What you can see this winter on the Delta

Bird’s Eye View

The Sandhill Crane Festival is one of Lodi’s premier events, promoting Sandhill Crane conservation efforts at the same time that floods of them migrate to the California Delta. Sightings of these magnificent creatures start to uptick in October and continue into February. During this timeframe, it’s common to see Sandhill Cranes feeding in fields throughout the California Delta. Woodbridge Road, Staten Island Road near Walnut Grove, and the corner of Desmond and Bruceville roads in the Cosumnes River Preserve are three of the best viewing areas for Sandhill Cranes specifically.

From November 4-6, the community celebrates these North American cranes with a three-day festival. During this time, tours are available and presentations, workshops, art shows, and more related to Sandhill Cranes take over Hutchins Street Square on Saturday and Sunday.

Sandhill Cranes, however, are not the only eye-catching birds that come into view this time of year. Read on for a few other winged creatures you can catch in your binoculars on the California Delta this winter, which routinely includes more than 150 species with tens of thousands of shorebirds and hundreds of thousands of waterfowl migrating to the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta in winter.

Tundra Swans
Pure white plumage and jet-black beaks make identifying these particular swans easy. Every winter, they fly in from the arctic north and settle into waterways throughout the Central Valley, where they live in tight-knit families, fly in v-formations, and chatter loudly amongst themselves.

Short-eared Owls
These medium-sized owls nest in the ground of marshlands and grasslands, making the Delta a prime place for winter sightings. These expressive birds may be visible yea- round, but the numbers tend to tick up in winter months.

Swainson’s Hawk
This species is considered threatened in the area so there are not typically large numbers of them soaring about, however, while most make their way to Mexico, Central America, and Argentina, a group of these hawks have been known to winter in the nearby Delta.

Hutchins Street Square
125 S. Hutchins St., Ste. A, Lodi
(209) 333-6782