Welcome to the Thirteenth Annual Monterey Bay Birding Festival Sept. 21-24, 2017

Check Back for Registration Dates for the 2017 Festival
  • Lodging and Dining

    Lodging and Dining

  • Speakers


  • Sponsors


  • Field Trips

    Field Trips



Stay tuned for registration dates for the 2017 festival.
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Field Trips

Field Trips

Join us on some fascinating trips and once in a lifetime opportunities!
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Learn all kinds of interesting facts and techniques about birds and how to enjoy them!
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Learn more about the amazing speakers we have lined up for this year!
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Saturday Special Event: Monterey Bay Birding Festival Collaboration with Moss Landing Marine Lab

The Monterey Bay Birding Festival (MBBF) is pleased to announce a collaboration with Moss Landing Marine Lab (MLML) on Saturday, September 24, 2016, from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Several free events will be available along with workshops offered by MBBF.  The full itinerary is shown below.  Food will be available for purchase, and attendees are invited to enjoy the beautiful grounds and vista. Both wetland and land birds inhabit the area. MLML is located at 8272 Moss Landing Rd.

Don’t miss this unique opportunity to visit one of California’s premier research and teaching facilities.

California Soundscapes

11-12:30 p.m.

Nature recordist Dan Dugan will provide a rare opportunity for the audience to experience surround sound for sixteen California soundscapes. There will be an introduction to soundscape analysis, a demonstration of various sound systems, an explanation of soundscape preservation in parks, and use of recording equipment to preserve soundscapes and document species.

For an extra treat, there will be a hands-on experience with recording equipment.  Soundscapes have become an increasingly important element of scientific research and species analysis. Find out how and why.

Carbon Neutral Cuckoos: Chasing Birds and Planting Seeds

1:30-2:30 p.m.

When California’s first Common Cuckoo showed up in 2012 in the Watsonville Wetlands, hundreds of birders quickly descended to see this rarity. This created a -40 ton CO2 footprint.  Birder and science instructor Scott Smithson explores a means of balancing those enticing birding chases with support of habitat restoration in nearby areas. He’ll show how to calculate and mitigate the ecological cost of mega-rarity birding trips. This is especially valuable information for all birders and environmental studies students and staff.

Searching for Gold Spot – The Wild After Wildfire

3-4:30 p.m.

This beautifully filmed documentary is not only a visual feast. It highlights new research regarding the importance of fire to montane forests and wildlife in America’s West. The film chronicles the importance of species such as Black-backed Woodpeckers to the health of forests, and it provides amazing close-ups of a wide variety of species, such as a nesting Northern Goshawk. The film raises important questions about the best means of habitat and species preservation. Film director Maya Khosla will be on hand to answer questions and receive feedback.

Seating is on a first-come-first-served basis. Audience space will be shared with the lab’s faculty, students, and guests. NOTE: Purchasing a $10 ticket for the 1:30-2:30 “Carbon Neutral Cuckoos” talk guarantees you a spot at the 11 a.m. Nature Sounds program, as well as the 3-4:30 p.m. documentary on Black-backed Woodpeckers and healthy reforestation after fires. To purchase this ticket, go to www.montereybaybirding.org and buy a $10 ticket for #W41. Check out the other exciting festival offerings while registering.

Announcing Pancake Breakfast and More Sunday Special Events at the Watsonville Civic Plaza

On Sunday, September 25, 2016, we’ll be holding a series of new, fun-filled events for individuals and families to enjoy throughout the day until 3 p.m. Events will take place at the Watsonville Civic Plaza located at 275 Main Street, Watsonville, top floor. Most events are free and perfect for families with children of all ages. Some events will take place outdoors with shaded patio seating while others will be held inside the comfortable community rooms. Whether you are a birder or not, you’ll want to join us for one or more of these activities. Here’s the itinerary:


Pancake Breakfast

7-11:00 a.m.

Fee: $8 Adult (advanced purchase or $10 at the door), $5 children 12 and under

All proceeds benefit the Freedom Lions Club

Start your day with a scrumptious homemade breakfast of delicious pancakes, eggs, bacon or sausage, coffee, milk, and orange juice. Breakfast will be prepared and served on the patio with comfortable, shaded seating both outside and indoors. This is a great way to enjoy a tasty, hot breakfast, network with friends, and support the Freedom Lions Club.


Wild Things

8 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.

Wild Things Sanctuary rescues and rehabilitates injured wild animals including raptors and other birds. They’ll have several live, rescued raptors on hand and will talk about the animals and the critical work they do. You won’t want to miss this opportunity to get a close-up view of these stunning animals. This is a great event for kids with fantastic photo opportunities.


Junior Duck Stamp Exhibit and Activities

9-3:00 p.m.

The Junior Duck Stamp Program will include the traveling exhibit of winning duck stamp designs by young people. Ranger Lora Haller from the Sacramento NWR will be on hand to give a talk called “A Million Birds Can’t Be Wrong,” providing stunning looks at the refuge’s myriad inhabitants. There will also be a duck drawing demonstration for youngsters, and all supplies will be free. Parents and teachers, this is an exciting project to plan with your own youngsters.


Performance Art in Nature Study

9-3:00 p.m.

Nanda Currant, author of Bringing Nature to Life: The Use of Performance Art for Environmental Restoration, will be on hand to provide information and ideas to parents, educators, and others about this interesting concept. Her focus will be on making bird migration come alive for young people. She will share examples of past projects with youngsters.


Birder’s Marketplace

9-3:00 p.m.

This is the place to find unique items created by skilled local craftspeople as well as essential birding optics, and much more. In addition to vendors, several local non-profits will be on hand with information about their organizations. There will be many educational offerings. Find out, for example, how visually impaired people can become excellent birders.

Twelfth Annual Monterey Bay Birding Festival

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.

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 montereybaybirdingfestival@gmail.com for more information.

We look forward to seeing you at the festival!