The red-winged blackbird is one of four species of blackbirds that may be seen at the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area. Dave Feliz/Courtesy photo

The red-winged blackbird is one of four species of blackbirds that may be seen at the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area. Dave Feliz/Courtesy photo

Agriculture + Environment

Season’s last Wildlife Area tour is coming up

By June 3, 2011

Red-winged blackbirds, yellow-headed blackbirds and marsh wrens are just a few of the birds known to nest in the Yolo Basin Wildlife Area east of Davis. These and other birds may be seen during an early morning guided tour of the wetlands on Saturday, June 11.

The 8 to 11 a.m. tour, led by Yolo Basin Foundation docent Betty Berteaux, will be the final regular monthly tour of the wildlife area until October. Other special tours will be scheduled from time to time throughout the summer.

Red-winged blackbirds flock abundantly near wetlands and agricultural fields and can be seen perched high on cattails and telephone wires. The glossy black males have bright red-and-yellow shoulder patches, or epaulettes, which they display with confidence. They produce a large range of distinct calls that fill the air.

The females are a more subtle dark brown with crisp streaks. They stay lower in vegetation as they forage for food and nesting materials.

All interested tour participants should meet at 8 a.m. in Parking Lot A (the first parking lot with the large notice board) in the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, at the west end of the Yolo Causeway bridge. No reservations are required.

Participants should bring their own binoculars, water (there is no potable water on site), insect repellent and field guide. Docents will have spotting scopes to enhance wildlife viewing.

This is a driving tour on gravel roads with several stops and short walks. Further directions to reach the tour are available on the Yolo Basin Foundation website at http://www.yolobasin.org.

A $5 donation is suggested from all trip participants. Children under 12 and members of the Yolo Basin Foundation are free. For more information, call Heidi Satter at (530) 757-4828 or visit http://www.yolobasin.org.

The Yolo Basin Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the appreciation and stewardship of wetlands and wildlife through education and innovative partnerships. The Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area is owned and managed by the California Department of Fish and Game.

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