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Monterey Bay Birding Festival

September 25 @ 6:00 am - September 28 @ 3:30 pm

| Prices Vary

Welcome to the home of one of the most spectacular birding and wildlife venues in North America— the tenth annual Monterey Bay Birding Festival! The Monterey Bay Birding Festival is headquartered in Watsonville. Central Coast birding enthusiasts enjoy a full weekend of activities centered in the Pajaro Valley, heart of the Monterey Bay’s world-renowned birding area. Featuring guided outings to:

Watsonville Wetlands • Monterey Bay Elkhorn Slough • Pajaro River and Dunes Moss Landing State Beach • Big Sur Sunset Beach • Santa Cruz Coast Pinnacles National Monument • Carmel River

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World-Class Birding

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 Presenters

This year’s lineup of nightly speakers, headed by author, artist, naturalist and conservationist Kenn Kaufman, simply soars.

Kaufman is recognized as one of the world’s most renowned bird experts. He is the author of a popular series of field guides and a highly sought-after public speaker. He will explore what the world looks like from a bird’s point of view in his keynote presentation on Saturday, September 27.

Joining Kaufman as nightly speakers will be Brian Sulllivan, project leader for eBird. Sullivan will enlighten birders about the human network that’s spread across the world and collecting real-time data to achieve real-world conservation outcome for bird through computer science. Sullivan speaks Thursday, September 25.

Local Monterey birder Don Roberson has been the “keeper” of the Monterey County bird list for 35 years while serving as the county editor for “North America Birds” and now eBird. Roberson’s informative discussion, “The Ten Most Misidentified Birds in Monterey – Time, Change, and Ebird,” will be Friday, September 26.

Fantastic Field Trips

Designed for both seasoned and beginning birders, as well as outdoor lovers, the festival’s field trips offer unique opportunities to learn about, explore, and appreciate world-class habitats, such as the Elkhorn Slough National Marine Estuary and Pinnacles National Park.  Join a pelagic trip to experience one of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, one of the most productive regions for albatrosses, shearwaters, storm-petrels, and more. Or, take a scenic ride in Elkhorn Slough by kayak, pontoon, or silent electric boat.

Practical Workshops

Make time for at least one exceptional workshop! This year’s workshops are designed to help you improve your birding skills in the field. For example, in the “Birding Optics Demystified”  workshop, you’ll learn all about binoculars and scopes, and how particular products perform in different birding situations.

The “Pelagic Birds Identification” workshop will introduce you to birding at sea and the overall approach to seabird spotting and identification. Similarly, the “Shorebird Identification” workshop is geared to help you increase your ability to sort out birds in the more difficult groups (such as yellowlegs, stints and peeps, dowitchers, and rarities). And “Field Identification of Raptors” will take you through a straightforward process for identifying raptors in the field.

“Field Workflow for Photography” will help you learn how to read the environment, make appropriate camera settings in a timely manner, and then track and “capture” the wildlife you hope to photograph!  Using a different medium, “Field Sketching” will help you hone your observational skills in the field.


September 25 @ 6:00 am
September 28 @ 3:30 pm
Prices Vary
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The Monterey Bay Birding Festival Association, Inc.