Snowy Plover on the beach near Santa Maria Valley

Birdwatching in Santa Maria Valley

The unique geography of Santa Maria Valley provides an optimal environment for birdwatching thanks to its proximity to both the Pacific Ocean and oak woodland habitats.

Oso Flaco Nature Preserve
What's Your Bird Count?

Calling birders of all levels

Each December and January, birdwatchers gather together for the National Audubon Society’s annual Christmas Bird Count.

Birders in Santa Maria Valley have been counting birds in the annual count for nearly 40 years, heading out to search for as many species as possible within the Santa Maria Valley count circle, which spans 15 square miles, running along the coast. Participants in the 2020 bird count spotted 147 different species of birds.

Shorebirds, Seabirds & Waterfowl

Species You Can Find in Santa Maria Valley

Endangered Shorebird

Western Snowy Plover

Endangered Seabird

Least Tern


Loggerhead Shrike