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California Travel Tips

Birds Getting Head-Start on Grunion Run

Published on: March 20, 2012

California Beaches — Open season for humans to hunt grunion is a few days away (March 22 -25) but don’t tell that to the birds. They are going bonkers over something in the sand and they’re not even stopping for humans, which is unusual for these cautious creatures! This week as Californians prepare their buckets, re-energize their flashlights with new batteries and get ready for the time honored tradition of grunion hunting, the birds have free reign.

These sand-diggers with exceptional beaks that look like jack hammers pounding up and down on the beach, are sucking up delicious food, and perhaps some eggs that grunion deposit and bury during high tide.

For humans, the  grunion hunt is allowed only during open season (see Grunion Run schedule). If you’re 16 or older, you better grab a fishing license (dfg.gov) before you go. You’re not permitted to catch the small silvery fish otherwise. There’s no tricking the grunion–you can’t dig a hole to catch them in. You just go out at night and get ready to get slimed because you are only allowed to catch them with your bare hands. It’s simple work, and people love it.  Good luck and happy dining! Grunion are cooked into bean casseroles, can be breaded and fried in a cast iron skillet, or used in a variety of dishes.

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