California Cuts Near Me

When I live in Southern California, the biggest threat to my birds is always the "CALIFornia Cut" which cuts across a portion of Northern California. The threat it poses to my backyard bird population is not just one of massive destruction, but multiple population reductions over the years. This particular stretch of the Cascades River has historically had the greatest bird loss. In fact, some experts now predict that the decline in the Golden State could see up to a 95% population reduction in the next two decades.

The reason the "CALIFornia Cut" is so problematic for birds is that it represents the rapid decline of the state's winter population. During these colder months, many birds migrate south to escape the warmer temperatures and to avoid the lethal heat of summer. Unfortunately, birds do not make this migration journey solely because it is warm; many migrate also for food sources. Many birds use meadow areas for nesting and a food source during the winter. However, when the snow hits the meadow, this becomes a miserable place for birds to live, with a lack of food and cover to nest. And, even when food is abundant, a meadow in the dead of winter may still prove too much for a bird to handle.

As an interesting side story, I have found that birds often visit meadow areas near highways. If you look around your car, you will often find birds nestling on the windshield or on your arm. Why? Well, because roads and highways provide perfect cover and habitat for many birds. This provides a convenient food source and sheltered resting area for migrating birds.

A quick trip to the local library turned up some interesting facts. According to library research, the average meadow is about half a mile long, has only five percent shade, and has one tree per square mile. Wow! That means there are plenty of choices for nesting sites. But, even those birds that nest at the meadow may not be able to make it down the steep slopes to the highways. So, they forage close to where they can get to the freeway.

While we were out watching, I happened to notice a lone swallow flying over. It was very interesting to watch because the meadow is so small. But, it's a bird that does not typically migrate. They just hang out here and wait for a good spot to forage. Now, I'm glad I caught this one because I had to keep it myself!

A final thought about California cuts near Meadowlands. You might also consider stopping by at the Wild Birds' Nest Site. Here, you can find unique species of birds that have been collected from all over Northern California. The site is open from May through October, so you might want to check it out for a bird watching adventure. There are even charter boat services for those who are really in the need for a closer look!

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