Bird is the Word

Birdwatching has been a pastime of people from all over the world for a very long time. But now, it is making a serious comeback, thanks to all the downtime we have as individuals, couples, and families. 2020 made it cool again to admit you’re a bird nerd.

Top Tips

First, here are some tips if you’re headed out to look for some feathered friends:

  1. Get a good field guide: Invest in a reliable field guide specific to birds in America. This will help you quickly identify different species based on their appearance, behavior, and habitat.
  2. Start in your own backyard: Begin birdwatching at home by setting up a bird feeder or bird bath to attract a variety of bird species. Observing birds in a familiar and comfortable environment will help build your confidence. Keep them out of harm from your pets though.
  3. Learn common birds first: Familiarize yourself with the most common bird species in your area. Focus on identifying their distinct features, calls, and behavior to build a solid foundation.
  4. Join a local birding club or group: Connecting with experienced birdwatchers is a great way to learn new techniques, get guidance, and participate in group outings. Many birdwatching clubs organize field trips to various habitats, enhancing your chances of spotting a wider variety of birds. The people are very open and inviting!
  5. Invest in a pair of binoculars: A good pair of binoculars will significantly improve your birdwatching experience. Look for ones with good magnification and a wide field of view, making it easier to spot and observe birds in detail. REI has some that we’ve enjoyed for beginning our bird journey.
  6. Explore different habitats: Birds can be found in a wide range of habitats, from forests and wetlands to deserts and coastal areas. Explore various habitats to maximize your birdwatching opportunities and encounter different species. Different times of days too and temperatures can bring out different species.
  7. Keep a birdwatching journal: Consider keeping a birdwatching journal to record the species you observe, their behavior, and notable details. This will not only help you track your progress but also serve as a personal reference to look back on in the future. We mark on our field guide when we saw each bird to see if it is “a first!” and where we saw them. Make it fun!

Where to View around Sacramento

Second, there are several notable places within 100 miles of Sacramento to view wild birds and raptors. Some popular options include:
– Cosumnes River Preserve (Galt, CA): Known for its diverse bird species, wetlands, and riparian forest.
Gray Lodge Wildlife Area (Gridley, CA): Located in the Sacramento Valley, it offers an extensive trail system for bird watching.
– Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area (Davis, CA): Situated in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, it attracts a variety of waterfowl and raptors.
– Cache Creek Conservancy (Woodland, CA): Features riparian and wetland habitats, often frequented by migratory birds.
– American River Parkway (Sacramento, CA): A 23-mile stretch along the American River that allows for bird watching and raptor spotting.
– Colusa National Wildlife Refuge (Colusa, CA): A sanctuary for migratory birds, particularly waterfowl and shorebirds.
– Putah Creek Wildlife Area (Winters, CA): Offers a chance to view waterfowl, raptors, and songbirds along the riparian landscape.
– Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge (Elk Grove, CA): Provides diverse habitats for numerous bird species, including raptors.

Of course, these locations offer varying ecosystems and habitats, providing opportunities to observe a wide range of bird species and hopefully spot a few raptors as well. Head outside and keep your eyes in the sky!

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