Vallejo’s Mare Island is getting ready to host the millions of tourists that always come through the San Pablo Bay this time of year. Most of these tourists are not people. Most of these tourists are shorebirds, songbirds, ducks, geese, hawks, monarch butterflies, and all of our other winged friends who migrate through or spend their winters in the San Francisco Bay Area.
The fine, feathered tourists are celebrated every year with the San Francisco Bay Flyway Festival, a three-day “bird-apalooza” that returns Friday, February 10 – Sunday, February 12 to Mare Island in Vallejo. The complete Flyway Festival schedule of events features wild bird demonstrations, guided birding tours, and of course bird-watching and feeding sessions with some of the top bird brains in the field of ornithology.
“What is certainly unique about this bird-watching festival compared to others throughout the nation, is that it is free and generally requires no pre-registration,” Flyway Festival co-founder and director Myrna Hayes said in a release. “For the last 21 years, we’ve ensured that people don’t have to pay to fall in love with the wild world in their own backyard. It’s paid off. We have a following.”
Most of this weekend’s Flyway Festival events and attractions are held on Mare Island, most notably the event’s centerpiece Wildlife Exploration and Birding Expo. But the Flyway Festival has some additional auxiliary guided tours scheduled to take place in Contra Costa, Sonoma, Napa and Solano counties.
This weekend may be a wet one, but all Flyway Festival events will still take place rain or shine. If you’re not familiar with Mare Island, it’s easily accessible via public transportation on the San Francisco Ferry to Vallejo followed by a free shuttle ride on the SolTrans Mare Island shuttle.