Shoebirds foraging on the Humboldt Bay mudflats at sunset on Dec. 1, 2020 | Photo by Jen Kelly

4 Easy Places to go Bird Watching in Humboldt County

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1. The Arcata Marsh & Wildlife Sanctuary

The Arcata Marsh is one of the easiest places to walk around and see staggering amounts of birds. Birders have spotted over 300 species of birds in the Arcata Marsh. You’ll see geese, ducks, cormorants, and a large amount of those little birds that stick their bills into the mud. The marsh is good for biking, walking, jogging, or sitting in your warm car in the parking lot by Klopp Lake and watching those birds dig around in the mud while avoiding all real contact with the outside world.

2. Behind the Eureka Target

I swear this is a good place. The Eureka Waterfront Trail has a convenient entrance right by Target that leads out onto a series of walking bridges extending out over parts of the Humboldt Bay mudflats. The section of the trail between the Eureka Slough and Samoa Bridge is ideal for spotting herons and shorebirds. The trail also has a great view of the bay. On a nice day you’ll be able to see the Arcata Marsh on the opposite shore.

3. Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge

This one’s a bit of a drive from HSU. Just off the 101 and a bit south of College of the Redwoods is a network of paths, sloughs, and creeks that make up the southernmost tip of Humboldt bay. The refuge has a visitor center, boat trails, and a designated hunting area if that’s your thing. The day before writing this I saw egrets, osprey, and cormorants from the Hookton Slough Boat Launch on the south side of the refuge.

4. Wherever your currently are

If you’re in Humboldt County and you go outside, it won’t be long before you see a bird. There’s nothing wrong with sitting outside for a bit and waiting for the birds to come to you. Aside from the crows, gulls, and vultures you probably see all the time, you might get a glimpse of a hummingbird, chickadee, junco, goldfinch, or any number of birds hanging out of passing through Humboldt. The best part about this method is you can just look out of a window and stay warm.

Author Bio: Jen is a Humboldt County local with a family more enthusiastic about local wildlife than they are about basic needs like eating and sleeping. After a childhood full of getting dragged out to cold places at unreasonable hours, Jen is sharing their hard won knowledge of how to experience nature in the least miserable way.

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