegers, shearwaters, and alcid are present in good numbers. There’s no better time to visit the Monterey Bay area to see the greatest number of species or to find a rarity.

Directions to Festival Headquarters:

Monterey Bay Birding Festival is headquartered in the Community Rooms on the top floor of Watsonville Civic Plaza, 275 Main Street, Watsonville, 95076. Enter through the parking entrance at the back of the building on Rodriguez Street, between 1st and 2nd Streets. 
From Highway 1, take exit #425, CA 129, onto Riverside Drive. Continue on Riverside Drive, cross the railroad tracks and turn left at the traffic lights onto Rodriguez Street. Enter the parking structure on your right, after 1st Street. Drive to the top floor. At the top floor, you will see the flags guiding you to the entrance of the festival.
From Highway 101, exit onto San Juan Road (G 11). Follow San Juan Road 9.3 miles, turn right onto Main Street. Cross the Pajaro River and turn left at 1st Street. Turn Right onto Rodriguez Street. Enter the parking structure on your right. Drive to the top floor. At the top floor, you will see the flags guiding you to the entrance of the festival.

Online Registration for the 2018 Festival is now closed. Registration will reopen at the Festival, Thursday, September 27, 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM and throughout the Festival, 5:45 AM – 6:30 PM.

Extraordinary Field Trip Leaders, Presenters and Workshops

The Monterey Bay Birding Festival field trips leaders are all extraordinary birders who delight in sharing their love of birds and favorite birding venues with you. Each year we have a stellar line-up of evening presentations and daily workshops to augment your birding festival experience.

Sharing Your Love of Birds

Take advantage of this total immersion in all things birds with fellow bird enthusiasts from around the world. You’ll have lots of opportunities to share birding stories during field trips, workshops, the opening reception, and while perusing the Birders Marketplace.

Supporting Our Community

The Monterey Bay Birding Festival is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization under the management of a passionate group of volunteers dedicated to making the festival the best experience possible for guests and providing enrichment for our community. Many volunteer opportunities are available.  Please check out the Volunteers page and send us an email at for more information.

Flickr Gallery


Keynote Speaker Update

Regretfully, John Muir Laws is unable to attend the Monterey Bay Birding Festival this coming weekend due to a family emergency. John sends his sincere apologies to all who have enrolled in his workshops and to those who planned to attend his Friday evening...

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2018 Festival T-shirt Design

Check out our 2018 Monterey Bay Birding Festival t-shirts! Designed by Jeff Manker and illustrated by Anne Tobin, these shirts will be on sale for $20 at the festival, and are available for purchase with online registration.  MBBF 2018 T Shirt Design Front MBBF...

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Can High School Ornithology Save the World?

Jeff Manker is a man with a mission. In an essay in the April issue of Birding magazine, Manker lays out his vision for a world in which ornithology and bird study is a popular elective in high schools across the US and Canada, reaching thousands of...

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14th Annual Monterey Bay Birding Festival

On-line Registration opens on July 7, 2018 at 8 a.m. PDT   Watsonville, CA – June 16, 2018 – The 14th Annual Monterey Bay Birding Festival Association announces the opening of on-line registration on July 7, 2018, at 8 a.m. PDT. Registration will be available at...

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Latest Facebook Posts

Fun was had by all at the Bird-carving workshop held at the festival for the first time this year. Many thanks to our expert carving instructors, Jim and Bob! ... See MoreSee Less

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