Bird Watching Opportunities Offered in Merced, Santa Barbara and Yolo Counties

Victoria Barr, SHARE Program Coordinator, (916) 445-4034
Media Contact:
Janice Mackey, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8908

CDFW offers first-ever birding permits on four properties in three counties

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) through the Shared Habitat Alliance for Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Program is offering new bird watching opportunities throughout the state.

A total of 62 SHARE Access Permits will be awarded through a random drawing for 31 bird watching periods. Successful applicants will receive a SHARE Access Permit valid for two to five people, depending on the property.

In northern California, interested birders will have an opportunity to access 4,000 acres of rolling blue oak woodlands on Bobcat Ranch located in Yolo County’s Vaca Mountain foothills.

In Central California, the City of Merced’s Wastewater Treatment Plant Wetlands offers 300 acres of seasonal wetlands that provide habitat for migrating waterfowl, song birds and raptors. A eucalyptus grove on the property also supports great blue heron and great white egret rookeries.

In Southern California, Sleepy Creek and Jones ranches are both located in the West Cuyama Valley in Santa Barbara County and occupy a combined 1,000 acres of oak savannah, juniper sage woodland, chaparral and riparian habitats. Adjoining these ranches are approximately 250 acres of Bureau of Land Management property and the Los Padres National Forest which provide additional sighting opportunities. Separate applications need to be submitted for each location.

For more information on these opportunities, bird lists and available dates, please visit the SHARE webpage at

Interested applicants may apply through the Automated License Data System at A $10.25 non-refundable application fee will be charged for each period choice.

These opportunities are made possible by the SHARE Program, which offers incentives to private landowners that allow wildlife-dependent recreational opportunities on their property. Participating landowners receive liability protection and will receive compensation for providing public access to or through their land for wildlife-dependent recreational activities. The goal of the SHARE Program is to provide additional hunting, fishing, and other recreational access on private lands in California.