San Diego, being a coastal city, is a great place to watch hundreds of bird species, including shorebirds. Being on the Pacific Flyway means that thousands of interesting bird species pass through the area each migration season. There are good reasons to go down to the shore and waterways to watch them. Here are five reasons to watch San Diego’s shorebirds.
They often fly in large numbers: Shorebirds often congregate in large flocks and one can easily see thousands of birds congregating on mud flats or shorelines to feed and socialize. When a predator like the peregrine falcon is spotted by them in the area, these birds will often fly in fantastic formations. You can watch as birds dive and circle in large flocks in perfect synchronization.
They come in interesting shapes and sizes: Shorebirds are very diverse and come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some shorebirds have long legs, some have long bills, some come in pretty colors, and others are mostly dull. Some are very small, others are very large.
They make interesting sounds: Shorebirds have a wide range of vocalizations and calls. Most of these calls are loud because they have to be heard over crashing waves and other birds. Sounds can include simple squeaks and deets, but also long rolling curleeewwws and pull-willets.
They have different ways of feeding: Each shorebird occupies its own niche in the food chain. Some have long, curved bills for feeding deep in the mud for clams and mussels. Others have shorter curved bills for grabbing fiddler crabs in their burrows. Some have short, but sharp bills for catching insects. Still others might have bills for opening oysters or tuning over rocks. It can be interesting watching the birds trying to catch food as each has a different technique.
They’re easy to find: In San Diego, it’s easy to find shorebirds to watch. All you have to do is go to the beach or lake to find them. Places like Mission Bay Park and the Bayshore Bike Path are two examples of places where shorebirds can be seen.