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Family Festival – California Duck Days 2014

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Learn to identify ducks and geese at the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area; make a boat out of tule (a type of rush used by California Indians) or build a Wood duck box; take a field trip in search of raptors or watch Tule elk on Grizzly Island. All this and more will delight young and old at this year’s California Duck Days 2014, hosted by the Calif. Department of Fish and Wildlife and organized by Yolo Basin Foundation.

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From 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday Feb. 22, the family-oriented event takes place at Fish & Wildlife’s Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area Headquarters (three miles west of West Sacramento off I-80, 45211 County Rd. 32B, Davis).

Yolo Basin Foundation Co-Executive Director and Duck Days Coordinator Ann Brice says, “This is the 19th year for Duck Days and there’s always something new for kids and adults alike. Hundreds of kids have grown up attending Duck Days every February for years.” She adds, “I like to think we have a hand in creating our future stewards of the environment.”

For example, experts will be on hand to teach children how to fish for trout. A new field trip is a tour of the Knaggs Ranch Fish Project. Brice says the project is “extremely interesting for those involved with Delta issues.”

Activities at this family-oriented festival span the gamut. Duck hunters and others can watch a duck-cooking demo by a chef from Whole Foods. Also in the Exhibit Hall, the festival offers a duck-calling workshop.

Duck Days includes a falconry demonstration with a Peregrine Falcon and a Goshawk, and the Raptor Center at UC Davis will be bringing birds of prey, such as ‘Sullivan,’ a Golden eagle.

Brice says there will be 15 field trips to sites around the region such as the Grizzly Island field trip in the Suisun Marsh to see Tule elk. Brice took photos of last year and says, “It’s amazing to see such big animals with giant antlers!” A field trip that historically fills up early is the raptor tour. (All field trips require pre-registration.)

The tax-deductible cost per person, depending on number of field trips taken, is $20-$25 (no charge for children 15 and younger who are with an adult). Money raised by this annual event helps support the Yolo Basin Foundation’s wetlands education programs.

Go to http://www.yolobasin.org or call (530) 757-3780 for a full schedule of Duck Days events including the free reception from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Friday Feb. 21 at the Davis Art Center (F Street and Covell Boulevard). Click on “Duck Days 2014” at http://www.yolobasin.org to pre-register for field trips and directions to California Fish&Wildlife Headquarters at the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area.

Sacramento Nature Examiner Carol Bogart is a professional writer/editor. To learn more, visit Bogart Communications.

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