When and where to find wildlife
Peak season for most species of waterbirds and raptors is November through April. Aleutian cackling geese, Pacific brant and migratory shorebird populations peak from March to late April. Summer visitors can see many terns, cormorants, and pelicans, as well as resident egrets, herons, and migratory songbirds such as warblers, sparrows, and swallows. For more animals through the season see Nature's Calendar. A list of Humboldt Bay Watchable Wildlife (344K pdf) is available.
Most waterfowl, shorebirds, and raptors can be found on the Hookton Slough and Salmon Creek Units. Each has a walking trail (see refuge map--478K pdf).
The Lanphere and Ma-le’l Dunes also offer a unique birding experience. The soon to be opened slough-side trail at Ma-le’l Dunes combines opportunities to view unusually high densities of song birds in the adjacent riparian and swamp habitats, including an active osprey nest, with wading and shore birds on the adjacent mudlflats and raptors cruising overhead.
Do not approach or disturb nesting birds, and leave all young animals alone. Even though you may think they are abandoned, a parent is likely close by waiting for you to leave. Do NOT feed wildlife. It disrupts their digestive systems and compromises their natural instinct for survival.
What to bring