More than 600 species of birds call California home and depend on a diversity of habitats as they travel along the Pacific Flyway, a superhighway for birds migrating between Alaska and Patagonia. Nevertheless, even though California continues to be a haven for migratory birds, the state has seen a steep decline in habitat over the past 150 years. Less than 10% of the state’s original wetland habitat remains today, and the threat of losing more habitat persists.
By enhancing the places where these birds rest, feed, and breed – and creating new ones – we can honor our natural legacy and reverse the declines that many of these populations have been experiencing.
The ten million acre Central Valley provides particularly important habitat for Pacific Flyway migratory birds. The Partnership currently focuses on three regions in the Central Valley:
- Sacramento Valley. The valley provides a wintering area for waterfowl and shorebirds, as well as important habitat for resident and migratory raptors, songbirds, and other species. Much of this habitat has already been replaced by crops or altered by river diversions. The flooding of rice and other crop lands offers many benefits for these birds, and we’re working with growers to maximize the conservation value of these lands.
- San Joaquin River Basin. Migratory birds including waterfowl and songbirds make heavy use of the region’s grasslands, woodlands, and wetlands, but those habitats are shrinking due to river diversions and conversation to farmland.
- Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. While seasonal flooding in the Delta used to create 1,000 square miles of marshland habitat for birds, less than ten percent of original habitat remains. Nevertheless, more than 200 different bird species still populate the area and up to 50 percent of the Pacific Flyway’s migrating or wintering waterfowl depend on habitats in the region.