Friday, April 24, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Hedgerows bring birds, Audubon California says

HedgeRow1w

Karen Velas surveys a hedgerow along County Road 101 between Woodland and Knights Landing on Saturday morning. She is entering a second year of an Audubon California study on how hedgerows are providing habitat for birds. Wayne Tilcock/Enterprise photo

By
From page A1 | February 04, 2014 |

In a drought, the only thing stopping the eye from seeing endless beige in parts of Yolo County are 10-foot-wide strips of mini-forests on the edges of the area’s fields.

These darker lines in the distance are the hedgerows. Indigenous bushes, shrubs and small trees like toyon, coffeeberry, coyote brush, valley oak, cottonwood, willow, mule fat, buckwheat and elderberry can be found here, and they’re used by Audubon California to study bird species diversity and populations.

Here, you can hear the northern mockingbird, yellow-rumped warbler (or butterbutt, colloquially), Lincoln’s sparrow, white-crowned sparrow, black phoebe, song sparrow, lesser goldfinch, ruby-crowned kinglet and other songs for nature’s album.

But would there be as many birds on county farmland without hedgerows?

This is the question Karen Velas, bird conservation project manager for Audubon California, is asking.

Twenty hedgerow and 20 non-hedgerow farm sites were chosen last year to study differences in bird populations, and her studies show a statistically significant difference in the number of birds found — about 35 birds at the hedgerow sites versus six at non-hedgerow sites, said Velas, whose data is not yet published.

“We take an approach where we’re trying to put in a high diversity of plants,” Velas said. “Part of the study is looking at the vegetation and trying to figure out what plants are specifically providing the most resources for the birds. What would be the ideal hedgerow?”

Velas has done numerous bird counts, in spring and winter, comparing hedgerows of varying ages and size to similar edges of farmland with barren land or ditches instead of hedgerows. Having the hedgerow on the edge of a farmed field also means farmers don’t have to take a field out of production for food, she said.

“Cooperation with landowners is the future of conservation,” she added. And even a thin hedgerow can provide spaces for nesting and food resources, Velas said.

The study is in the start of its second year in Yolo County, and hedgerow sites for study are being added in Colusa County and eventually other surrounding counties in the Sacramento Valley.

Yolo County has 17 miles of the state’s 49 total miles of hedgerows planted since 2010, said Rachael Long, farm adviser and county director of Yolo County, who has been at the forefront of hedgerow planting in the county for about a decade.

The project has been in cooperation with the Center for Land-Based Learning’s Student and Landowner Education and Watershed Stewardship program (SLEWS), Audubon California’s Working Lands program, Yolo County Resource Conservation District, National Resource Conservation Service and many landowners.

Plans to expand the hedgerow project are in the works, said Long, who just received a $125,000 grant along with the UC Davis Cooperative Extension that will involve planting more hedgerows and holding 12 workshops to educate the community about them. The first workshop will be Wednesday at the Colusa Farm Show, Long said.

— Reach Jason McAlister at [email protected] or 530-747-8052.

Comments

comments

Jason McAlister

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    New design submitted for conference center

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Water and power have a troubling interdependency

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Bob Dunning: Fairness is an afterthought for them

    By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2

    Los Angeles march to commemorate Armenian killings

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Hostage deaths a reminder of risk of ‘deadly mistakes’

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Walkers head out three times weekly

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4Comments are off for this post

     
    Got bikes? Donate ‘em!

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Need a new best friend?

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

    Beginning tai chi classes start May 5

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    College Night set April 30 at DHS

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    School board hears report on health services

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A5

     
    Tour of co-ops precedes Sacramento conference

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

    Mamajowali will perform at benefit house concert

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6 | Gallery

     
    Explorit: Celebrate International Astronomy Day

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

    Learn basics of composting in Woodland

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

     
    Winkler Dinner raises funds for enology, viticulture activities

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8 | Gallery

    Raptor Center welcomes visitors at May 2 open house

    By Trina Wood | From Page: A8 | Gallery

     
    Take a peek at region’s past at Tremont Mite Society’s social

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8 | Gallery

    BeerFest expands to include cider

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

     
    Mapping where human action is causing earthquakes

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A9

    Hummingbird health: Appreciating the little things

    By Kat Kerlin | From Page: A12 | Gallery

     
    .

    Forum

     
    Thanks for supporting the arts

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Bike Swap another success

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

     
    Drink is a tasteless insult

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: B4

     
    The fight for gender pay equity

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4

    It’s a depressing beat

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    .

    Sports

    Lehner talks about the UCD student-athlete experience

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

     
    Reeling Blue Devils stop skid against Sheldon

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Aggie Spring Game environment will up the gridiron fun factor

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Rare DHS track loss still full of highlights

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    DYSA roundup: Lester, Osborne lead Storm over Dixon

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

    Lady Demons’ fundraiser a smash hit

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

     
    Pro baseball roundup: River Cats lose their fourth straight

    By Staff and wire reports | From Page: B12

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

     
    ‘Ex Machina': The perils of playing God

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A10 | Gallery

    Ceramicist works will be featured at The Artery

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11 | Gallery

     
    .

    Business

    Chamber expands Korean sister-city opportunities

    By Felicia Alvarez | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    Car Care: Tips for buying your first ATV

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B6

    Subaru goes rear-wheel drive with sporty BRZ coupe

    By Ann M. Job | From Page: B7 | Gallery

     
    .

    Obituaries

    Whitney Joy Engler

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Valente Forrest Dolcini

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Friday, April 24, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B5