Golden Gate Bird Alliance is proud to offer countless ways for you to learn about, engage with, and protect Bay Area birds! From our free field trips, to our international travel programs, and special events (like Birdathon) we have something for everyone.

Below are some resources you can use in starting or continuing your birding journey.

Theses resources provide information about Bay Area bird sightings and events such as the annual Christmas Bird Count. Also included are reports on bird populations and conservation initiatives related to Golden Gate Bird Alliance projects.

Pelagic Trips

We are not affiliated with these birding-by-boat trips but list them for your convenience. Please contact them directly for details, cost, and reservations.

Alvaro’s Adventures

Alvaro Jaramillo leads outstanding trips and brings experienced sea-birders along as spotters. His trips leave from a variety of harbors, including Monterey (with the submarine canyon in Monterey Bay). The Farallon Islands trips leave from Pillar Point Harbor in Half Moon Bay.

Oceanic Society

They offer whale watching trips that include the Farallones. For these, look at the biographical sketches of the guides and ask which trips have guides who are enthusiastic about birds as well as marine mammals. These trips leave from Sausalito and San Francisco.  Follow the links for whale watching and then Farallones. Web site has phone numbers.

Grebe Courtship

Watch the courtship rituals of the Western and Clarke’s Grebe from a comfortable 10-seat boat on Clear Lake.  The best time to witness the grebe courtship displays is in late spring and early summer. 

Birding Listservs

Many local birders share their sightings with each other through birding listservs. If you live in the area, it’s a great way to learn about the latest sightings of both rare and common birds. If you’re planning a visit to the Bay Area, they’re a good way to figure out which birding spots to visit and what you may see there.  Two discussion groups that cover the birds in our area are both Yahoo Groups: SF Birds and East Bay Birding, and there are also separate groups for the North Bay, the Peninsula, etc.

Birding Hotspots

Our website has a list of many local birding hotspots, plus links to descriptions of many of these sites and tips for visiting them from our members.


A project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, eBird is an interactive online database of bird sightings – a real-time online checklist program. You can search for sightings by location or by species, and you can also input your own observations and photos. eBird then shares your data with a global community of educators, land managers, ornithologists, and conservation biologists. In time these data will become the foundation for a better understanding of bird distribution across the western hemisphere and beyond.

Christmas Bird Counts

The annual counts in Oakland and San Francisco are organized by Golden Gate Bird Alliance each December. Birders of all levels are invited to participate. You can get more information here.

Audubon Canyon Ranch

Golden Gate Bird Alliance, in concert with other Bay Area Audubon chapters, helped establish Audubon Canyon Ranch. ACR’s thousand-acre Bolinas Lagoon Preserve supports a major heronry of Great Blue Herons and Great and Snowy Egrets often numbering more than 100 pairs. Every spring, we provide volunteers to greet visitors who come to see the nesting herons and egrets. For more information on visiting or volunteering, go to

Birds of Eastshore State Park

Golden Gate Bird Alliance conducted a census of birdlife in the Eastshore State Park from October 2005 to September 2006, supported by the San Francisco Foundation and the California State Parks Foundation. An illustrated brochure with a map and a comprehensive checklist of the more than 140 species seen at the park is available from Golden Gate Bird Alliance or the East Bay Regional Park District. You can also download the checklist and the shorebird and waterfowl density chart.

Birds at the Albany Shoreline

This brochure, produced in partnership with Citizens for Eastshore State Parks, provides information on birds of the Albany shoreline. It is based on a year-long bird survey conducted by GGBA members. Click here to download a copy or here to read a blog post about the survey.

Birds of Lands End

The Birds of Lands End brochure, with text and photos by Alan Hopkins, was created by the Golden Gate Nationals Parks Conservancy and the National Park Service as a resource for birders of all skill levels. The brochure includes a trail map of Lands End and Sutro Heights as well as a list (always growing!) of birds that have been seen along these trails. Please visit for more information about Lands End and how you can help us continue our restoration efforts—for the enjoyment of all—in this wonderful park site.

Inviting Wildlife into your Backyard

Download our brochure on inviting wildlife into your backyard for helpful hints:

Inviting Wildlife into Your Backyard brochure — SF edition [English]
Wildlife into Your Backyard brochure — East Bay edition (English)
Invita La Naturaleza a tu Jardin [Spanish]

Golden Gate Bird Alliance Bird Census Reports

These reports summarize data compiled by our volunteers working to support two of our local conservation projects.

  • Arrowhead Marsh at Martin Luther King, Jr. Regional Shoreline Park. The report details the first five years of our bird census at the park’s Arrowhead Marsh and 72 acres of tidal and seasonal wetlands. The marsh and restored wetlands attract thousands of migratory and wintering shorebirds and waterfowl, and are also used by breeding birds.
  • Yosemite Slough Watershed Wildlife Survey. The survey, conducted in 2003–04, identified 118 species of birds, as well as other wildlife, that use Yosemite Creek watershed and Candlestick Point Recreation Area in the Bayview-Hunters Point community. The results showed the importance of restoring and revitalizing this industrial area for both wildlife and the community.
  • East Shore State Park Census Report.

Golden Gate Bird Alliance and SFBBO Partner on San Francisco Waterfront Survey

GGBA volunteers partnered with volunteers from the San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory to survey bird use of dilapidated piers along San Francisco’s southeastern waterfront in 2007. Read the full report here.