Bird Return Program

Nearly six million shorebirds make a pit stop in the Sacramento Valley each fall as they make their journey south for the winter. Situated perfectly along the Pacific Flyway, the valley’s 500,000 acres of rice fields become a temporary home for birds seeking warmer climates. River Garden Farms has 15,000 acres of farmlands that play a vital role in providing migration and resident habitat.

By flooding the fields with just three inches of water, River Garden Farms is able to provide food and habitat for waterfowl while at the same time breaking down left over rice straw. This practice is much more environmentally friendly than burning the straw, which was common practice during the mid-1900s.

The program is managed in partnership with The Nature Conservancy under its “Farming for Wildlife” project, which strives to recreate diminishing shorebird habits with the help of farms like River Garden Farms.

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