California Festivals


California Birding Festivals and Events

Birding - Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer. Anytime is the right time to watch, study and appreciate nature's winged creatures who can fly. California offers many birding festivals and events in one of the nation's most critical areas where birds are in danger of losing their migration habitats.

Within a single day its likely dozens of birds have dropped by your yard to look for seeds, berries, worms and bugs. Some birds annoy us when they wake us with their caws, tweets and chirps. They drop olives on our roof, drop their waste on our cars (or on us) as they fly through the air, and eagerly wait on school yards to snatch a prize as kids leave their food for a brief minute to play.

For all their annoyances, birds have played a vital role to humans. Miners took birds into mine tunnels with them to alert of dangerous gases such as carbon monoxide that would kill the birds first, and give miners a warning to exit the tunnels immediately. 

CHICO Snowgoose Festival January 23-27, 2019
Festival of the Pacific Flyway

SALTON SEA: Salton Sea Bird Festival January 
Where: Visitor Center When:  Salton Sea Bird Festival Call the Visitor Center for more information at 760-393-3810. Salton Sea 

MORRO BAY Annual Morro Bay Winter Bird Festival January 18-21, 2019
Registration desk, check-in, trip starters, and the Bazaar will be located at the Morro Bay Community Center, 1001 Kennedy Way.
Most events are held at the Morro Bay Museum of Natural History, and will be free for kids; a small fee per adult for Museum entry. Family Day Activities may include: Introduction to Birding and Habitat Hike--Learn to use binoculars and field guides and discuss habitat needs during a short walk from the Museum. | Learn to Track | Intermediate Birding | Bird for a Day | Bird, Learn, Make and Take | Introduction to Birding and Habitat Hike | Kayaking and Canoeing in the Bay | Critter Crawl | Rubbing Noses with Reptiles | Puppet Show | Family Day Finale Condor Hunt

GALT: Galt Winter Bird Festival February 2, 2019, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Chabolla Community Center
610 Chabolla Ave.
Galt, CA
Free admission!
Fee for tours, reserve at and follow links
Free Children's Activities
Arts & Crafts Vendors
Wild Animal Presentation
Guest Speakers
Presentations: Backyard Bird Safari | Going Batty | Conservation Ambassadors | Cal-Waste | Hawks, Honkers and Hoots
Tours: Sunrise Photography Tour | Tall Forest and Riparian Habitat | Heritage Oakes Bird Walk & Lunch | Birds & Beer at the Barn | Paint & Sip at the Barn | Delta Birding Tour

View thousands of migratory birds that call Galt their winter home. Bus tours include: morning & sunset photo tours, a children's tour, a dawn photo-op tour and a wildlife tour of the Cosumnes River Preserve. Festival guests will also enjoy good food, Animal Performances, a Youth Art Gallery and free children's art and crafts. Tours require pre-registration.

SILVERADO: Get Outside this Winter February 2, 2019, 10-11:30 a.m.
Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary 29322 Modjeska Canyon Silverado, CA 92676 $6; age 3 and under free Parking: Corner of Santiago & Modjeska Canyon Rd.

DAVIS: Yolo Basin Duck Days February 23, 2019
Friday February 22, 2019 (some events) & Saturday February 23, 2019
Davis California Duck Days
Outdoor festival with activities for people of all ages:
Field trips led by experienced birders and naturalist
On-site activities for families
Interactive exhibits
Wetland themed arts and crafts
Trout fishing in ponds
California Duck Days is an annual wetlands festival consisting of a day filled with workshops, field trips, exhibit hall and special events. Interactive displays from 20 area environmental organizations feature Mallard ducklings, as well as live raptors. Food will be available on-site for purchase. over a dozen field trips to sites around the region, such as waterfowl identification, wood duck box building and dog training. In addition, special workshops onsite will include a bat talk, and a falconry demonstration in the field, and a kids' fishing activity. Children will be able to fish for trout in the demonstration wetlands or in a special pond for young children and then have their fish cleaned and packed to take home.

SAN DIEGO: San Diego Bird Festival February 27-March 3, 2019
Tour registration:
The festival is held at the Marina Village Conference Center just steps away from San Diego's species-rich San Diego River estuary. Estuary walks take place daily Thursday through Saturday. Pre and post festival trips. Most events are fee-based trips to see birds with varying prices. However, Family Day feature many free events and activities. You can see live birds up close with Project Wildlife and Living Coast Discovery Center. There will be guided walks, games, workshops, and a raffle for great prizes. No pre-registration is necessary for Family Day events, however, some field trips and workshops have limited availability. Also, this organization celebrates 2019 Love Your Wetlands Day on February 2, 2019

BAKERSFIELD: Spring Nature Festival March 16-17, 2019
Wind, Wolves Preserve
16019 Maricopa Highway
Bakersfield, CA
All day on Saturday and the first half of Sunday. This festival is perfect for a family outing, you don't want to miss the biggest event of the year
Free educational programs and activities
Exhibit booths
Wildflower displays
Restoration project

BORREGO SPRINGS: Borrego Springs Desert Birding Festival March 13-14, 2019
Field trips and presentations fill the roster with many events

ARCATA: Godwit Days April 17-23, 2019
Arcata Community Center
321 Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway
Arcata, CA 95521
Main Hall Free admission
Tour registration & payment:
Celebrate the Marbled Godwit and explore the lush Redwood Coast. Observe many bird species and wildlife through field trips, lectures, workshops, and boat excursions led by experienced local guides. Tour the expansive mudflats, the wild river valleys and the rocky ocean coast of this sector of the Klamath bioregion in northwest California. Nearly 100 trips to choose from, Bird Fair, banquet, art show and more

WELDON: Kern Valley Bioregions Festival April 21, 2019
Audubon Kern River Preserve
18747 Highway 178
Weldon, California 93283
In the Spring birds from the south fly to the breeding grounds in North America. As they migrate they rest and replenish at Audubon Kern River Preserve. Yellow Warblers, Black-headed Grosbeaks, Lawrence's Goldfinches and Summer Tanagers are among the birds expected to be visible at this time. 

