Bands of oak, cottonwood, willow and blackberry line the banks of the Sacramento River where it meets Paynes Creek, offering perches for birds and cover for small mammals. The 3,700-acre Paynes Creek management area includes that intersection and other streams, wetlands and ponds, plus grassland and oak woodland. These features attract a variety of wildlife.
BLM's management aim for public lands in the Sacramento River area is to increase spring and winter waterfowl use and nesting, by developing wetlands and aquatic habitat. Riparian (riverside and creekside) areas are managed to maintain the quality and quantity of existing vegetation, and the enhancement of upland habitat will provide a better home for blacktail deer, valley quail, wild turkey and nongame species.
BLM manages 26 miles along the Sacramento River between Redding and Red Bluff, with opportunities for wildlife watching, hiking, fishing, and horseback riding. The area is closed to off-highway vehicle use.
Animals you may see here
- Birds: The Sacramento River area forms a major corridor within the Pacific Flyway used by migrating birds. This brings heavy use from fall through spring by migratory waterfowl and shore birds, including whistling swans, Canada geese, snow geese, ringnecked ducks, wood ducks, lesser yellowlegs and great blue herons. Endangered bald eagles and greater sandhill cranes (state-listed as threatened) also travel along the Sacramento River. Birds finding a year-round home here include belted kingfishers, horned larks, plain titmice, acorn woodpeckers and Lewis' woodpeckers. In the spring, the area is visited by songbirds including white-crowned sparrows and yellow warblers.
- Other wildlife: Traveling mule deer, coyotes and small mammals find cover amid the trees. Look in the irrigation sloughs for beavers, muskrats and river otters that live in the wetlands.
Viewing tips for this area
- Waterfowl are present year-round. Look in the ponds of the Paynes Creek wetland areas.
- Migratory waterfowl and shore birds use the Sacramento River area heavily during winter and spring.
- A trail to Bass pond and a fishing dock are universally accessible.
- Be sure to see tips for "Ultimate Wildlife Watching."
How to get here
From Interstate 5 about six miles north of Red Bluff, take the Jelly's Ferry exit. Turn east and drive 2.6 miles to Bend Ferry Road. Turn right, cross over the Sacramento River, and follow paved road 2.6 miles to the parking area.
Size: about 3,700 acres.
Managed by: Bureau of Land Management, Redding Field Office.
For more information, contact: Bureau of Land Management, Redding Field Office.
Site 99 in the California Wildlife Viewing Guide.
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Watchable Wildlife Sites