California Quail – Happy Under Cover

First published on June 14, 2017 When you hear a plaintive, high-pitched call, it’s probably an anxious lone quail searching for its flock. Behavior Callipepla californica, the California Quail, is a social animal who lives in coveys ranging from 10 to 200 birds (depending on the time of year). As long as they have enough cover, food, and space this animal can live …

Spiders – Organic Pest Managers

First published January 25, 2018 Spiders have been the earth’s most common land predator for over 400 million years. New research estimates that if you combined all the spiders on the planet and weighted them, they’d (as of April 2017) amount to 25 million tons! A healthy spider population helps control mosquitoes and other insects.  From the graph above, it’s easy to …

Sierra Newt – Powerful Water Drive & Deadly Skin

First published June 10, 2017 California and Sierra Newts are native to California. In winter and spring, Sierra Newts in Nevada County respond to an over-powering urge – to return to the pond or stream where they were born. Reproduction Hormones cause this migratory breeding behavior, known as water drive. (The hormone, prolactin, is also responsible for human breast milk production.) The …

Miniscule Mountain Beetle Turning Forests Red

First published November 28, 2017 “It’s about the size of a mouse turd,” says Diana Six, Professor of Forest Entomology/Pathology at University of Montana, when describing the Mountain Pine Beetle. Historically, the Mountain Pine Beetle contributed to a healthy forest by eliminating weakened trees, making room for new growth. Cold temperatures kept populations in check, only 20% of larvae would …

Sierran Tree Frog with Chemical Sensitivities

First published July 9, 2017 Even though it has ‘tree’ in its name, the Sierran Tree Frog is mostly found near the ground. Habitat Tree frogs live in bushes and grass. Their preference is for damp, moist areas. Behavior Large toe pads that allow it to walk on vertical surfaces. The toe pads are also useful for clinging to sticks and twigs. …

Scurvy in California’s Food Capital

First published June 9, 2018 Well before the Gold Rush (by the 1750’s) it was known that eating citrus fruit prevented scurvy scur·vy | ˈskərvē/ | noun – a disease caused by a deficiency of vitamin C, characterized by swollen bleeding gums and the opening of previously healed wounds, which particularly affected poorly nourished sailors until the end of the 18th century. “Yet …

Hungry Bears Losing Ground & Helping Humans Burn Fat

First published September 24, 2017 As of 2012, the American Black Bear population living in the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range was estimated at 10,000 bears. Mostly, they live at higher elevation levels, 3,000 feet and above, in areas managed by the U.S. Forest Service or the National Parks. There is about one bear per square mile. A rough estimate of Nevada County’s high …

Grizzly Entertainment & California Bear Extinction

First published June 15, 2018 The largest and most powerful of bears, the California grizzly, thrived in New Spain when European explorers first set eyes on the land.  At their peak, approximately 10,000 grizzlies lived in California making the population one of the densest in the Pacific Northwest. “The grizzlies are the commonest kind of bear found in California, and are …

Dammed Disrupted Salmon

First published May 23, 2017 When responding to the urge to spawn, Salmon become a powerful delivery system. If allowed to move freely through rivers and streams, they transport ocean nitrogen and other nutrients thousands of miles inland while providing humans and animals with a rich source of food. They did this successfully until man decided to industrialize their reproduction. …