MCAS Bird Finding Guides

Welcome to the MCAS Bird Finding Guides (BFG) for SLO County. These guides, divided into five sections within the county, provide local information for locations within each section.

Please review the following "How To" information:

BFG Tutorial (Six-page PDF)
Use BFG & eBird to locate a bird species (11-minute YouTube video narrated by Norm Pillsbury)
Alpha Location List (Four-page PDF) - Someone gives you a location. What section is it in?

Send Your Feedback (problems, suggestions, comments, etc.)


A. North Coast
  • Covers SR 1 at Old Creek Road to Ragged Point Inn
B. Morro Bay / SLO Area
  • Covers Morro Bay to Los Osos, Montana de Oro State Park, and greater San Luis Obispo Area
C. South Coast
  • Covers Avila Beach to Oso Flaco Lake, including Lopez Lake area to east
D. North County
  • Covers interior portions of the county, north of Cuesta Grade and east of coastal hills
E. Carrizo Plain / East County
  • Covers far eastern portion of the county, including the entire Carrizo Plain National Monument


These guides were initiated in 2007 by Al Schmierer, who first focused on The Carrizo Plain, and then were expanded to the rest of the county with help from Tom Edell, Maggie Smith and Mike Stiles, and with website assistance from Paul Andreano and Joanne Aasen. The guides were added to the current MCAS website in 2013.

In 2020, Cuesta College instructor Feride Schroeder and intern Kasia Crowley, in consultation with Joanne Aasen and Bart Beckman of MCAS, created Interactive GIS Maps linking the local information contained in the guides to corresponding eBird Hotspots. Funding for the Cuesta internship was provided by National Science Foundation ATE Grant #1800779 GIS Technology: Mapping, Data Management and Work-Based Learning Across Industry Sectors. eBird is "...the world's largest biodiversity-related citizen science project... ."

Others who have assisted in this newest edition are: Tom Edell, Jay Carroll, Norman Pillsbury, Kathanne Lynch, Wendy McKeown, and Tom Slater. Map photos were contributed by Tanner Chapman and Bart Beckman.