Local News

See Swainson’s hawks at Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area

By From page A6 | May 07, 2014

Swainson's Hawk Jim DunnW

Swainson’s hawks are a common sight in Yolo County during the spring and summer. They have one of the longest migration routes of all North American raptors. Jim Dunn/Courtesy photo

Yolo Basin Foundation docents will lead a free public tour of the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area on Saturday, May 10, from 8 to 11 a.m. The open fields and permanent ponds of the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area provide adequate nesting habitat for many species of birds, including Swainson’s hawks, gadwalls and marsh wrens.

Swainson’s hawks spend spring and summer in North America and winter in South America. Their migration is one of the longest known for American raptors. Some hawks will travel nearly 14,000 miles and take two months to complete their journey.

Swainson’s have a range of color morphs, with the most common being the light morph. The light variety has a white belly with a rust-colored chest bib and a white throat patch. The underwing has a light-colored leading edge that contrasts sharply with a dark trailing edge.

Swainson’s hawks eat primarily grasshoppers and other insects unless they are nesting, at which time they prefer small rodents, reptiles and birds.

The Yolo Basin Foundation and the state Department of Fish and Wildlife welcome members of the public to view these and other species on the monthly public tour of the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area. All interested tour participants should meet a few minutes before 8 a.m. in Parking Lot A of the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, at the west end of the Yolo Causeway bridge. Directions to the area are also available online, at www.yolobasin.org.

Participants should bring binoculars, water (there is no potable water on site) 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.

For more information, call Michael Herrera at 530-757-1018 or visit www.yolobasin.org.

Enterprise staff

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