San Francisco Bay Flyway FestivaL



17th Annual

Feb 8-10 2013


January 2013

Dear Flyway Festival Fan and Friend:

    Water and wildlife swirl in a waltz  together all around us here in the San Francisco Bay as another migratory season unfolds.

    Like all other magic of the holiday and winter season, it is easy to miss unless we purposefully seek it out. On Christmas Day I listened enraptured to a radio interview with bird communication expert Jon Young, author of “What the Robin Knows”. He described several forms of communication that humans possess, yet without honing of these skills, they lie dormant.

Listen in on what wildlife is saying

    Listening...really listening to bird communication is his passion...not just to identify the species by the sound...but as a way to practice an almost spiritual and yet actually essentially human behavior that is hardwired into us, but lost by our focus on only one or two forms of thinking. He explains that birds have a their song and sounds. They don’t just sing for the pure joy.

    That interview a few weeks ago has stayed with me. As I hop out of the car at the visitors center in the Mare Island Preserve on weekend mornings, I’m more intently listening. For what, I am not sure. I recorded a cacophony of bird sounds in the eucalyptus grove one afternoon. Unsure of what it all meant, yet eagerly listening in.

    I hope that you will come out to the Flyway Festival this year ready to listen in on the wild world that surrounds us here in the greatest migratory stopover on the Pacific Flyway. Listen, and tap that part of you which is truly and deeply wild. Each and every birdwatching field guide, hike leader, tour matter what they are sharing...and even exhibitors and artists...have found that deeper connection with will, too.

    The 17th Annual San Francisco Bay Flyway Festival, our annual celebration of the return to the San Francisco Bay of more than 1 million shorebirds and hundreds of thousands of waterfowl, takes place at the peak of the migration on the weekend of Friday, Saturday and Sunday February 8-10, 2013. We will once again gather together from all parts of the Bay Area for our Mare Island-based Wildlife and Birding Expo and to visit some of the best wildlife viewing areas of the Bay, especially the northern bay where so much of the wildlife habitat is beginning to be opened to regular public access, yet, much is still off-limits except during the three days of the Flyway Festival.

    Our main Flyway Festival headquarters is at the former Mare Island Naval Shipyard where our Wildlife and Birding Expo includes exhibits and interactive activities offered by 75 or more non-profit, natural and historical resource agencies, slide shows, and a live raptor show along with commercial art, birding suppliers and digital equipment and optics vendors, and a fine art exhibition entitled, Bay Area Wetlands to Ridgetops, a silent auction and raffle and good food.

     It is a magical weekend when so many people come out to marvel at nature that they may not even notice on a daily basis. For just one weekend it is not about the one community we live in, it is about the entire ecosystem of wildlife that knows no city limits or other boundaries.

    In addition to our guided outdoor nature, history and recreational hikes and birdwatching outings throughout the north Bay which I think you will agree, really are some undiscovered gems, we introduce beginning and avid wildlife viewers and history, art and photography buffs to some of our favorite Mare Island self-guided locations that are especially great for wildlife viewing and bird watching throughout the year, such as the San Pablo Bay Wetlands Trail and the Mare Island Shoreline Heritage Preserve.

    Be sure to visit the Mare Island Shoreline Heritage Preserve at the southern end of the island, where we are open every Friday-Sunday 10am-to an hour after sunset.

It’s up to you and me to keep the Flyway Festival forever free

If you believe with all your hearts as I do, that the Flyway Festival fills a special need and purpose here on the “north shore” of San Francisco Bay, I hope you will give a generous contribution to help us keep the Flyway Festival free and provide the absolutely highest quality experience we can deliver.

If you review the regional outings schedule, you will see that it’s all about raptors this year! Join Murray Berner, Brian Collett, Refuge Manager Don Brubaker and Larry Broderick for raptor outings at Skaggs Island, Lynch Canyon and Cougar Mountain. And, thanks to the US Fish and Wildlife Service for allowing access to Skaggs Island.

On behalf of my fellow board members and our Flyway Festival coordinating team, we look forward with great anticipation to once again spending the weekend with you and many other times together this year.

Call or email either Kathy [ 425-279-3502] or me []707-249-9633] with questions and suggestions.


Myrna Hayes

Festival Director and Co-founder

Mare Island Heritage Trust


Listening in

Join us for our 17th annual celebration of the migration through San Francisco Bay of more than 1 million shorebirds and hundreds of thousands of ducks, geese, hawks and other wildlife at the peak of migration. February 8-10 2013

Credit and special thanks for fantastic Flyway Festival photos throughout this website goes to Brian Collett, Eric Dugan, Erik Halberstadt and Wally NeVille