Lake Merritt is the oldest wildlife refuge in the United States. There are numerous birds at Lake Merritt, some year-round residents, and some migratory birds passing through. Because Lake Merritt is actually a tidal slough, it has brackish water and attracts a variety of shorebirds and seabirds.
The most (in)famous birds are the Canada Geese. Although the geese are normally migratory, there is a smaller population of them that are year-round residents. The most beloved bird would probably be Hank the pelican, an injured bird that is a permanent resident.
Another famous bird at Lake Merritt is the Tufted Duck (see photo below). He looks like a Scaup with a ponytail and he really shouldn't be in California.
All photos CC SA-BY-NC from Our Oakland unless otherwise noted.
Links and References
- Birds of Merritt, a visual guide to 70 Lake Merritt birds
- Lake Merritt Birds on oaklandnet.com
- Lake Merritt Bird Guide (PDF) from Grow Your Oakland
- It’s birding season at Lake Merritt Oaklandside December 12, 2023
Learn more about other animals in Oakland: