Tuleyome Tales: Bald eagles practically in your back yard

By From page A1 | December 29, 2013

Bald eagle above Cache CreekW

A bald eagle spies out the area above Cache Creek. Courtesy photo

Check it out

What: Free guided hikes to look for wintering bald eagles

Where: Cache Creek Natural Area in Lake County

When: Saturdays, Jan. 11, 18 and 25, and Feb. 1, 8 and 15

RSVP: Call the Bureau of Land Management Ukiah Field Office at 707-468-4000. Hikes are limited to 25 participants and fill quickly

By Sara Husby-Good

Did you know that there are bald eagles practically in your back yard?

The Cache Creek Wilderness Area is the second largest wintering habitat for bald eagles in California. With their white heads and tails, spotting a bald eagle in the wild is always an impressive sight. It is also an inspiring reminder of how the species has recovered from near-extinction.

It is no wonder that the bald eagle is our national bird. Bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) are one of the more spectacular winter visitors to the upper Cache Creek area, as they feed, soar and roost from mid-October to mid-April. This is the best time to look for these brilliant birds as they tend to concentrate in small areas. The waters of Cache Creek support catfish and carp, a primary food source for wintering bald eagles.

Although bald eagles have made a remarkable comeback, they are still considered an endangered species, and continued conservation is necessary to keep populations strong.

Wild birds are an integral part of the natural community but they need healthy habitats to survive. Permanent protection for the Berryessa Snow Mountain region will provide a safeguard for all of the special birds and wildlife with which we are able to come into close contact and enjoy.

If you are looking for an opportunity to get outdoors and view wintering bald eagles, the Redbud Trail offers an excellent opportunity to view bald eagles along Cache Creek. The trail extends seven miles to Wilson Valley and its broad grassy bench lands (level or gently sloping areas with steep down slopes along Cache Creek) are an excellent spot to view these creatures.

This year, the Bureau of Land Management will host its free guided hikes to look for wintering bald eagles in the Cache Creek Natural Area in Lake County on Saturdays, Jan. 11, 18 and 25, and Feb. 1, 8, and 15 in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act of 1964.

Hikers will enjoy scenic vistas of the Cache Creek Canyon where eagles often soar over the creek or perch in streamside trees. Participants also often spot other wildlife, including tule elk, golden eagles, osprey, herons, red-tailed hawks and egrets.

Those interested in participating should reserve space for a specific date by calling the BLM Ukiah Field Office, 707-468-4000. Early reservations are requested for the popular hikes, which are each limited to 25 participants and fill quickly.

— Tuleyome Tales is a monthly publication of Tuleyome, a nonprofit conservation organization with offices in Woodland and Napa. For more information about Tuleyome, go to www.tuleyome.org. Sara Husby-Good is the executive director of Tuleyome, and the California Wilderness 50th Anniversary Chair.

Special to The Enterprise

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