The Presidio of San Francisco has one of the most diverse bird populations of any urban park in the world, with over 200 species having been spotted here. This diversity is owing to a number of factors, including its great variety of habitats that range from open water and protected bay, to rocky and sandy shoreline, to tidal marshes, coastal scrub, grasslands, mixed woodlands and ornamental areas. Since the Presidio lies on a major bird migratory route along the west coast, it also hosts a variety of transient birds that stop over to rest and feed on their journey to and from places as far away as South America and the Canadian arctic. This combination of factors makes the Presidio a birders paradise with different species to see throughout the year.
The bird diversity at the Presidio has changed over the years. When the Europeans arrived in the 1770s, the area was largely dune scrub with few trees. The planting of the Presidio's forest in the 1880s and 90s allowed the establishment of a much greater variety of forest dwelling birds. During the same period, the marshes along the bay were filled, both at the Presidio and throughout the Bay Area, leading to a decline in shorebirds and waterfowl. With the recent recreation of the tidal lagoon and marsh at Crissy Field those birds are now coming back to the Presidio. Egrets, Herons, Kingfishers and many other water birds are becoming commonplace once again.
The birds listed below are amongst the most common species found at the Presidio. These are the ones that you will likely see on a visit.