San Francisco State of the Birds report

October 18th, 2011 · by Daniela Ogden

Today, San Francisco Bay Joint Venture released a comprehensive report on conservation efforts needed to keep birds and their habitats thriving in the San Francisco Bay. The report shows  that aggressive conservation and restoration efforts have succeeded in increasing the numbers of many bird species, but that the continued disturbance of important habitats continue to affect other populations, particularly those of grassland and coastal scrub-chaparral birds.
Audubon California became involved in the development of the report over a year ago to contribute to the policy section and help with the scientific review.
“San Francisco Bay Joint Venture fostered a collaborative spirit that is typically restricted to national conservation efforts,” said Audubon California Policy Director Dan Taylor. “It is encouraging to see strong partnering occur at a regional-level.”

Key findings from the report include:

  • Most bird populations are stable while others are struggling;
  • All habitat types harbor species that are declining;
  • Species facing the most danger are the California Clapper Rail, Western Sandpiper, Forster’s Tern, Caspian Tern, Black-crowned Night Heron, Snowy Egret, Canvasback, Northern Pintail, Scaup and Scoters. These birds struggle because of rising sea level, habitat loss, predator pressure and the influence of invasive species;
  • Rising sea level is a critical threat.

Achieving a balance between the public use of the Bay and habitat disturbance is tricky, but San Francisco Bay Joint Venture scientists and policy makers hope that the Report galvanizes action.

Contributors to the report included PRBO, US Geological Survey, US Fish and Wildlife Service, San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory, Audubon California, Audubon Canyon Ranch, California Coastal Conservancy, National Park Service and Laney College.

To read the full report, visit

(Photo of California Clapper Rail by Stephen Lea)

Categories: Audubon California · Bird conservation · Conservation research · Important Bird Areas · S.F. Bay

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