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Yolo Audubon leads bird-watching trip to Cosumnes River Preserve

Brown-headed CowbirdW

Participants on Yolo Audubon's field trip have a good chance of seeing brown-headed cowbirds, such as this female. The male bird is black with a brown head. Ken Ealy/Courtesy photo

The public is invited to join the Yolo Audubon Society on a free bird-watching trip to the Cosumnes River Preserve on Saturday, May 3. Spring migration and nesting activity should be in full swing as group explores the riparian forests and wetlands of the Cosumnes River Preserve.

Songbird nesting means that brown-headed cowbirds will be actively seeking the nests of other birds. The brown-headed cowbird is an important factor in songbird breeding success in that it does not build a nest, but lays its eggs in the nests of other birds, such as the red-winged blackbird or warblers.

The cowbird is called a “brood parasite” for its habit of having the host bird raise its young, usually to the detriment of the host birds’ own eggs or young. Consequently, scientists consider cowbirds one of the reasons, in addition to habitat loss, for declines in certain songbird populations.

However, the brown-headed cowbird is native to North America, and other native songbirds have co-existed with this “brood parasite” for thousands of years.

This trip will feature easy walking along cement or well-worn dirt paths. The group will watch for birds all morning and have lunch at the visitor center. Participants may want to bring binoculars, a spotting scope, layered clothing, lunch and beverages.

Participants should meet at 6 a.m. Saturday in the park-and-ride lot at Mace Boulevard and Second Street in Davis, behind Ikeda Market.

For more information, contact trip leader Kevin Gusé at 916-616-8835 or [email protected].

The Yolo Audubon Society is an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization dedicated to 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.

Special to The Enterprise

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