Habitats

Habitats: Tidal Flats

Tidal Flats

Exposed twice a day by the Bay’s low tides, tidal flats are teeming with life. Small clams, marine worms, and crustaceans feed more than one million shorebirds each year. Today, 42% of the Bay’s tidal flats have been lost compared to historic levels. Shorebirds in San Francisco Bay are also dependent on salt ponds, many of which are now managed to maximize their value as shorebird breeding and foraging habitat. More »

Habitats: Managed Ponds

Managed Ponds

Commercial salt ponds were constructed around the edge of San Francisco Bay beginning in the mid 1800s. Many former salt production ponds in San Francisco Bay have recently transitioned to public ownership and are being restored and managed for wildlife. These shallow ponds now provide habitat for hundreds of nesting terns, gulls, and shorebirds, and roosting and feeding habitat for hundreds of thousands of migrating and wintering shorebirds and ducks. More »

Habitats: Tidal Marsh

Tidal Marsh

Tidal marshes are the vegetated, tidally influenced wetlands found along the edges of San Francisco Bay and associated channels. Pacific cordgrass, pickleweed, and other specialized plants adapted to salty water provide important habitat for many animal species, such as young salmon and other fishes, rails, songbirds, shorebirds, egrets, ducks, and the endangered salt marsh harvest mouse. More »

Habitats: Tidal Marsh Herons and Egrets

Tidal Marsh Herons and Egrets

San Francisco Bay’s herons and egrets depend on large trees, dense types of vegetation, and man-made structures surrounded by tidal marsh, tidal mudflats, and non-tidal wetlands for nesting in spring and summer and for feeding year-round. Important feeding sites also include creeks and ponds. More »

Habitats: Subtidal

Subtidal Habitat

Subtidal habitat is the habitat below the surface of San Francisco Bay, typically submerged. Birds using the subtidal habitat in the Bay feed on fish, shellfish (including mussels), invertebrates, underwater plants, and algae. More »

Habitats: Human-created

Human-created Habitats

Several human-created habitats are used by birds: levees, bridges, and buildings, to name a few. Data on the bird use of all these habitats are not available. In this section we discuss two key places, Alcatraz Island and some of the Bay’s bridges, where bird monitoring data exist. Alcatraz, once a barren sandstone rock originally inhabited by seabirds, faced a long period of human settlement. More »

Habitats: Upland

Upland Habitats

Surrounding the waters and wetlands of San Francisco Bay are a variety of ‘upland’ habitats including the five most common types – coastal scrub-chaparral, coniferous-redwood forests, grasslands, oak woodlands, and riparian (streamside) forests. These vegetation communities vary in their mix of native and non-native plant species and the composition of bird communities they support. More »


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