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Chester Progressive
Chester , California
January 21, 2015     Chester Progressive
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January 21, 2015

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12B Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015 Bulletin, Record, Progressive, Reporter Plumas County is a rich and diverse area that is home to many animals. Because the county has little development and numerous lakes and waterways, the area naturally attracts a wide variety of birds and is an area of interest to birders and wildlife enthusiasts, many of whom travel here specifically to observe them. This diversity of birds is part of what makes the county unique and a great place to live and visit. Some of the birds that visit the area are rare -- migratory birds that return year after year from exotic places across. thousands of miles of ocean and land. Even in winter there are many species of birds that call Plumas County home. Anyone interested in local and visiting birds is invited to an upcoming free event. Mohawk Community Resource Center is pleased to be hosting Plumas Audubon Society for its next installment of the monthly MCRC Speakers Bureau on Tuesday, Jan. 27, at 5:30 p.m., at MCRC. An RSVP to 836-0446 is requested, though not required, and light refreshments will be served. Speakers from Plumas Audubon Society will present on the birds of Plumas County, weaving a story of their lives, challenges and successes. PAS Executive Director David Arsenault will speak about his ongoing flammulated owl study, while Education Chairperson Terry Williams and President Jerry Williams will talk about local bird identification, as well as some of the conservation projects and studies currently underway in the region. The event will feature a slideshow, Specimens and a question-and-answer period. The upcoming MCRC Speakers Bureau event will shed more light on some of the many interesting birds that visit and live in Plumas County. The presentation is appropriate for all ages, and organizers promise it is a great opportunity to learn how to identify some of these remarkable birds. MCRC is a service of Plumas Rural Services and provides activities and advocacy for eastern Plumas County communities. MCRC is centrally located at the junction of highways 89 and 70, at the Corner Barn. For more information about MCRC, or this event, call 836-0446 or visit plumas Plumas Audubon Arsenault, who has a background in biology, is often called upon by ranchers, the Forest Service and landowners to assess what kinds of animals and birds are in a particular area. By observing the area and listening to birdsongs he is able to determine what types of birds are nesting, which is helpful in determining the best way to go about thinning or developing an area. The mission of the Plumas Audubon Society is to promote understanding, 2014 Plumas Audubon Society interns examine flammulated owl chicks at Lake Davis. Photos courtesy Plumas Audubon Society Jerry Williams assists researchers in their tracking of the rough- Jerry Williams stands with flammulated owl nesting boxes he legged hawk. made for the Lake Davis study. appreciation and protection of the biodiversity of the Feather River region through education, research and the restoration and conservation of natural ecosystems. The annual Christmas bird count event Organized by PAS took place during the second week of December. Volunteers counted 72 different species of birds in Sierra Valley, and 88 different species in Quincy. Some of these birds are here only for the winter, adding interest and birdsong to the winter landscape and then migrating to different areas or higher elevations in the warmer months. Flammulated owl The flammulated owl, one of the smallest owls in North America, nests in several areas in Plumas County during the months of May and June, particularly around Lake Davis. After hatching their young in June, the birds migrate south in July, primarily to Jalisco, Mexico, and then return here in May, year after year, to repeat the cycle. As part of the ongoing study of the flammulated owl, which aims to find out more about the owl and its habitat, PAS puts up nesting boxes for the owls to use, installing at least 120 boxes in 2014. The owls are banded so that they may be identified upon their return and some are tracked with tiny geolocators. Because of this study researchers know more about this interesting bird and its nesting and migratory habits. PAS also works closely with the Forest Service to see if and how its thinning projects might affect the owls' nesting habitats. Grebes Current conservation projects include a four-year study of Clark's and western grebes, mid-size diving birds that live in the ocean but nest in fresh water. This California-based study is funded by part of an oil spill settlement and focuses on the grebes' nesting areas, several being in Plumas County. These particular birds arrive here in the summertime to breed at the various large lakes, especially Antelope, Davis, Eagle and Almanor. They build their nests on the water using pond weeds and other vegetation, and upon breeding they lose their flight feathers, making them and their nests quite vulnerable to hawks and eagles. If the water level drops while they are nesting, raccoons, coyotes and other land animals can take their II I I WHO SAYS YOU CAN'T TEACH AN OLD DOG NEW TRICKS? An adult flammulated owl stands about 6-1/2 inches tall. ,go7 Bureau ~en: Jan. 27, 5:30 p.m. i i RSVP: 836-0446 eggs or young. In addition, Canada geese might steal their nesting material. Spending most of their lives in the water, they migrate to the Pacific Ocean during winter, and return to the local area year after year to nest, despite the unique challenges they face that make this a very interesting species of bird. Bank swallow The bank swallow is another bird being surveyed by PAS. This bird is in decline in Plumas County due to loss of suitable nesting areas as river and creek banks are eroding. Like most birds, the bank swallow depends on a specific type of habitat for nesting, and if the habitat disappears the birds don't return to that area. If they can't md another suitable place they don't nest at all. Bank swallows are beneficial to humans because they consume large numbers of mosquitoes and other flying insects. 1 The old White Sulphur Springs Ranch house overlooks the scenic Mohawk Valley. Throughout most of the 1990s the ranch was used as a bed and breakfast. Photo courtesy Mohawk Valley Stewardshi p Council Stewardship council announces new website The Mohawk Valley Stewardship Council, restorer of White Sulphur Springs Ranch, launched a new website Jan. 7. It enables the nonprofit organization to more effectively highlight the activities of its volunteer members and supporters in the community. The website was developed largely through the efforts of Tim Buckhout, capital campaign chairperson and webmaster. It is loaded with information about the progress of the restoration process and the history of the ranch and the council. Among the main features offered is a community calendar, which is linked to the Eastern Plumas Chamber of Commerce. Events posted on the MVSC site will automatically post to the chamber's calendar and then to the calendar, providing a more complete listing of events in the community and the county. There is a new blog page where topics of interest can be discussed. Geological and natural history information is available with a click of the mouse. One of the most important improvements to the website, say developers, is to publicly recognize those who are supporters. The MVSC still has individual and family memberships but, in addition, also offers business memberships. Business memberships include unique marketing tools, such as webpage development, to help promote each business's message to the community. The public is invited to go to m to check out all the features of this new tool and provide feedback as to how it can be improved.