Birders descend on Morro Bay each year over Martin Luther King Jr. weekend to attend the Morro Bay Winter Bird Festival and capture glimpses of the massive migrating madness as they dive, swoop and scatter by the hundreds. This is Insta-worthy at its finest. But, you don’t have to attend the festival to marvel at these fine feathered friends because Morro Bay is a distinctive coastal destination for birds migrating along the Pacific Flyway through March.
The coastal Mediterranean climate sets the stage and creates the perfect backdrop for bird watching, no matter where you roam: the Morro Bay State Park boardwalk, bustling Embarcadero, iconic Morro Rock, or up close and personal from kayaks, paddleboards and boat tours. The Morro Bay National Estuary Preserve and its unique 800-acre wetland filled with salt marshes and mudflats are home to more than 250 species of land, sea, and shore birds as well as dozens of endangered species all winter long, including Peregrine Falcons.
ߦ The 23rd Annual Winter Bird Festival: January 18 – 21
This popular Winter Bird Festival, hosted by the Morro Bay Audubon Society, takes place each year over Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend. With more than 130 events, including nature treks, presentations, workshops, and lectures, there is a lot to discover. This event is designed to promote the understanding and appreciation of wildlife and environmental conservation. Topics range from geology and biology, to photography and more.
ߦ Saturday Art, Wine & Nibbles Reception – NEW
On Saturday, January 19, from 5:30 – 6:30 pm attendees have an opportunity to browse festival exhibits at a wine reception that includes light snacks. Afterwards, attendees will head over to the South Bay Community Center in Los Osos for James Currie’s keynote presentation.
ߦ Bird Festival Bazaar
Check out birding and bird inspired vendors, public presentations and environmental groups at the Bird Festival Bazaar Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
ߦ Self-Guided Tours
Get out in the field on your own schedule and at your own pace with the Winter Bird Festival self-guided tours. Try El Moro Elflin Forest Natural Area. With a raised board walk over the edge of the Bay, this is a great place to observe the unique plants and spot over 100 species of birds. Find the 13th Street entrance of Santa Ynez Street by following the signs in Los Osos.
ߦ Family Day
No preregistration or registration fee is required to participate in the family day events which take place on Saturday January 19th at the Museum of Natural History. Programs include arts & craft, educational talks, hikes, kayak and canoe rides, and up-close encounters with birds, reptiles, and insects. Children participating in Family Day will also be given a gift from the Morro Coast Audubon Society. Programing runs from 9:30 am-3 pm.
ߦ Mind Walks Series: Peregrine Falcons
Biologist Steve Schubert chronicles the efforts of nest site attendants and endangered species management techniques, captive breeding, double clutching, captive hatching of thin, fragile wild eggs, and the fostering of falcon chicks into the wild nests that have assisted in the recovery of a once-imperiled species. Author of the book The Peregrine Falcons of Morro Rock: A 50-year History, he is past president of Morro Coast Audubon Society. In its 25th year, the Mind Walk Series offers lecture on topics of interest to residents of the Central Coast, including cultural history, natural history, and current issues every Monday, January-March.