Fall marks the height of bird migrations along the Pacific Flyway. And while the Bay Area has plenty of birds to see, you’ll have to head a bit farther east to see the spectacular sandhill cranes that winter in the Central Valley. After the long journey from Canada, Alaska, and Siberia, greater and lesser sandhill cranes settle in the area around Lodi to rest through the winter and feed on leftover rice and corn (and small animals) in the fields. Their autumnal return is heralded by the Lodi Sandhill Crane Festival from November 7th to 9th. Sponsored by the Lodi Chamber of Commerce, the festival educates visitors about protection and preservation of this impressive bird’s native habitat. Crane-viewing tours are offered by the California Department of Fish and Game beginning in early October and continuing through February. Contact the Lodi Chamber of Commerce at (209)367-7840.
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For a lesson in food chain dynamics, go ahead and observe a fruiting toyon bush this winter.
Wildlife: Birds, Mammals, Fish