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Photo by Tom Grey

Wetlands Wonders


Hi there! I'm Avery the Avocet, your guide through the wetlands. The wetlands are my home and I'm here to take you on a tour through them. Click the buttons below to explore our wetlands. Now it's time to spread your wings and fly with me!

  1. Start with Bird Migration to explore why birds travel from one place to another and then back again.
  2. Also, look at how wetland habitats provide a home near water to many plants and animals.
  3. Then discover how adaptations and behaviors allow birds to survive in their habitats.

At anytime during your wetlands discovery, you can look up words you don't understand in the wetlands dictionary.


Become a Steward of the Earth by writing to an official about an important issue affecting our wetlands.


Now, let's explore the wetlands!


  • Bird Migration

    Migration is the process of traveling from one place to another and then back again. The main reason my bird friends migrate is to find food and water as the seasons change. Also, they may migrate to find a mate, find a safe place to raise their young, and to reach climates that will allow them to survive. Along the way, they face many hazards like storms, predators, and lack of food and rest stops. My friends use their instincts to find their route and use cues like the weather, the Earth's magnetic field, stars, and landmarks like rivers and mountains. We follow paths called flyways and California is part of the Pacific Flyway.


    Since I am an American Avocet, I migrate from the Bay Area to wetland areas of the southern California coast. Some of my avocet friends stay year-round on the southern California coast, but I prefer to come back to the Bay Area each spring to raise my young.


    Find out where these wetland birds migrate!

  • Wetland Habitats

    Glad you were able to migrate in order to explore some of the wetland habitats. I know your wings must be tired so now is an opportunity to rest.


    Some of my friends want to invite you into their homes called habitats. A habitat is the natural environment of a plant or animal. In other words, it is where a plant or animal lives. In order to survive, an animal needs to have food, clean water, clean air, and shelter in its habitat. Wetland habitats provide a home to many plants and animals.


    Let's explore some of the wetland habitats — click on one of the pictures below to find out more!


    Find out about these habitats!

  • Adaptations and Behaviors


    All birds have a job to do: they need to keep themselves alive and reproduce. Birds accomplish this job through adaptation. Adaptation is a change in a bird's body or behavior that allows the bird to be more successful in life. Birds that are better adapted to their habitat have a better chance of doing their job to survive.


    There are two kinds of adaptation: physical and behavioral. Let's see how some of the birds in Santa Clara Valley adapt to their environment! Click here to get started.

  • Wetlands Dictionary

    Baylands - generic term used to refer to the land and habitat adjacent to a bay.

    Census - an official count of a population.

    Delta - a deposit of soil, often triangular, that forms at the mouth of a river.

    Detritus - decaying bits of plant and/or animal remains (can resemble gooey mud).

    Estuary - a body of passage of water where tidal (salt) water is diluted by fresh water.

    Flood Control - measures taken to aid in the prevention of floods.

    Flyway - a route used by birds migrating to and from breeding grounds.

    Habitat - the place or type of site where a plant or animal normally lives.

    Halophyte - a plant that grows in salty soil (pickleweed, saltbrush).

    industry - large-scale business activity (manufacturing, production, etc.).

    Marsh - an area of low, wet, soft land often between terrestrial and marine.


    Migration - moving (usually seasonally) from area to area for feeding & breeding.

    Mudflats - the salty soil area of land between the lowest low and the highest low tide.

    Nursery - a place where birds and animals keep and care for their young/newborns.

    Pickleweed - a fleshy plant that commonly grows in salt marshes.

    Recreation - activities people participate in for fun or relaxation.

    Salt Grass - a grass-like plant that commonly grows in salt marshes.

    Urban Development - the growth and expansion of cities such that the land is no longer in its natural state.

    Wetlands - areas that, at least periodically, have waterlogged soils (bogs, marshes, etc.).

    Wildlife - generic term used to refer to non-domestic, wild birds and animals.