Editor’s Note: This piece was prepared by Sierra Club trip leader, Phil Kohlmetz.
On Saturday, February 10, 2018, International Bird Rescue collaborated with the Sierra Club for a special birding experience in conjunction with the 2018 Flyway Festival (an annual celebration of migratory birds traveling through the San Francisco Bay Area).
The walk was a rare chance to participate in a program led by Bird Rescue’s own Executive Director JD Bergeron. He partnered with passionate naturalist, veteran backpacker, and local Sierra Club trip leader, Phil Kohlmetz. The two led a dozen people on a guided walk along the Napa River in American Canyon, CA, not far from our San Francisco Bay Area/Delta Wildlife Center. The location was special to Bird Rescue, as we often release rehabilitated birds at this very location.
The group walked 4 miles along the levees of the Napa River Bay Trail. (Quite far for many birders!) JD shared his love and deep knowledge of migratory aquatic birds, songbirds, and raptors, noting over 60 different species. Phil highlighted local environmental restoration efforts, as this area was once home to an active landfill, as well as a massive salt harvesting operation. In addition, Phil talked about local efforts to create a regional park district to administer and further protect this sensitive and restored habitat.
Participants included experienced birders and current supporters of International Bird Rescue, Solano County residents, Sierra Club members, first-time birders, and long-time naturalists. The mix of skill and interest levels meant lots of opportunities for education and cross-pollination. While the focus was certainly on bird identification, we discussed other natural processes such as reclamation, plant succession, and avian migration.
Programs like this are a great example of the types of partnerships that Bird Rescue is developing as we put our new mission (inspiring stewardship of our global waters by rescuing and protecting aquatic birds) into practice.
Follow our social media feed and our website for upcoming opportunities to participate directly with Bird Rescue’s public education programs: