Yolo Basin Foundation docents will lead a free public tour of the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area on Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon to view wintering waterfowl. The focus will be on ducks, geese and swans that are here for the winter.
Ducks, geese and swans comprise a single bird family, Anatidae. Physical similarities include short legs, a straight bill and dense plumage with heavy down. Many breed in northern regions and have large clutches, often 10 to 20 eggs. Differences include physical size, with ducks generally being the smallest and swans the largest. Swans have the longest necks.
Of the three swans in North America, the tundra swan is the only one seen in the Wildlife Area. Also known as the whistling swan, it is all white with a black bill, legs and feet. It can be distinguished from snow geese by its larger size and longer neck, which extends in flight. Tundra swans take to the air with a running start across the water while beating their large wings.
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 9 a.m. at the gate to the Wildlife Area. Further directions to reach the tour are available on the Yolo Basin Foundation website at www.yolobasin.org.
The Wildlife Area is closed to the public, but if the roads are passable, the tour will take place. On Friday, those planning to go on the tour should call Heidi Satter at 530-757-4828 or visit the foundation website for the latest update.
Participants should bring their own 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.
A $5 donation is suggested from all trip participants. Children under 12 and members of the Yolo Basin Foundation are free.
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 Wildlife.