Geese lounged close together, a snake slithered about on a display table and ducks of all shapes and sizes soared overhead at Robert L. McCaffrey Middle School on Saturday, as hundreds came to celebrate Galt’s fifth annual Winter Bird Festival.
Bird tours, duck calling lessons and dozens of displays about the numerous species of animals that inhabit wetlands in and around Galt drew crowds of all ages who were not only interested in learning about areas like the Cosumnes River Preserve, but also about conservation efforts for animals like the Sandhill crane.
“This was started with the intent to educate others about the local natural wonders in Galt’s own backyard,” said Galt City Manager Jason Behrmann. “Galt is not just another place to live. It is full of natural wonders that we and others hope to continue to enjoy and preserve.”
Cathie Lazier, who was manning the Cosumnes River Preserve booth in the gymnasium at the school, talked to Hunter Adversalo, 3, about the hundreds of birds and insects she and others see on a daily basis while he inspected a oak gall.
Lazier said she and about a dozen other volunteers oversee roughly 46,000 acres of land, and that they could be maintaining more in the future.
Volunteers are well-versed in a wide range of animal and land care, as they deal not only with migratory birds who make the Central Valley their home during the winter, but also the nests the birds build, the amount of water available for cranes to stand in and many more features of the preserve that must be attended to, Lazier said.
Adversalo examined the oak galls and listened as Lazier spoke, but at the end of the conversation, his attention was focused on one piece of information: Where exactly do the birds go once winter is over?
Lazier told him the birds head back north to lay eggs and have their hatchlings grow before they return again next year.
“I wish they could stay all the time,” Adversalo said.
Contact reporter Katie Nelson at firstname.lastname@example.org.