The Bobelaine Audubon Sanctuary is 430 acres of riparian forest and central oak woodland on the west bank of the Feather River, opposite the mouth of the Bear River (southeast of Wilson). It is adjacent to the Nelson Slough Unit and across the river from the Lake of the Woods Unit of the Feather River State Wildlife Area, but is not part of the Feather River State Wildlife Area. The Bobelaine Audubon Sanctuary is about 2.5 miles long and about 0.3 miles wide, and features 4.6 miles of looping trails (including several shorter loops) mown into unpaved ground. It is registered as a State Ecological Preserve. Parking space is provided for about 10 cars. A portable outhouse is provided. Beware of poison oak, rattlesnakes, and ticks.
The land comprising the Bobelaine Audubon Sanctuary was donated to the National Audubon Society in 1975 by Bob and Elaine Crandall and takes its name from the combination of their two first names. It is managed by volunteers from the Sacramento Audubon Society and is a rare remnant of the riparian forests that once spread up to five miles on either side of most rivers in the Sacramento Valley. Due to people building houses and cities in historic flood plains and then building levees to reduce the threat of floods in those flood plains, most rivers are no longer allowed to overflow regularly into wide flood plains as they once did, which has narrowed the area in which riparian forests receive enough water to survive. Many birds depend on the riparian forest for their habitat.
In 1992, a fire burned much of Bobelaine Audubon Sanctuary. Many of the trees were killed in the fire, and their remains can be seen throughout the sanctuary today.
The Bobelaine Audubon Sanctuary is open daily from sunrise to sunset. There are no entrance or parking fees. No dogs or pets of any kind are allowed. The trails are not wheelchair accessible. No bicycles or any other wheeled vehicles are allowed (except the sanctuary maintenance vehicles that mow the trails). Glass bottles, alcoholic beverages, picnicking, partying, and camping are not allowed. There is no scheduled trash pickup, so please bring all trash back home with you to dispose of it properly. Picking flowers, collecting seeds, or in any way removing plant materials or animals from the sanctuary is not allowed. Hunting and fishing are not allowed.
Year-round resident birds: Western bluebird, wood duck, red-shouldered hawk, green heron, yellow-billed magpie, white-breasted nuthatch, great horned owl, Nuttall's woodpecker, Bewick's wren Summer birds: ash-throated flycatcher, black-headed grosbeak, Bullock's oriole, Western wood-pewee Winter birds: common merganser Transient, migrating birds: willow flycatcher, Western tanager, black-throated gray warbler, MacGillivray's warbler, Nashville warbler, orange-crowned warbler, Wilson's warbler, yellow warbler1
1. Birding Northern California: 81 Prime Birding Locations; Almost 300 Sites by John Kemper. Falcon, 1999