Wildlife

Wildlife and Birdwatching on The Mendocino Coast

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From wave-battered headlands and quiet tidepools & estuaries to specatcular redwood forests and valleys, California’s world-famous scenery is a haven for wildlife. The diversity of habitats and wildlife species here are the greatest in the United States.

California WHALES are among the most spectacular natural wonders of Northern California. In March of every year, The Fort Bragg and Mendocino Whale Festivals offer Whale Watching Charters which are enjoyed by many coastal visitors and locals alike. These spectacular Charters are available year-round, and are offered by sea and by air.

California SEA OTTERS can be seen at many locations throughout the coast. This cute, furry, charismatic species, once hunted to near extinction, is now protected and flourishes in pacific waters.

Families of HARBOR SEALS can be seen just offshore, lounging on rocks and sunning themselves in large lumbering groups. Once described as “fins out, belly up and having too much of a good time,” these photogenic creatures are ever a delight to inquisitive groups of coastal visitors. Harbor seals can be seen, of course, at North and South Noyo Harbor, as well as from most other shore locations.

During peak annual migration periods, hundreds of thousands of BIRDS migrating along the Pacific Flyway descend upon our coastal wetlands in search of refuge and food. Birds include gulls, eagles, hawks, owls, peregrine falcon, osprey, and a variety of shore birds and waterfowl along the coast. Among the best of coastal viewing locations is MacKerricker State Park.

Where to See Coastal Wildlife

The Beachcomber Motel “Where The Ocean Is Our Backyard”
MacKerricher State Park
Russian Gulch State Park
Jug Handle State Reserve
Caspar Headlands State Reserve
Caspar Headlands State Beach
Mendocino Headlands State Park
Navarro River Redwoods State Park

Bird Watching

Birds, birding, birdwatching — it’s the most popular hobby activity in the world. The Mendocino Coast provides world-class birding opportunities at many locations with lush habitats and scenic havens just waiting for discovery. With a local chapter in The Mendocino Coast, The Audubon Society holds walks and presentations frequently in the area, such as at The Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens.

Noyo Sunset Bird Paddle! from Liquid Fusion Kayaking – A favorite of bird enthusiasts, paddle on a mellow, evening meandering paddle of the Noyo Harbor and River. Enjoy a relaxing pace (or lack of pace), soft evening lighting while viewing many species of wild coastal birds all from a kayak.

Enjoy bird watching outside The Beachcomber Motel …on the Ten Mile California Coastal Trail, part of MacKerricher State Park and just steps from your door at The Beachcomber Motel, on the Pacific Ocean!

More Birding information:

Coastal Bird Walks
Mendocino Coast Audubon Society
National Audubon Society
The California Audubon Society
Peregrine Audubon Society
The American Birding Association
Birding on the Net
Towhee.net

Hilights of Popular Coastal Birding Locations:

COAST BOTANICAL GARDENS
Birdwatching with the Audubon Society. Over 100 species of birds live in or visit the Gardens each year. Learn more about our avian friends. Early Bird Walks – third Wednesdays, 8:30 am, Beginning Birding Walks – first Saturdays, 9 am, Birdwatching Walks
MC Audubon Society

MACKERRICHER STATE PARK
Osprey,ring-necked and mallard ducks, and great blue herons are some of the birds found year-round at the lake, which also serves as a resting habitat for migrating waterfowl.
View park brochure

PUDDING CREEK
Across from the pudding creek trestle and The Beachcomber Motel, a Pudding Creek kayak or canoe trip offers a wealth of wildlife and birding opportunities. For water craft rentals call 1-800-331-8884

BIG RIVER
At Mendocino Headlands State Park, Big River provides a world of nature and birding possibilities for inquisitive bird enthusiasts — on foot from the beaches and bluffs, or from the river. For water craft rentals call 1-800-331-8884.
View park brochure

AREA PARKS
There are many parks and scenic locations on the Mendocino Coast. Visit our Area Parks section with a wealth of information and links.

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