Keep Me Wild: Waterfowl

Canada geese near pond
Duck taking flight
Canada goose standing
Canada geese in flight

Introduction

California is home to hundreds of bird species that share both habitat and resources - including dozens of species of waterfowl (e.g., ducks, geese) and seabirds (e.g., gulls, pelicans). Many species of waterfowl and seabirds are migratory, and travel over great distances. Because these species depend on habitats in California, other states, and even other countries, they are federally protected.

Increased human presence and access to non-natural food sources can alter these birds' natural behaviors, diets, and foraging habits. These changes can result in a loss of fear of people and increase human-bird interactions as they seek out food. Help keep waterfowl and seabirds wild. Learn more!

Sharing Space Outdoors

Do not feed waterfowl

  • Human food, such as bread or popcorn, is unhealthy for waterfowl.
  • Feeding waterfowl can help spread disease - as well as increase encounters or conflict with humans.

Dispose of fishing tackle

  • Properly dispose of fishing line and hooks – Birds can become entangled or injured.
  • If you find a sick or injured bird - Contact a local Wildlife Rehabilitation Facility or Animal Services Division.

Avoid disturbing nests

  • In spring, waterfowl lay eggs and are very protective of their babies.
  • If a nest is close to human activity - Avoid disturbing it as much as you can.
  • If a nest is in an unsafe location - Contact a local Wildlife Rehabilitation Facility or CDFW for guidance before touching a nest.

Respect wildlife

  • Keep them wild!
  • Keep a safe distance. Do not touch or handle birds.
  • Do not attempt to capture, handle, or chase waterfowl.
  • Do not allow children or pets to chase birds. It can lead to injury or death.
Canada goose with goslings

Sharing Space Outdoors

Do not feed seabirds

  • Human food and trash is unhealthy for seabirds.
  • Feeding seabirds can help spread disease - as well as increase encounters or conflict with humans.

Dispose of fishing tackle

  • Properly dispose of fishing line and hooks - Birds can become entangled or injured.
  • If you find an entangled or injured bird - Contact a local Wildlife Rehabilitation Facility or Animal Services Division.

Avoid disturbing nests & breeding colonies

  • If a nest is close to human activity - Avoid disturbing it as much as you can.
  • If a nest is in an unsafe location - Contact a local Wildlife Rehabilitation Facility or CDFW for guidance.

Respect wildlife

  • Keep them wild!
  • Keep a safe distance- Do not touch or handle birds.
  • Do not attempt to capture, handle, or chase seabirds.
  • Do not allow children or pets to chase birds. It can lead to injury or death.
Caifornia gull roosting atop pier