Humboldt Bay ~ Important Bird Area

Humboldt Bay ~ Important Bird Area

This landscape of wet pastures, tidal wetlands, and two major estuaries extends from McKinleyville north of Arcata south to the confluence of the Eel and Van Duzen rivers along Hwy.101.

Mixed public and private lands, this area includes Humboldt Bay, partially protected as the Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Eel River Wildlife Area, Elk River Wildlife Refuge and Elk River Wildlife Area, Fay Slough Wildlife Area, Mad River Slough Wildlife Area, Little River State Park, Lanphere Dunes, Manilla Dunes Preserve, and Mal’el Dunes Preserve, historically flooding wet pastures and dairy farms along the Eel River, the Eel River Wildlife Area.

Up to 80,000 shorebirds have been estimated at Humboldt Bay during peak days in spring and fall. The state’s largest concentration of Brant occurs here in spring, along with Breeding Snowy
Plovers, two large heron rookeries, and non-breeding concentrations of Marbled Murrelet.

The rivers are also important foraging areas for Bald Eagle. Several species are highly localized,
such as Ferruginous Hawk, and breeding Northern Harrier, Shorteared Owl and Grasshopper Sparrow. A breeding outpost of Tricolored Blackbirds forage in the Fortuna area.

For more scientific information about the wealth of this region visit:

As land ownership and access policies are multiiple in this region, it is best to contact the Redwood Region Audubon Society for more localized information. Recreational oportunites include hiking trails, canoe and kayak trails, sailing, bike trails, horseback riding, fishing and clamming, hunting, many bird watching opportunities.

Audubon California has listed these sites as part of an international effort. Nominated by local experts, the sites are selected according to strict criteria:

– Support over 1% of the global or 10% of the state population of one or more sensitive species
– Support more than nine sensitive bird species
– 10,000 or more observable shorebirds in one day
– 5,000 or more observable waterfowl in one day

For More Information, Contact:

Redwood Region Audubon Society
Box 1054, Eureka, CA 95502-1054
(707) 826-7031


Humboldt Bay ~ Important Bird Area