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    • February 14, 2020

    Collage of burrowing owl, sandhill cranes, black-crowned night heron, red wing and tricolored blackbirds, horned lark, American bittern, and northern harrier
    CDFW Photos by Annie Chang, Tammy Dong, Rachel Powell

    February 14-17, 2020 marks the 23rd annual Great Backyard Bird Count! Take 15 minutes out of your day to appreciate your avian neighbors this weekend, and report your count through link opens in new windoweBird. In 2019, link opens in new windowover 6,600 species of birds were counted worldwide and Californians submitted over 10,000 checklists, but you can help make those numbers even higher this year! As always, if you happen to spot one of the 157 bird species tracked by CNDDB, fill out an Online Field Survey Form. Happy birding!

    Categories: Education and Awareness
    • January 28, 2020

    Red diamond rattlesnake
    Red diamond rattlesnake. Courtesy of LA Dawson (link opens in new windowCC BY-SA 2.5) link opens in new windowvia Wikimedia Commons

    January 28 marks Rattlesnake Appreciation Day. This is a good time to appraise our instinctual fears and celebrate our rattlesnakes.

    For many years rattlesnakes were considered dangerous vermin and killed indiscriminately. Today a more nuanced view is taking hold. Rattlesnakes have been part of the ecosystem for 10 million years and should be respected for being another of nature’s predators.

    While over 3000 people die in auto accidents in California each year, the state averages less than one snakebite death annually. We should be more afraid of our cars than our snakes!

    California is home to ten rattlesnake taxa. CNDDB tracks one of those, the red-diamond rattlesnake (Crotalus ruber) which is a state Species of Special Concern. The primary threats to this species are urbanization and fragmentation of habitat.

    Crotalus ruber can be found in the far southwestern portion of California, with a range extending from Los Angeles County south throughout most of the Baja California Peninsula. While rodents make up most of its diet, the species is also known to take rabbits, skunks, lizards, and birds. Typical habitat includes rocky areas within chaparral or woodland below 3000 feet in elevation.

    Fun fact: You may already know that rattlers can sense both the light and heat coming off their prey, but did you know their olfactory system provides them with a directional sense of smell?

    Use today as an opportunity to spread a little rattlesnake appreciation. Maybe show a child an online video demonstrating the hunting prowess of a Crotalus. You’ll be sure to get that kid’s attention. Point out that rattlers fill a predatory niche similar to hawks and bobcats. Remember that people don’t work to protect what they don’t understand. Today’s children will become tomorrow’s leaders.

    Of course, we would be remiss if we failed to mention that a rattlesnake bite may result in serious injury and should always be considered a medical emergency. Keep some distance, appreciate our rattlesnakes through your telephoto lens, and submit any detections of red-diamond rattlers through our Online Field Survey Form.

    For more information on sharing the land with our rattlesnake neighbors visit the CDFW Keep Me Wild page.

    Categories: Education and Awareness
    • January 21, 2020

    Golden mantle squirrel on a rock

    Today we celebrate rodents of the Sciuridae family which includes squirrels and chipmunks. With their bushy tail, small ears, and large eyes, it’s easy to see how these creatures with such cute features has captured the hearts of many humans throughout history.

    The CNDDB tracks 10 members of the Sciuridae family:

    Nelson's antelope squirrel (Ammospermophilus nelsoni)
    San Bernardino golden-mantled ground squirrel (Callospermophilus lateralis bernardinus)
    San Bernardino flying squirrel (Glaucomys oregonensis californicus)
    Alpine chipmunk (Neotamias alpinus)
    Kingston Mountain chipmunk (Neotamias panamintinus acrus)
    Mount Pinos chipmunk (Neotamias speciosus callipeplus)
    Lodgepole chipmunk (Neotamias speciosus speciosus)
    Piute ground squirrel (Urocitellus mollis)
    Mohave ground squirrel (Xerospermophilus mohavensis)
    Palm Springs round-tailed ground squirrel (Xerospermophilus tereticaudus chlorus)

    If you happen to see any of them please let us know via our Online Field Survey Form.

    Categories: Education and Awareness