Connect to Nature in June

Western Snowy Plover

Memorial Day marks the official start of summer, and many of us are making plans to spend long days at the beach with friends and family. But, for the Western Snowy Plovers, this is already beach season, as they make their nests and raise the next generation along California’s shores.

Snowy Plovers are small shorebirds that are listed as threatened. They carefully camouflage their nests to look like sand, making them difficult to see and vulnerable to human activity. We can help their efforts by allowing these birds to nest undisturbed while we enjoy our own day at the beach.

This month, watch for adult birds feeding their young and bringing them around to a variety of food sources. The juvenile birds will beg for food relentlessly, and the parents are working hard to keep up with the demand. This is a great time to get a local bird guide and start identifying your local yard visitors.

June is also the month we begin to see Hooded Oriole young fledgings from the nest coming to nectar feeders. The youngsters are bright yellow with brown streaky wings, similar to their mother’s markings. They love the nectar, fruit, and insects that help them gain strength they will need to make their southward journey in August.

June is National Rivers month, a wonderful time to think about our nation’s waterways and how they connect us to important habitat, drinking water, recreation, and even energy. Having grown up along its shores in Washington and Oregon, my favorite river is the Columbia. But, a trip to the Kern River Preserve, north of Bakersfield, is always a delight, as it shows off California’s largest contiguous Great Valley Cottonwood-willow Riparian Forest and the wildlife it supports. Managed by Audubon California, there are over 300 species of birds attracted here to the South Fork of the Kern River. Plan a visit and you might see a Barn Owl, Mountain Chickadee, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, and much more. For information and directions to the preserve, visit:

By Julie Rensink Hanson

Call the Wild Bird Unlimited Nature Shop at 424-272-9000, or go online to for more information.

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