Spring Season Overview
The California Ricelands Waterbird Foundation (Foundation) completed the first season of its very own habitat program, Bid4Birds. The successful execution of this program is a significant benchmark for the Foundation which has been constantly increasing its activities since its inception in 2015. Unlike previous habitat programs that the Foundation helped fund, Bid4Birds has been completely owned and operated by the Foundation with funding from its generous donors.
Bid4Birds is designed to turn farmers’ fields into temporary seasonal wetland habitat for migrating shorebirds and other waterbirds. Bid4Birds focuses on creating this habitat during a time of year when flooded habitat is scarce on the landscape and therefore more valuable to waterbirds. Creating this habitat has real costs for the farmer and so the Foundation provides incentive payments to help offset those costs for farmers interested in providing this quality habitat.
Benefits to the Birds
This season the Foundation funded seven Bid4Birds contracts encompassing a total of 18 rice fields in the Sacramento Valley. These contracts created nearly 1,600 acres of valuable shoulder season habitat. During site visits, 45 different species of birds were observed and documented utilizing enrolled fields. The most common shorebird species observed were White-faced Ibis, Dunlin, Greater Yellowlegs, and Long-billed Curlews.
While these projects are designed to create shorebird habitat they are heavily utilized by a wide range of waterbird species. In fact, of the 45 total documented species only 11 were shorebirds. The Foundation is happy to work with conservation minded growers to provide this critical habitat, particularly during years without much winter or spring time precipitation like in 2020.