Skip to content

Bodega Bay, The Birds, and Stephen Smith

We were thinking we should watch The Birds while we were here, but it's not available as a "Watch it Now" movie on Netflix (though they probably do sell it at the Visitors Center). Oh well.


This plaque we saw over on the bay reads:

Bodega Bay and Harbor

Discovered in 1602-03 by the expedition of Vizcaino, it was named by Bodega in his survey of 1775. The harbor was used in 1790 by Colnett and by the Kusov expeditions in 1809 and 1811. The Russian-American Company and their Aleut hunters used the bay as an outpost until 1841. Stephen Smith took control in 1843. Pioneer ships of many nations used Bodega Bay as an anchorage.

I realize you can't put ALL the information on one plaque, but in my opinion, this one certainly raises a few more questions than it answers. 

1. It references "named by Bodega" but never says who Bodega was.
2. What survey?
3. "Stephen Smith took control in 1843."  Whoa. What'd he do to take control?

Found a little info on Bodega:

Captain Lt. Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra Mollineda first anchored the Spanish sloop Sonora at the south end of Bodega Bay by the mouth of Tomales Bay.  The bay is thought to be named after Bodega.

Then I looked up Stephen Smith to find out what his deal was.

Captain Stephen Smith married a 15-year-old Peruvian, Manuela Torres, and became a Mexican citizen in order to receive a land grant. He petitioned the government to establish a ranch and In August of 1844, Captain Stephen Smith was granted the 35,487 acre Bodega Rancho, bordered by the Russian River to the north and Estero Americano to the south, a large portion of the Bodega Bay Area. 

Stephen Smith is also credited with bringing the first pianos to California, and he built the first steam-powered saw mill in California with parts he also brought in by ship.

Anyway. Here's some info on the filming of The Birds, in case you're interested.