FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions


Q: What's the best way to register for trips? A: By far, the best way to register is online on our website.  It's fast, it's easy, and you're more likely to get the field trips you want—when you want them. Q: How do I know my credit card is safe? A: Your online payment is always handled in the most secure way.  When the registrar enters your credit card number to pay, it immediately disappears and no records of credit card numbers are retained. You can also pay for registration through a PayPal account. Q: I'm attending the festival with friends. Can I register for them, too? A: Yes! This year we've built in the option for you to order multiple tickets simultaneously, ensuring that you and your friends or family will be on the same field trip. Q: Do I have to register online? A: No, you can download and print a registration form, fill it in, and send it in along with a check to Monterey Bay Birding Festival, 250 Main Street, Watsonville, CA  95076.  Keep in mind that by the time we receive your registration in the mail, some field trips and events may already be sold out. Q: Can I attend  just one evening presentation? A: Yes, if space is available and by paying the fee. Evening presentations are $10.00 each. Q: What is the Cancellation Policy? A: Cancellations made prior to September 2, 2016 will result in a refund of fees paid, less a $25 administrative. Refunds will be processed by the Registrar after the festival. No refunds will be made for cancellations on or after September 2, 2016, or for no-shows. Monterey Bay Birding Festival reserves the right to cancel any event for any reason, and you will receive a full refund for any paid event that we must cancel.

Waiver of Liability

Q: Do I have to sign the waiver of liability? A: Yes. The Monterey Bay Birding Festival's insurance provider requires that all festival participants (registrants and volunteers) sign the waiver of liability. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation in satisfying this requirement. To satisfy this requirement, we ask that you print, read, and sign the waiver of liability. In order to purchase a ticket, you will need to agree to the terms and conditions, which includes the waiver of liability. In addition, you will need to present your signed waiver of liability at the festival check-in table before you participate in any field trips.

Carpooling and Parking 

Q: Why does the festival request that field trip participants carpool? A: We ask that field trip participants carpool for a number of reasons. Primary among those reasons is that many field trips go to locations where access to parking is limited. Equally important, carpooling helps reduce the "carbon footprint" of driving to and from field trips. Fewer cars also make it easier for field trip leaders to keep track of the group, helping to ensure no one gets lost. Q: Where can I park my car while I'm on field trips or attending workshops? A: You can park your car conveniently at the Watsonville Civic Plaza Garage. Parking is free on Saturday and Sunday. You'll need a daily permit on Thursday and Friday. (The garage offers two hours of free parking on Thursday and Friday.)  Daily permits cost $5.00, and can be purchased from the parking permit machines on Level 2 of the garage (near the elevators). The garage will open at 5:30 a.m. each day of the festival, and will close at 10:30 p.m. on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, and 7:30 p.m. on Sunday. If you plan on an owling trip, you will need to find  parking on the street for your car, as owling trips run until about midnight. Entrance to the parking garage is at 260 Rodriguez Street. Once you have your parking permit, drive up to the top (Level 6), which offers direct access to the festival's activities. If no parking spaces are available on Level 6, park on any level of the garage and take an elevator to the top to get to the festival.


Q: Many of the festival field trips leave so early. Where can I get breakfast? A: The festival will have a limited selection of items available for purchase. A few nearby restaurants are open early where you can pick up something to eat.
  • McDonalds: Opens 5 a.m.

1459 Main Street, between Pennsylvania Dr. and Ohlone Parkway 1598 Freedom Blvd., between Blanca Lane and Sydney Ave.

  • Starbucks: Opens 5 a.m.

2024 Freedom Blvd, corner of Airport 1459 Main Street, between Pennsylvania Dr. and Ohlone Parkway

  • Bagel Café and Bakery: Opens 5 a.m.

1830 Main St., between Clifford Ave. and Crossroads Square

  • Second Street Café: Opens 6:00 a.m. (weekdays only)

28 Second St. ( across from Festival Headquarters)

  • Beach Street Café: Opens 6:30 a.m.

399 Beach Street

  • Café Ella: Opens 6:30 a.m.

734 E. Lake, #1 (between Manor and Tuttle Avenues)

  • Subway Sandwich: Opens 7 a.m. (weekdays), 8 a.m. (Saturday)

7 Second St. ( first floor of festival headquarters)

Q: I'm from out of town and won't be able to make lunches. What can I do? A: You can conveniently order a delicious lunch from CaféElla online through our website! Just click on The Festival at the top of our homepage, scroll down to Lunches, and take your pick. Café Ella will deliver your order at 6 a.m. on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. (No lunches will be available on Sunday.) Q: Where can I go for dinner? A: We've listed a number of nearby restaurants featuring a range of cuisines. Just click on Lodging/Dining at the top of this page, and scroll down to Restaurants. We especially hope you'll patronize the restaurants that help make Thursday night's "Taste of Watsonville" reception such a delightful—and delicious—event!


Q: What should I wear on field trips? A: We recommend wearing layers of clothes. While September can be hot, our mornings and evenings along the coast can be quite chilly. In addition, weather conditions during the day can change quickly.  We feel you will be better off with too many layers then being cold!  Also, remember to bring a sunhat and sunscreen.


Q: Will I get to see the birds I came to see? A: As with all things birding, the answer to that question is "perhaps." Our field trip leaders will do their best to find birds that are likely to be in any given habitat. But birds are birds. And the trip that is the least productive one year might be the most productive the next! Q: How will the drought affect birding this year? A: While the drought will undoubtedly have some effects on the number and variety of birds this fall, it's difficult to predict how. Birding along the ocean/beach/coastal rocks is unlikely to be affected. The drought could affect the timing, or result in more of certain species and less of others than usual in freshwater habitats.  The fall usually brings a couple of waves of migrants, which is when we see most of the eastern species and exciting vagrants. Of course, these "fallouts" are  largely weather dependent.  
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