Our conservation chair, Michael Perrone, writes the monthly Conservation Corner column for the YAS newsletter, the Burrowing Owl. Current local concerns include the ability of the agriculture community to continue to provide vital bird habitat; the status of the Tricolored Blackbird; and the conservation significance of trends in abundance of local birds, as shown by the annual Putah Creek Christmas Bird Count.
A lot has been happening at Audubon California’s Bobcat Ranch recently.
Nina Tortosa, Restoration Intern at the ranch, compiled a comprehensive report of ranch restoration work that she was involved in from September 2019 through March 2020. One of many projects involved repair of part a birding trail used by the Yolo Audubon phenology group. You can read her full report below.
In addition, quite a few nesting boxes have been refurbished for some lucky new owners. (Photo above.)2020-05-05-Tortosa-Bobcat-Restoration-Report
Which local program has finished nearly three hundred habitat improvement projects, mostly on farms, as part of formal high school course work? The answer is SLEWS (Student and Landowner Education and Watershed Stewardship), which teaches the next generation of farmers and natural resource stewards to restore habitat, while learning science hands-on. SLEWS is a program […]
Our February article described the huge losses that cats inflict on wild birds in California and around the country. Recognizing this as an important conservation problem, YAS explored the issue further. We talked to key people at the County animal shelter in Woodland, the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, the Yolo County SPCA, and […]
In November 2018 this column discussed ongoing and planned habitat improvements at the Open Space Park on Cache Creek, along County Road 85 just north of the town of Capay. Now I am happy to report on the success of the project, which has had help from YAS. The forty-acre park was recently part of […]
A recent study by the Smithsonian Institution and the US Fish and Wildlife Service estimated that domestic cats kill about 2.4 billion birds and 12.3 billion small mammals each year in the lower forty-eight states. This is far higher—and probably more accurate–than previous figures, and likely exceeds all other sources of human-related losses of these […]
Bridgeway Island Pond is a birding hotspot in the Southport area of West Sacramento, famous for its excellent close-up views of an assortment of waterfowl, waterbirds and shorebirds. The pond and adjacent marsh often attract more Blue-winged Teal than any other place in northern California, and last spring it hosted a Garganey, the second one […]
The Putah Creek Riparian Reserve, owned and managed by UC Davis, is a well-known birding spot. The publicly accessible Yolo portion is on the north bank of the creek, mainly between County Road 98 (called Pedrick Road in Solano County) and Brooks Road. The Reserve was established in 1983. We have a good picture of […]
Projects to map the distribution of breeding bird species in a given area have covered numerous California counties. Called breeding bird atlases, they describe abundance, timing of breeding, and aspects of life histories. Trained citizen scientists do the field work. Their observations are synthesized into species accounts and maps, which reveal a great deal about […]
From a modest office near downtown Woodland, the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) and its local partner, the Yolo County Resource Conservation District, help farmers and ranchers with a range of business matters. More importantly for Yolo Audubon, they also help rural landowners create and improve habitat for birds. For example, in the ranching […]
A while ago I wrote about the marvelous success of the nest box installation program along Putah Creek masterminded by Yolo Audubon’s own Melanie Truan. Over the years, those nest boxes have produced nearly fourteen thousand fledgling Tree Swallows, Western Bluebirds, Ash-throated Flycatchers, House Wrens, and others. The effort has shown that demand for nest […]
The Yolo Habitat Conservancy is the County agency charged specifically with protection of native species and their habitats, as well as management of environmental permits for development in the County and its cities. Toward that end, the Conservancy spent several years developing a combined federal Habitat Conservation Plan and state-level Natural Community Conservation Plan (Yolo […]
The Burrowing Owl is the only bird of prey in the Sacramento Valley that nests underground, usually in abandoned ground squirrel burrows and most often on the edges of farm fields. Farmland on the border of cities is where most development occurs; Burrowing Owl nest sites are lost as building proceeds. It is lawful to […]