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Drought Disrupts Migratory Birds In The Central Valley


As birds fly south for the winter, millions of them will stop in the Central Valley, but the drought will make it harder for the birds to find food and water.

Birds will find fewer flooded fields to roost in the Central Valley.

Many geese, ducks, and swans may have to go beyond their normal habitats - especially to find food.

Brad Burkholder with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife says the state is flooding wildlife refuges, reserves, and some private lands - but that will only help a fraction of the birds.

 "It's going to be interesting, I mean this is going to be a learning year for us, for us all, to figure out how these conditions are going to maybe potentially redistribute some of the birds." 

Sandhill cranes in Sacramento and San Joaquin Counties are a big draw for bird watchers.

Nancy Beckerman with the Lodi Visitors Bureau says the cranes provide an economic boost for the area.

"Lot of people coming, seeing the birds and staying overnight and then eating here, shopping here and checking out our wineries."

The state is flooding the Cosumnes reserve south of Sacramento and the Woodbridge reserve near Lodi to welcome the cranes instead.

Rich Ibarra

Contributing Central Valley/Foothills Reporter

As the Central Valley correspondent, Rich Ibarra covers San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Merced counties, along with the foothill areas including Tuolumne and Calaveras counties. He covers politics, the economy and issues affecting the region.   Read Full Bio 

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