Every Martin Luther King weekend over 500 California bird festival lovers visit Morro Bay, California, a Globally Important Bird Area, to see, photograph, and learn more about birds.  Morro Bay is located halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco on the Pacific Flyway. The area offers pristine beaches, beautiful state parks, an excellent natural history museum, panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and, best of all, thousands of birds.  Over 200 species are usually sighted during the Festival weekend.

Registration is now open for the 2019 Morro Bay Winter Bird Festival.

Learn more about registration do's and don'ts on the Registration Options page.

Inn at Morro Bay

Inn at Morro Bay

Early check-in will be available from 3 pm to 7 pm on Thursday, January 17, 2019, at the Inn at Morro Bay . No registration or registration changes will be available; it's just a head start on your process.  But wait - there's more! Brush up your casual birding skills with field trip leader Ray VanBuskirk on the terrace at the Inn at Morro Bay, 4 pm to sunset.  Bring binoculars and field guides. Telescopes will be set up on-site.

As always, the onsite Registration desk, check-in, trip starters, and the Bazaar (open to the public) will be located at the Morro Bay Community Center, 1001 Kennedy Way.

New this year:

‘Birds of Morro Bay’ Quilt Fundraiser (Raffle)

All 19 squares of this beautiful 62 X 75” quilt were hand-made by Festival board members Debi Dismer and Suzy Black using the “paper-piecing” technique (quilting by Donn McKnight). Appraised at $1,100 by an AQS Certified Quilt Appraiser - Rebecca Rogers - this stunning quilt will be on display during the festival, but only one lucky person will take it home. View quilt and quilt squares.

Tickets are $1 each or 6 for $5. Tickets can be purchased during on-line registration and at select locations in Morro Bay starting November 3. Tickets will be on sale at the festival until the drawing is held (TBA).

Festival T-shirts

In consideration of rising shirt costs and feedback from our registrants, the WBF T-shirt will now be offered as a separate item for $15 purchase during online registration. Volunteers, including trip leaders, will continue to receive a T-shirt as a ‘Thank You’ for their donation of time and expertise. T-shirts will also be for sale in limited quantities at the Festival. The 2019 T-shirt highlights the artwork of René Reyes and his illustration of a Northern Flicker.

Saturday Art, Wine & Nibbles Reception

Saturday, January 19, 5:30-6:30pm – Community Center – Another opportunity to browse the exhibits with some wine and light snacks before heading over to the South Bay Community Center in Los Osos for James Currie’s keynote presentation. Sponsored by Out of This World Discount, Optics Swarovski, Optik North America Ltd. & Opticron LLC.

Opening Reception

Opening Reception

Friday, January 18, 2019 5:00-6:30pm

2019 Reception
For Bird Festival Registrants

Enjoy wine and cheese and meet fellow birders in the Bird Festival Bazaar area. Browse through the vendor booths featuring binoculars and scopes, books and CDs, garden art, watercolors and nature photography, wood carvings, jewelry, clothing and more!


James Currie

Keynote: James Currie

Saturday, January 19, 2019, 7:00-8:30pm

Birding the globe

James takes you on a fantastic video journey around the world to see some of the planet's most sought-after and bizarre bird species. From North and South America to Australia and Africa the diversity of our birdlife is astounding. See strange breeding behaviors, first-time footage of rare species and some humorous insights into the exciting world of wildlife videography.

Alvaro Jaramillo

Keynote: Alvaro Jaramillo

Sunday, January 20, 2019, 7:00-8:30pm

The World’s Most Amazing Birds – Seabirds, and why is California such a hotspot for them

This talk might as well be about aliens! A creature so foreign we have a hard time understanding. Imagine never touching land for 5 years, as some albatross do. Or think about flying thousands of feet up, crossing the oceans as you “surf” the pressure wave of a tropical storm as frigatebirds can do. How about to be able to identify your mate by the way they smell as many seabirds do?