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Birds

SFO is in the middle of the Pacific flyway, one of the annual migratory bird “highways” from North to South and vice versa.

An abundance of birds including ducks, geese, wading, diving birds, song birds, hawks and owls consider SFO its home. Learn about two endangered species that live near the Airport.

California Ridgway’s Rail (Rallus Obsoletus)

The California Rail (formerly known as the Clapper Rail) is a critically endangered bird with a population of about 2,000. Like many animals that rely on coastal habitats, the same places that people like to live, recreate and conduct business, the California Rail has been nudged toward extinction. However, marsh restoration projects around the Bay may help increase the number of these birds.

California Brown Pelican (Pelecanus Occidentalis Californicus)

Until very recently, the Brown Pelican was endangered as a result of DDT, the chemical that also nearly drove Bald Eagles to extinction. Eliminating the use of DDT and protecting these birds has led to a massive comeback and the Brown Pelican can commonly be seen on the California coast and here at SFO.

Burrowing Owl (Athene Cunicularia)

Burrowing owls are unique because they nest underground, bringing them into greater conflict with land development. They live in the southern United States and in Central America. Burrowing owls will take over an old ground squirrel burrow and remodel it for their needs. These owls are often spotted on the ground or on a low post in the middle of the day.