This section is to share about birds and birding here in Davis or Yolo County.
If you have stories about encounters with local birds, please add them to this page — The Bird and I.
Birds I have Known
Snowy Egret has yellow feet, photo by Lois Richter
Do you know about the bright yellow feet of the SNOWY EGRET? When they hunt along the muddy edges of waterways, a snowy egret will take half a step then shake those yellow toes and wait to see if any fish comes over to investigate the 'yellow worms'. So if you see a small white egret in the water and can't decide if it's a Snowy Egret or a Cattle Egret, take a moment to see if it uses that step-shake-pause step-shake-pause style of hunting — unique to the Snowy Egret.
Red-tailed Hawks command the highest perches of the summer in Davis. But on close inspection, some of them turn out to be something else. The reddish color of the Red-tail will have migrated up to the shoulder of this other large hawk. Its tail will not be red, but boldly banded black and white, as are the back and wings. This is the Red-shouldered Hawk. It perches on the wires, for example, on F-Street Extension, between the poles commanded by the Red-tails. Both species are resident here year-round.
Davis is good for blackbirds. Year-round we have two red-shouldered blackbirds (The Red-winged and the rarer Tri-color), and we see groups of the iridescent, yellow-eyed Brewer's Blackbird, with an occasional Brown-headed Cowbird mixed in. At the height of summer we have Brewer's big brother, the Great-tailed Grackle visiting the North Area Pond for a few weeks. And late in the spring we have the bright Yellow-headed Blackbird nesting in the Davis Wetlands.
Future or Ongoing Birding Tours in/near Davis
Docent-led tour at City of Davis Wetlands, first Saturday of each month (Jan-Dec) Drive to meeting place east of wastewater treatment plant, then carpool in; great fun.
Docent-led tour at Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, second Saturday of each month (October thru June). Drive to meeting place at entrance to YBWA ("Lot A)", then carpool in. Wonderful volunteer docents.
Flyway Nights Lecture Series inside the YBWA HQ, the first Thursday each month (Dec-Apr) at 7:00 pm. Topics generally feature local issues relating to wetlands and/or avian species, ethnobotany, fish passage, or local history.
— For current info about the above tours, see the Yolo Basin Foundation's list of Public Birding Tours.
West Davis Pond is also toured monthly. The Friends of West Pond and the Yolo Audubon Society co-sponsor a birding walk on the first Wenzday of each month at 9am. Start at the Gazebo at the west end of Isle Royale Lane to join Ralph Hunter and Gene Trapp for a two-hour birding and botanizing walk along easily accessible level paved paths. Check for current info at the Friends of West Pond page.
Reports from Birding Trips in/near Davis
Please let us know WHEN your Davis birding trip happened, who led it, where you went, what you did, if it might happen again, contact info, etc... We're hoping for inspiration or hints here. (Please do not post birdlists here; nor reports from out-of-Yolo trips.)
2013 March 10: We just went on the monthly (second Saturday) YBWA tour, which was led by volunteer docents Rob Floerke and Ken Ealing — and it was WONDERFUL! I've been on many a beginning birding tour, but this was the best ever. Their information was clear, their stories were great. No "script-reading" for these men! Whatever was seen or found was immediately explained clearly. When that little girl came up with a duck skeleton (feathered wings still attached), I was amazed at the info that fountained out. I'd happily go on a tour with either Rob or Ken again. Hmmmm... maybe we will! See you at the next second Saturday? —Lois Richter