The Birds

Our Sacramento Valley is a hub of bird activity in the winter. Tens of thousands of birds come a calling, traveling on a super-highway called the Pacific Flyway. It is a major north-south route for migratory birds extending from Alaska to Patagonia. The Sacramento Valley is a key rest stop along the way, or even a winter home for some – where birds gather by the thousands.

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According to the Audubon Society, you will find about 250 species of birds in the Sacramento area alone. Expand your search east to the Sierra foothills & mountains, south to the San Joaquin River delta, and west to the Pacific Ocean and that increases to about 400 species.


Some pass through…and some find it very cozy to stay on in our nearby parks where they are very well fed.


Homeward Bound Golden Retriever Rescue
is surrounded by rice fields…a perfect landing spots for birds who flock together, including these beautiful snow geese.

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Unfortunately, they are perfect sitting ducks for hunters as well. Throughout January, shotgun pops rang out and the birds took to the skies by the hundreds.


This past weekend marked the end of hunting season. The birds could not be happier.

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Now that the skies are safe, you’ll find geese-covered fields putting a welcome mat out for their friends –

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and even cohabitating with cows.


The worldwide Great Backyard Bird Count runs February 13-16. Thanks to my friend, Rob for capturing this Alfred Hitchcock moment. Anyone want to take a guess on this count?


Holiday Cheer

Saturday morning, there were two adoptions on the weekly board. By evening there were seven. This is all the cheer I need to make my holiday bright.

Daisy Going Home
Star Going Home

“What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”
~ Dr. Seuss


But, try as we might to empty the kennels before Christmas Eve, there are always new recruits.

Darbee snagged the coveted office dog spot, which makes her Judy’s (current) favorite.


This adorable little girl looks like a cross between a Golden and a Corgi with a little Basset Hound rolled in for good measure.


Yule was a stray, rescued from the shelter. Part Golden, part Great Pyrenees.


Scared and very thin, his wary face turned to smiles in Maria’s hands (which means she found a way out of gardening chores!)


The rains have turned our garden and walking paths to lakes and mud, but after three years of drought, no one is complaining. The rice field next door once again supports migrating geese and herons.


And the bees were enjoying the last of the roses and the blooming Ceanothus on a late, warm, December day.



Nature’s Yuletide decorations cannot be beat.