The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will be offering a variety of weekend programming in the next few months for bird enthusiast and nature lovers alike.
According to a release issued by the organization, the activities are geared towards various interests and skill levels so both seasoned veterans and casual visitors can partake. Programming is scheduled at the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Complex, located off of Highway 99 just past Road 68 in Colusa County; the Colusa National Wildlife Refuge, located on O’Hair Road just west of Colusa; and the Llano Seco Unit of North Central Valley Wildlife Management Area, located off of Seven Mile Lane in Glenn County.
Multiple “Join a naturalist at the platform” sessions have been scheduled at the three area refuge locations on Saturdays and Sundays throughout the month of February.
During designated times, a naturalist will be on-site at one of the three complexes with a scope ready to assist visitors to view and identify the many varieties of birds that make this area their winter home. Attendees can drop in anytime within the scheduled session and no registration is required.
Sessions are scheduled at:
–The Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge on Feb. 8 from 1-3 p.m. and Feb. 16 from 10 a.m. until noon
–The Colusa National Wildlife Refuge on Feb. 15 from noon until 2 p.m.
–The Llano Seco Unit of North Central Valley Wildlife Management Area on Feb. 9 from 10 a.m. until noon and Feb. 23 from 1-3 p.m.
In the event of rain, the session will be cancelled.
During the spring bird walks scheduled in February, attendees can join a nationalist for a casual bird walk along the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge wetland walk trail. Walks will be held on Feb. 15 and Feb. 29 from 9-11 a.m.
A third spring bird walk is also scheduled at the Packer Unit of the Sacramento River National Wildlife Refuge on March 21 from 9-11 a.m.
Participants of all spring bird walks must preregister prior to attending.
For those interested in advancing their raptor identification skills, FWS will be offering a two-day “Raptor Run!” identification workshop.
The first class will be a day of learning held inside, and day two will be out in the field to a closed area of the refuge to look for nesting, migration and local hawks, eagles, harriers, owls and falcons.
Classes will be held on Feb. 29 from 1-2:30 p.m. and March 7 from 10:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. Participants are asked to bring a lunch on day two of the workshop. Those interested in participating in the “Raptor Run!” workshop must register prior to attending.
For those that love butterflies, two classes dedicated to these fluttering creatures are scheduled.
An “All about Monarchs” class will be held at the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge on March 21 from 1-2:30 p.m. Attendees will learn the basics about the Monarch butterfly including migration habits and reasons for declining population.
The “Monarch Monitoring Mystery” will be held at the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge on March 27 from 10 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. to review the latest information on the Monarch butterfly and uncover the mystery about how these creatures migrate through the Central Valley.
Both Monarch butterfly classes require pre-registration to attend.
Organizers at FWS said they are also finalizing a hummingbird event to celebrate International Migratory Bird Day. This will be held at the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge on April 4 at 10 a.m.
For the kids, the Fish and Wildlife Service has scheduled spring break events every weekday in April. Kids can drop in to celebrate hummingbirds and make their own feeders, walk the trails and play the downloadable scavenger hunt that uses word games, sound identification and interaction with virtual objects to solve the challenge or earn a badge as a Junior Refuge Ranger. Activities are recommended for children ages eight through 14.
In addition to the scheduled programming, these complexes also offer activities to enjoy anytime.
Visitors can adventure out on a six-mile auto tour or a two-mile wetland walk at the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge year-round. Five miles of spring trails will also be open Feb. 15 through June 30.
The Colusa National Wildlife Refuge has a one-mile walking trail and a three-mile auto tour and the Llano Seco Unit of North Central Valley Wildlife Management Area has a one-mile trail, all of which can be accessed year-round as well.
All trails and auto routes are open one hour before sunrise until one hour after sunset.
Bicycles are only permitted to access the auto tour at both locations May 15 through Aug. 15 and are not allowed on the walking trails.
There is no cost to participate in programming offered, but the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge requires a $6 per day pass to access the complex. Those with a federal duck stamp will be admitted for free. The Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge also offers annual passes for those that attend regularly.