POINT REYES STATION: Point Reyes Birding & Nature Festival April 26-28, 2019
Featuring birder and author Kenn Kaufman
Sponsored by the Environmental Action Committee of West Marin at the height of spring migration, see migrating seabirds, waterfowl, resident and migrant land birds, raptors, alcids, and owls. 50 field events and workshops at Point Reyes National Seashore and surrounding areas. This time of year presents stunning wildflower displays, butterflies, dragonflies, migrating whales, elephant seals, sea lions and Tule elk.

LONE PINE: Owens Lake Bird Festival April 26-28, 2019
Lone Pine, Ca
Annual Owens Lake Bird Festival at the Lone Pine Film History Museum produced by Friends of the Inyo and their partners for the annual Owens Lake Bird Festival in Lone Pine, CA. The festival celebrates migrating shorebirds. As they move between hemispheres, Owens Lake is an Important Bird Area and highlight. The significance of the Owens Lake story and the return of a threatened habitat are integral to this festival's learning opportunities.

CALIFORNIA: International Migratory Bird Day (changed in 2018 from a weekend in May to Year-Round in 2019)

LEE VINING: MONO BASIN Bird Chautauqua June 14-16, 2019

An amazing array of birding and bird related activities includes everything from campfire stories to drawing birds, image editing, bird walks, talks and even some squawks. The schedule of educational and entertaining events fills three incredible days.

TAHOE VISTA / TAHOE:  Tahoe Bird Festival June 23, 2019 
Taylor Creek Visitors Center
South Lake Tahoe, CA
Celebrating International Migratory Bird Day along with festival elsewhere, the event includes several bird walks throughout the day, plus presentations which include falcons or other birds.

VALLEJO: San Francisco Bay Osprey Day June 21-23, 2019 Mare Island |
Guided Osprey, Great Blue Heron and Great Egret viewing hike in Mare Island Preserve | Lecture: Threats to Successful Osprey Nesting on Mare Island Strait | Driving Tour of Mare Island Osprey Nests | Guided Hike in Mare Island Shoreline Heritage Preserve.
Held the last full weekend in June at Mare Island Preserve, Vallejo,  Bay ospreys are celebrated with guided walks and driving tours, boat trips, science and educational presentations, fish-food -fish tacos for lunch and an evening wine and snacks gathering around the campfire at the Preserve visitor center.
Location: The Mare Island Preserve visitor center, Building A-167, 167 O'Hara Ct. at Azuar Dr. at the southernmost end of Mare Island.

LAKE ALMANOR / CHESTER: Grebe Festival August 
2019 NO EVENT | Returning in 2020?
Plumas Audubon Society
Most fieldtrips and activities meet at the Almanor Recreation Center (ARC) at 400 Meadowbrook Loop, Chester CA 96020, located next door to Almanor Rec and Parks District office. Event includes walks, boat tours and interactive learning and observation opportunities in one of the richest locations in California for watching grebes.

MONTEREY: Bay Birding Festival September 20-22, 2019
Field trips, workshops and lectures take place in and around Watsonville and nearby birding areas
Field trips, workshops and lectures take place in and around Watsonville and nearby birding areas

LODI: Sandhill Crane Festival November 1-3, 2019

LAKE COUNTY: Heron Festival  TBA likely dates April 27-28, May 4-5, 2019
A celebration of birds, wildlife, and springtime. Location: Lakeside County Park   | Shady Acres Campground

MARYSVILLE: California Swan Festival CA Swan Festival November 9-11, 2019

Bird cruises & tours


Huntington Beach Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve in Orange County is home to migratory birds and waterfowl. Free guided tours are regularly offered by several non-profit organization on some Saturdays and Sundays. Free first Saturday tours are offered by Amigos de Bolsa Chica ( They also provide free last Saturday tours each month. Bolsa Chica free guided walking tours on the third Sunday of each month are provided by Bolsa Chica Land Trust (


Autumn is a spectacular time to watch the migrating birds in California. In California birding opportunities abound, but there's one special place that allows you to hop aboard the Osprey boat for a two hour guided tour of Cachuma Lake, located a short drive outside the city of Santa Barbara. The tours are scheduled to go out daily and make for a unique change from city attractions during a Santa Barbara vacation.

COLEVILLE: Birding First Friday 8-9 a.m.
Meets at Sweetwater Coffee Shop, 107537 US-395, Coleville, CA
See schedule:
Come watch and enjoy the birds in the Antelope Valley. There is a larger variety of birds to see in Coleville, CA

DAVIS (nearby) Yolo Basin Tours 2nd Saturday (some exceptions)
Tour times: October through April, 9 a.m. -Noon
Tour the Yolo Wildlife Area with an experienced field trip leader the second Saturday of the month from September through June. View flooded seasonal and permanent wetlands, native grasslands and young riparian forests. Depending on the season, look for migrating and resident waterfowl, shorebirds, songbirds, raptors, and wading birds. During periods of inclement weather or flooding, call (530) 758-1018 the morning of the trip for a recorded message for trip cancellations or additional information.

Events are not guaranteed. It is your responsibility to confirm before going.

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