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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
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January 21, 2015     Feather River Bulletin
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January 21, 2015
 

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1213 Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015 Bulletin, Record, Progressive, Reporter Plumas County is a rich and diverse area that is home to many animals. Because the county has little development and numerous lakes and waterways, the area naturally attracts a wide variety of birds and is an area of interest to birders and wildlife enthusiasts, many of whom travel here specifically to observe them. This diversity of birds is part of what makes the county unique and a great place to live and visit. Some of the birds that visit the area are rare -- migratory birds that return year after year from exotic places across thousands of miles of ocean and land. Even in winter there are many species of birds that call Plumas County home. Anyone interested in local and visiting birds is invited to an upcoming free event. Mohawk Community Resource Center is pleased to be hosting Plumas Audubon Society for its next installment of the monthly MCRC Speakers Bureau on Tuesday, Jan. 27, at 5:30 p.m., at MCRC. An RSVP to 836-0446 is requested, though not required, and light refreshments will be served. Speakers from Plumas Audubon Society will present on the birds of Plumas County, weaving a story of their lives, challenges and successes. PAS Executive Director David Arsenault will speak about his ongoing flammulated owl study, while Education Chairperson Terry Williams and President Jerry Williams will talk about local bird identification, as well as some of the conservation projects and studies currently underway in the region. The event will feature a slideshow, specimens and a question-and-answer period. The upcoming MCRC Speakers Bureau event will shed more light on some .)f the many interesting birds that visit and live in Plumas County. The presentation is appropriate for all ages, and organizers promise it is a great opportunity to learn how to identify some of these remarkable birds. MCRC is a service of Plumas Rural Services and provides activities and advocacy for eastern Plumas County communities. MCRC is centrally located at the junction of highways 89 and 70, at the Corner Barn. For more information about MCRC, or this event, call 836-0446 or visit plumas ruralservices.org/mcrc. 2014 Plumas Audubon Society interns examine flammulated owl chicks at Lake Davis. Photos courtesy Plumas Audubon Society An adult flammulated owl stands about 6-1/2 inches tall.: Jerry Williams assists researchers in their tracking of the rough- Jerry Williams stands with flammulatecl owl nesting boxes he legged hawk. made for the Lake Davis study. Bureau When: Jan, appreciation and protection of the biodiversity of the Feather River region through education, research and the restoration and conservation of natural ecosystems. The annual Christmas bird count event organized by PAS took place during the second week of December. Volunteers counted 72 different species of birds in Sierra Valley, and 88 different species in Quincy. Some of these birds are here only for the winter, adding interest and birdsong to the winter landscape and then migrating to different areas or higher elevations in the warmer months. Flammulated owl The flammulated owl, one of the smallest owls in North Plumas Audubon America, nests in several Arsenault, who has a areas in Plumas County background in biology, is during the months of May and often called upon by ranchers, June, particularly around the Forest Service and Lake Davis. After hatching landowners to assess what their y oung in June, the birds kinds of animals and birds migrate south in July, are in a particular area. By primarily to Jalisco, Mexico, observing the area and and then return here in May, listening to birdsongs he is year after year, to repeat the able to determine what types cycle. of birds are nesting, which is As part of the ongoing study helpful in determining the of the flammulated owl, best way to go about thinning which aims to find out more or developing an area. about the owl and its habitat, The mission of the Plumas PAS puts up nesting boxes for Audubon Society is to the owls to use, installing at promote understanding, least 120 boxes in 2014. The owls are banded so that they may be identified upon their return and some are tracked with tiny geolocators. Because of this study researchers know more about this interesting bird and its nesting and migrato~ ~al~its. PAS also works closely with eggs or young. In addition, winter, and return to the local Canada geese might steal area year after year to nest, their nesting material, despite the unique challenges Spending most of their lives they face that make this a in the water, they migrate to very interesting species of the Pacific Ocean during bird. the Forest Service to see if : . :': and how its thinning projects might affect the owls' nesting habitats. Grebes Current conservation projects include a four-year study of Clark's and western grebes, mid-size diving birds that live in the ocean but nest in fresh water. This California:based study is funded by part of an oil spill settlement and focuses on the grebes' nesting areas, several being in Plumas County. These particular birds arrive here in the summertime to breed at the various large lakes, especially Antelope, Davis, Eagle and Almanor. They build their nests on the water using pond weeds and other vegetation, arid upon breeding they lose their fight feathers, making them and their nests quite vulnerable to hawks and eagles. If the water level drops while they are nesting, raccoons, coyotes and other land animals can take their Bank swallow The bank swallow is another bird being surveyed by PAS. This bird is in decline in Plumas County due to loss of suitable nesting areas as river and creek banks are eroding. Like most birds, the bank swallow depends on a specific type of habitat for nesting, and if the habitat disappears the birds don't return to that area. If they can't find another suitable place they don't nest at all. Bank swallows are beneficial to humans because they consume large numbers of mosquitoes and other fying insects. WHO SAYS YOU CAN'T TEACH AN OLD DOG NEW TRICKS? The old White Sulphur Springs Ranch house overlooks the scenic Mohawk Valley. Throughout most of the 1990s the ranch was used as a bed and breakfast. Photo courtesy Mohawk Valley Stewardship Council Stewardship council announces new website The Mohawk Valley calendar, which is linked to Stewardship Council, the Eastern Plumas Chamber restorer of White Sulphur of Commerce. Events posted Springs Ranch, launched a on the MVSC site will new website Jan. 7. It enables automatically post to the the nonprofit organization to chamber's calendar and then has individual and family more effectively highlight the to the PlumasEvents.com memberships but, in activities of its volunteer calendar, providing a more addition, also offers business members and supporters in complete listing of events in memberships. Business the community, the community and the memberships include unique The website was developed county. There is a new blog marketing tools, such as largely through the efforts of page where topics of interest webpage development, to help Tim Buckhout, capital can be discussed. Geological promote each business's campaign chairperson and and natural history message to the community. webmaster. It is loaded with information is available with The public is invited to go: information about the a click of the mouse, to progress of the restoration One of the most importantwhitesulphurspringsranch.co process and the history of the improvements to the website, m to check out all the ranch and the council, say developers, is to publicly features of this new tool and Among the main features recognize those who are provide feedback as to how it offered is a community supporters. The MVSC still can be improved.