Bird Habitat Protection 

Let's Band Together for the Birds

Point Reyes National Seashore, named the #1 birder hotspot of all national parks in 2017, has recorded 490 bird species or 54% of all North American bird species.

In response to concern from our local community around the vegetation management practices of Marin County, its contractors, and PG&E during nesting season, EAC is working to advocate for better bird nesting habitat protections in Marin County.

Many of us are fortunate to live in Marin County, an area that provides diverse and excellent habitats for birds and other wildlife. Marin County's primary green spaces are located in West Marin, and are managed by a number of county, state and federal agencies,
where birds and people alike flock to its shores for respite and relaxation. 

Birds are relatively easy to observe and are indicators of habitat quality. A healthy environment for birds also provides benefits to other wildlife and people. Parts of West Marin are world-renowned for bird watching and are designated as Important Bird Areas by the National Audubon Society.

Osprey Nest © Carlos Porrata Ospreys prefer to nest atop dead trees and often build their giant nests out of large sticks and branches. An osprey pair will return to the same nesting site year after year. 

Osprey Nest © Carlos Porrata

Ospreys prefer to nest atop dead trees and often build their giant nests out of large sticks and branches. An osprey pair will return to the same nesting site year after year. 

Point Reyes National Seashore, named the number 1 birder hotspot of all national parks in 2017, has recorded 490 bird species or 54% of all North American bird species just within its borders, and easily claims the prize for the greatest avian diversity in any U.S. national park. Some of the factors responsible for attracting this amazing diversity are Point Reyes' optimal latitude, its diverse habitats, its location along the Pacific Flyway, and the shape of the peninsula, which acts as a geographic magnet. 

Many birds remain resident all year long, but spring and fall migrations are important times for mating, nesting, egg development, and rearing of chicks. The most critical bird nesting season is March 1 through August 1. Wildlife protection and public safety concerns must be balanced to ensure a healthy environment for birds, which in turn, provides benefits the ecosystem, fire safety and recreational pursuits. 

Birds are already under threat due to climate change, habitat loss, human disturbance, and pesticides world-wide, so let's band together for the birds in West Marin by asking our County Supervisors to create a bird nesting protection ordinance that will protect them when they need it the most!

Birds matter...because amazing migrations remind us what an interconnected web we live in, from pole to pole.
— Bill McKibben, Author, environmental advocate

Due to a number of incidents in 2015 and 2016, which led to the destruction of nests with eggs or chicks, EAC, with support from Point Blue Conservation Science (PBCS), and Audubon Canyon Ranch (ACR)sent a letter to Marin County Supervisors on March 16, 2017 recommending a new county ordinance to better protect
migratory birds during the most critical bird nesting season March 1 through August 1. Read full comment letter.


Establishment of Marin County Ordinance

It is our recommendation Marin County should adopt a comprehensive ordinance to protect migrating birds, nests, eggs, and young that includes: 

  • Recommendations as to when each type of vegetation and habitat should be trimmed or removed taking into account that different habitat types harbor different species at different times of the year. 
  • A restriction of vegetation maintenance work to the non-nesting season. This leaves seven months to undertake most clearing projects. Some species, such as hummingbirds, owls, jays, and towhees nest earlier (mid-December). An ordinance should take this into account.
  • Exceptions could be made for imminent threats to human safety or property with review from a qualified biologist, but other maintenance should be scheduled outside bird nesting season.
  • A requirement for prior bird nesting surveys if an agency or company wants to do vegetation management outside of approved seasons.

Alongside the ordinance, EAC also recommends the County create a program to educate maintenance staff, commercial arborists, and other entities who conduct vegetation work in the County about the existing laws (the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) and California’s Fish and Game Section 3503) and require them to abide by the laws, which protect migrating birds, nests, eggs, and young. 

We look forward to working with the Marin County of Supervisors are protecting our unique resources and bird populations in West Marin! Thank you for lending your voice to our petition!


Are you an avid admirer of avifauna? 

Join us for our annual spring fundraiser, the Point Reyes Birding & Nature Festival 
held over the weekend of April 27th-29th, 2018!

Additional Resources

 California Fish and Game Code

Migratory Bird Treaty Act 

Point Reyes Bird Checklist