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Title: Migration All Around You”;

With photograph of a California Brown Pelican

 “The Bird Trail at Wavecrest

Why do animals migrate?”

Why do some animals devote so much energy to moving across the planet while others are content to stay in place? Seasonal changes in the environment cause some animals to travel across long distances to find food, beneficial temperatures, adequate water, or safe breeding areas.” 


Migratory Routes along the North American West Coast:

Map shows:

The Northbound and Southbound Migration Routes of the Gray Whale, where the Northbound route hugs the coast and the Southbound route is further out at sea and ranges from the Bering Sea to Baja California; 

The migration Route of the California Brown Pelican, which ranges from British Columbia to Baja California.

The migration route of the Monarch Butterfly, which ranges from east of the Rocky Mountains to the San Francisco Bay Area.

The Pacific Flyway, which starts in the Canadian Boreal Forest and goes down along land and sea until it focuses towards Baja California,

 “Gray Whales

 “As you stand on this bluff top you may see migrating gray whales. Each October some 20,000 gray whales begin their migration from the Bering Sea to reproduce in the warm lagoons of Baja California. This trip, the longest annual migration of any mammal, is about 13,000 miles and takes three months. Mothers bear their calves in mid-January. By mid-April most of the whales have started the return trip to the rich food supply in the sediments of the Bering Sea.

Photo 1: Humpback whale and her calf.

In addition to gray whales, humpback whales, pictured here, blue and other whales can be seen in migration.

 “Monarch Butterflies

“In the surrounding woodland areas you may see many monarch butterflies roosting in the trees. During the summer, Monarch butterflies can be found wherever they find milkweed plants. As cold winters approach Monarchs west of the Rocky Mountains migrate to the California coast. They roost in eucalyptus trees, Monterey pines, and Monterey cypresses. Fog provides moisture to the butterflies, trees protect them from wind, and cool weather ensures they don’t use up their food reserves too quickly.”

Photo 2: A group of Monarch Butterflies hanging from pine needles

“Monarchs often roost in the exact same trees that their great-great grandparents used the previous year.”

Photo 3: A white Tailed Kite about to perch on the top of a tree.

“White Tailed Kites”

“Over the coastal prairie and scrub you may see a White-tailed Kite hovering and fluttering like a moth. The Kite is hunting for voles and other small animals or insects. It is unknown whether the White-tailed Kite is migratory. Populations fluctuate and seem to follow the changes in vole population. It may be more accurate to call them nomads.”

Photo 4: Marbled Murrelet swimming in a pond.

“Marbled Murrelets breed in coniferous forests near coasts, but winter at sea. They are currently endangered.”

“The Pacific Flyway”

“You are standing in one of the networks of breeding and foraging sites for the Pacific Flyway. More than 100 million seavrids migrate from Canada’s Boreal Forest along this route. The San Mateo Coast is a popular stop for Pink-footed Shearwaters, Black-footed Albatross and Marbled Murrelets.”

“Brown Pelicans”

“Brown pelicans breed in the early spring in the Channel Islands and Mexico in areas where they are protected from predators. After the chicks fledge, the pelicans fly north to feed during the summer and fall months.”

Photos 5: A Red-Tailed Hawk in flight


“You may also see Red-tailed Hawks, American Kestrels, Cooper’s Hawks, Peregrine Falcons and many other resident raptors at Wavecrest all year. They have adapted to fill their food and temperature needs and can reproduce successfully in this habitat.”

This portion of the California Coastal Trail sponsored by:

Peninsula Open Space Trust, Coastal Conservancy, Coastside Land Trust, and San Mateo County Parks.