Mendocino Headlands and Big River Beach Birding

Mendocino Headlands and Big River Beach Birding

Walk Heeser Drive from Lansing to Little Lake Street, and you will likely see a pair of White-tailed Kites hunting, especially early morning or late evening. This is part of Mendocino Headlands State park, an unusual blend of easy trails along the rugged coastline that surrounds the picturesque Village of Mendocino. Cliff-side trails give birders and casual explorers spectacular views of sea arches and hidden grottos. Just off-shore are significant seabird breeding areas including Goat Island, which in some years supports 1000 breeding Brandt’s Cormorant, about the same number of breeding Common Murre, breeding colonies of Pigeon Guillemot, small numbers of Rhinoceros Auklet and possibly a pair of Tufted Puffin. Coastal grasslands and cliff top shrubs make good places to watch for local sparrows.

On the south side of Mendocino, accessible by vehicle from Highway 1, or by trails down the bluffs, is Big River Beach on Mendocino Bay. This beach is used by picnickers, sun bathers and players in the surf, which means it is not widely used by birds. There are flush restrooms on Heeser Road on the north side of the Headlands, and in a building adjacent to the Ford House Visitor Center on Main Street in the village of Mendocino. The headlands near the Ford House also have picnic tables.

Best Time for Viewing: Morning and Late Afternoon

Best Months and Seasons for Viewing: Spring and Fall

Pet Friendly Notes

Dogs on-leash.

For More Information, Contact:

Mendocino Coast Audubon Society
P.O. Box 2297, Fort Bragg, CA 95437


Mendocino Headlands and Big River Beach Birding