PILOTS: Elevate for Seabirds

Know Before You Go

NOAA’s Overflight Regulation Areas

Areas along the California coast require you to fly at or above 1,000 feet AGL. See FAA sectional charts for more details regarding these Overflight Regulation Zones within California’s national marine sanctuaries.

Know NOAA Regulations before you fly. For complete details go to NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries main website. Other informational resources include Frequently Asked Questions about NOAA’s Overflight Regulations, and a Literature Review of the Effects of Aircraft Disturbances on Marine Wildlife.

Flying Near Devil's Slide

DSR Map and LetterMake every effort to avoid flying below 1,000 feet Above Ground Level (AGL) along the coast, most importantly between latitudes 37°34’N and 37°36’N. Direct flyovers or multiple passes over sensitive wildlife can harm both pilots and wildlife.                                                                                                                                                        


  • Bird and other wildlife strikes cost USA civil aviation over $957 million/year and 583,175 hours of aircraft downtime.
  • 92% of all bird strikes occur at or below 3,000′ AGL. Fly high to avoid strikes.
  • Nearly 1,000 bird strikes occur in California, each year. Avoid areas with high concentrations of birds.

The California coast is home to more than 600,000 seabirds. During the seabird breeding season (January-August) there is an increased chance of a birdstrike along the coast. Pilots should avoid flying at low altitudes (less than 1,000 feet AGL) to reduce the risk of a birdstrike and to avoid disturbing sensitive wildlife. For up to date information on wildlife strikes, visit the Center for Wildlife and Aviation, FAA Wildlife Strike Database and Bird Strike Committee USA.

Help protect seabirds by following these tips:

  • Noise and shadows from low-flying aircraft can scare seabirds, causing them to panic and fly, increasing the chance of a bird strike, nest abandonment or the death of young birds.
  • Avoid direct flyovers or multiple passes over sensitive wildlife can harm both pilots and wildlife.

FREE Posters, Tips & Tools

Visit our Resources page for posters, tips or tools. Contact us for a free presentation at your next club meeting.