What To Look For At Floyd Lloyd Park At Tule Springs
As you walk throughout the park look around to see how many types of birds you can find. The Killdeer, Kestrels, Tree Swallows, Yellow Warblers, Ruddy Ducks, Great Egrets and Cormorants have all been seen in the Park. You may also see Red-tailed Hawks or Falcons. Many of these migratory birds come to the lake not only for the water but to feed on the fish.
Yellow-headed Blackbird: With a length of eight and a half inches and a sharply pointed bill, this bird is easily identified by its bright yellow head and breast in contrast to the rest of its body. It frequents marshy habitats like the Tule Lake in the summer and often flocks with other species of blackbirds.
Mallard Duck: The most recognizable of all ducks is the male because of its distinctive, green head, black rear end and a yellowish orange bill tipped with black. The female is light brown. The male has a nasal call, the female a quack typically associated with ducks. They, like the yellow-headed blackbirds, frequent wetlands feeding on plant food.
Burrowing Owl: This special owl lives in the Park. Do you see any in the trees? This owl is a small long-legged creature found in grasslands, rangelands, agricultural areas, deserts or any other areas that are dry and with little vegetation. They nest and roost in burrows like prairie dogs. They are often active during the day. They have bright yellow eyes with yellowish, greenish beaks and legs without feathers and are grayish in color. Its face is flat with prominent white eyebrows and a white chin patch. When hunting they wait on a perch until they spot their prey and swoop down to attack. They mainly eat large insects and small rodents and frogs and other owls.
Additional Birds and Water Birds You May See in the Park –
Egret: Also known as heron the word comes from the French word “aigrette” referring to the long threadlike feathers that flow down the egret’s back during breeding season.
Red-tailed Hawk: This is a medium size bird of prey known by its local name as a chicken hawk because they have been known to feed on chickens. This bird occupies a range of habitats and altitudes including deserts, grasslands, tropical rainforests, farmlands and urban areas. In Native American cultures his feathers are considered sacred by some tribes and are used in their religious ceremonies. They may weigh from 1.5 to 2.9 pounds and measure 18 to 22 inches. They are obviously known by the color of their tails.
Falcon: The word comes from the Latin name (falco) related to the Latin sickle (falx) because of the shape of its wings. The wings enable them to fly at high speeds and change directions quickly. They have been recorded diving 200 miles per hour making them the fastest moving creatures on earth. They are known for their exceptional vision 2.6 times that of a human. The beak has a tooth-like appearance.
Killdeer: This is a medium sized plover, a bird with a short tail, long pointed wings and usually brown or gray feathers. They have orange-red eye rings. Their breeding habitat is open fields or lawns and they lay their eggs in nests usually in slightly depressed gravel. They migrate to warmer climates during the winter months as far south as northern South America. They mainly eat insects finding them in fields, mudflats and along water lines. Their names come from their bird calls.They use the broken wing act to distract predators from their nests.
Kestrel: These birds are part of the falcon family. They are distinguished by their ability to fly and hover about three to five feet above their prey and swoop down on their captors. To do this they need a slight headwind. They nest in buildings and hunt on major roads. They are a bit lazy as they use nests built by other species. They are brown in color with large areas of gray in their wings.
Tree Swallow: These migratory birds live primarily in North America and winter in Mexico. They are about five inches long and weigh about 20 grams. With a tiny bill, its colors are bright blue-green on the upperparts and white underneath with a very slightly forked tail. They nest in areas near water and are usually found in large flocks. They eat primarily insects and a bit of fruit. They are excellent flyers and often catch insects in midair.
Yellow Warbler: This bird is also known as the yellowbird. There are 35 subspecies. They migrate to Central and South America during the winter. They are basically greenish above and a dull yellow below. They are 11.5 centimeters in length and weigh 9 grams.
Ruddy Duck: This is a small stiff-tailed duck with a rusty red body and a blue bill surround by a white face with a black cap. Their breeding habitats are marshy lakes and ponds like Floyd Lamb Park at Tule Springs nesting in dense marsh vegetation near the water. They dive and swim underwater eating seeds and roots of water plants and insects.
Cormorant: There are some 40 species of this bird. They are also known as shags. They have creamy white patches on their cheeks and white ornamental plums on their heads. The word cormorant comes from the Latin corvus marinus known as a sea raven. They range in size from 18 to 40 inches and weigh from 12 ounces to 11 pounds.
Great Blue Heron: This is a large wading bird from the heron family. They migrate to wetlands having a head to tail length of 36 to 55 inches, a wingspan of 66-79 inches and a weight of four to eight pounds. They are blue-gray overall with black flight feathers on their heads, reddish brown wings and red and black stripes up their flanks. Their necks are rusty gray with black and white streaking down their fronts. Their faces are almost all white with a pair of black plumes running from their eyes to the backs of their heads. They have a harsh croaking sound and are most vocal during breeding seasons.