Tag Archives: Urban Wildlife

McKinley Pond Renovation Update

East Sacramento Preservation Board Member Judy McClaver recieved the Good Neighbor Award from Nextdoor.com and was featured in their blog post (below).

Although tickled by the award Judy is currently right in the thick of the pond renovation. “The geese have finally left and about 66% of the ducks. There are some still hanging around. I have put water out for them on the east side of the pond outside of the fence. People can help them by replenishing the water. There is a plastic bag in the watering area with two liter plastic bottles to refill from the drinking fountain,” she said.

She continues to advocate for the safety of the waterfowl and turtles with the pond projects started, but there are still turtles that need rescuing. McClaver worked out a plan with Sacramento City Parks that the donated plants in the pond’s planters can be saved and replanted in the pond when the project is done. The duck ramp is to be reinstalled for ducklings.

McClaver stresses that the job is far from done. “Piles of debris on the island from contractor’s trimming need to be removed and the waterfowl feeding signs need to be put in the pond where people will see them (line of sight) not above people’s heads,” she said.

Good Neighbor Awards

Sacramento’s “First Lady of Waterfowl” Awarded Good Neighbor Award

Judy working from a boat to clean trash and debris out of McKinley Pond.

Written by Danielle Styskal

Each month, Nextdoor is honoring the good neighbors who are making a difference in their neighborhoods every day with our Good Neighbor Award. Each winner is nominated by their neighbors and will receive a gift card from Nextdoor in recognition of the positive impact they have made in their community.

To nominate a good neighbor in your community, click here.


According to several of her neighbors, every city should be so lucky as to have their own “First Lady of Waterfowl,” as Judy McClaver is fondly referred to in Sacramento.

Sacramento’s Good Neighbor Award winner, Judy McClaver.

Sacramento’s Good Neighbor Award winner, Judy McClaver.

Since late 2012, Judy has been fervently volunteering her time to improve the local pond and its surroundings in Sacramento’s McKinley Park. Judy first noticed that the pond was becoming contaminated and dangerous, and turned to the local City Council to have the water tested.

She now walks the park each day to clean up fallen tree branches that park patrons sometimes throw into the pond, causing injury to the pond’s wildlife. She removedbamboo from the pond’s island that was killing the waterfowl and attracting rats – and was ultimately causing odor and adding leaf debris to the pond. Then, she put in new plants.

Judy working from a boat to clean trash and debris out of McKinley Pond.

Judy working from a boat to clean trash and debris out of McKinley Pond.

Uneducated park visitors often feed the waterfowl, causing malnutrition and deformities, so Judy worked with the local Parks Department to implement and post a waterfowl feeding policy that educates others on why bread and human food is harmful.

Judy educating visitors to the pond about ducks and geese and proper feeding to avoid malnutrition and wing and beak deformities.

Judy educating visitors to the pond about ducks and geese and proper feeding to avoid malnutrition and wing and beak deformities.

And, when a family of wild ducks from the pond ends up in a storm drain or backyard swimming pool, Judy is the first person her neighbors turn to for help – she’s an expert in trapping and relocating the waterfowl to a new, safe habitat.

Judy’s efforts haven’t gone unnoticed by her grateful neighbors. According to one, “She volunteers to help clean up our local park, assists in wildlife rescue, and is an all-around great neighbor to have. We’re so lucky to have her living here.”

Says another, “Judy is a treasure.”

Judy is willing to do the work to maintain the beauty of a prized local park – all out of the goodness of her heart. Congratulations on being named Sacramento’s Nextdoor Good Neighbor Award Winner!


Do you have a story about how you have used Nextdoor in your neighborhood? Let us know.

 

Posted in Animal Welfare, McKinley Park, McKinley Park Pond | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Let’s Keep the Bluebird of Happiness

Cavity-nesting birds in East Portal Park

The drought has killed several trees in East Portal Park and I now see that many of them have been marked with an orange ring, presumably so that they can be taken down. While I recognize the need to remove any which pose a safety risk, it is also important for the city to consider the wildlife value of these very trees.

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Our city is home to a wide variety of bird species, many of which breed right in town. Among those birds, some nest only in cavities in trees. For the most part the trees, which provide the best cavities for these birds, are ones which are dead or dying. I walk East Portal Park nearly every morning and have noted that at least three bird species have nested each year in cavities in trees in this park: Nuttall’s Woodpecker (a woodpecker found only along the west coast in California and Oregon), Western Bluebird, and Oak Titmouse. In particular, all three species are using cavities in some of the marked trees. (Zelkova species, I believe.) I am hopeful that the city will consider saving at least one or two of these trees.

I also understand that, besides safety issues, there is an aesthetic reason for taking down dead or dying trees. Few people actually understand that, from a wildlife perspective, these are often the most valuable trees in a forests (urban OR native forests). Many other communities have recognized this and have implemented programs to try to save some of these trees, marking them with “Wildlife Tree” signage so that the public understands why they have been saved. One example is a program in place in Orange County (http://cavityconservation.com/). An example of the type of signage used is shown below.

I have included a few photos showing cavities which have been used by nesting birds in recent years in East Portal Park. One tree in particular has been very productive and I am hopeful that this tree, at least, can be retained. It is along M Street, just where 51st intersects.

Contributed by Ed Pandolfino, Ph.D. (former president of Western Field Ornithologists, co-author of Birds of the Sierra Nevada)

 

Posted in East Portal, Ed Pandolfino, Essays, Parks, Preservation District, Trees, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment