American Avocets


The diverse habitats of Midpen preserves support a variety of breeding and migrating birds. Some are local residents such as the Ridgeway's rail and California thrasher. Other birds such as the barn swallow and golden-crowned sparrow regularly migrate through the preserves. Still others, like the red crossbill and Lawrence goldfinch, have variable migratory patterns and breed in the preserves on certain years. The Bay Area sits at the center of the Pacific Flyway, a sky highway for migratory birds, which increases species diversity during spring and fall migration seasons.

Bird Species Spotlight

Get an in-depth look into some of the most iconic and unique bird species that can be found in Midpen preserves. Click on a bird species to learn more about its habitat, habits and defining features. 

American avocets and northern shoveler ducks at Stevens Creek Shoreline (Michelle Yau)
(Michelle Yau)

Each fall brings a torrent of feathers to the Bay Area. With freezing winter weather approaching, birds across the world are moving south to areas that have more abundant food and good nesting sites. For some bird species, this means flying from the Arctic as far south as Central and South America. Year after year, these migrating birds follow the same flight paths, forming great north-south sky highways known as “flyways.”


The Bay Area sits at the center of the Pacific Flyway, which extends from the high Arctic to Mexico — approximately 4,000 miles.


Want to learn more about how to go birding? Watch our Birding Year-Round video, created by Midpen volunteers.

Sign up for our newsletter to find out what’s happening in your open space!