California Quail – Happy Under Cover

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 successfully among humans.  Each bird requires … Read More

Spiders – Organic Pest Managers

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 see that spiders contribute to … Read More

Sierra Newt – Powerful Water Drive & Deadly Skin

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 migration begins with travel and ends … Read More

Miniscule Mountain Beetle Turning Forests Red

“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 survive a winter. Beetle Lifespan … Read More

Sierran Tree Frog with Chemical Sensitivities

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. To avoid being eaten, the Sierran … Read More