Leaders from the Yolo Audubon Society will take participants on a search for raptors in Yolo County on Saturday, Feb. 1. This free trip field also may visit adjacent counties.
Participants new to bird-watching are especially welcome. Prior trips have yielded sights of red-tailed hawks, prairie falcons, golden eagles and ferruginous hawks.
The most abundant wintering raptor is the red-tailed hawk. Its red tail makes the bird easy to identify. Yolo County gets large numbers of young birds, as well as adult pairs. The red-tailed hawk mates for life, as do most other raptors. The famous red tail is acquired after the first two years of life, so the young hawks will have a brown tail with prominent horizontal stripes (barring).
Red-tailed hawks search for food by soaring in the sky or perched in the top or edge of a tree. However, many hawks will be seen perched on power poles adjacent to agricultural fields. From these vantage points, the hawk will use their powerful eyesight (eight times more powerful than human eyes) to spot movements of mice, rats, ground squirrels and small birds.
Participants should bring binoculars, water, snacks/lunch and dress in layers for cold weather. Those who have spotting scopes should bring them as well. Voluntary car-pooling is the plan for this trip as most of the trip involves driving; little walking is anticipated.
Participants should meet at 7 a.m. Saturday at the park-and-ride lot at Mace Boulevard and Second Street and expect to return about 4 p.m. For more information, call trip leader Kevin Gusé at 916-514-0685.
The Yolo Audubon Society is an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering an appreciation of birds and other wildlife through educational programs and field trips, bringing conservation issues to public awareness, and acting to preserve Yolo County bird life and habitat. For more information about the Yolo Audubon Society, visit www.yoloaudubon.org.