Nature Blog

At the Elderberry Bush

January 09, 2020

Blue elderberry is a important shrub (or small tree) for people and wildlife in California. Learn more about this useful and fascinating plant! And take a peek at some avian enthusiasm for these berries.

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Canada Geese

December 23, 2019

Canada geese are beautiful birds that have become so commonplace that we often ignore them or even consider them a nuisance; however, they are actually very interesting birds.

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Soap Plant: A Plant with Many Forms and Many Uses

December 12, 2019

What are those very tall, straw-colored, dead-looking plants in the meadow along the Main Trail near the river? They weren’t there when you walked by last spring. These tall sticks are the autumn form or last stage in the annual cycle of...

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A Year in the Life of Deer

October 22, 2019

Photographer and blogger Larry Klink photographed the Nature Center's deer over the past year. Take a look at what he discovered!

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These Spiders Don't Spin Webs

October 09, 2019

Spiders without webs! Last time we took a look at how to use spider webs as a clue to a spider's identity. Did you know that some spiders don't spin webs? Learn more about these fascinating creatures here!

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In Search of Spiders

September 04, 2019

The easiest way to spot a spider is by looking for their webs. Did you know that web characteristics are a good clue to its builder's identity!

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Wild Turkeys

August 13, 2019

"Whooooooaaaaaah, Birdzillas!" a young camper said as a group of Wild Turkeys cruised by the Visitor's Center. Learn more about these large birds. What do they eat? Where do they sleep? How did they get to California?

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Poison Oak: Leaves of Three---Let It Be

July 24, 2019

Poison oak, Toxicodendron diversilobum, is often associated with the nasty rash that can result from contact with it. Did you know that this attractive plant serves as an important food source for deer, squirrels, and many birds?

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Wandering at Effie Yeaw Nature Center

July 10, 2019

Photographer and blogger Larry Klink spends many mornings wandering the trails of the Effie Yeaw Nature Study Area. He says, "For me, walking the trails and photographing the things I see allows me to connect with nature in simple, every day, matters of life".

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Lady Beetle Season

June 14, 2019

Late spring is a glorious time for lady beetle lovers. Why? Because aphid populations are at their peak, and aphids are the prime food for the red and black lady beetles most people are likely to recognize.

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Birds of a Different Feather

May 23, 2019

The Wild Turkey and the Mallard are familiar to most of us.; In fact, their markings make them instantly recognizable, but, like all animals, there are variations.

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Western Tussock Moth Caterpillar

May 07, 2019

May is a good time to observe western tussock moth caterpillars.You can find these colorful and hairy caterpillars chewing holes in leaves on oaks and many other trees on our nature reserve in spring. Their scientific name is Orgyia vetusta.

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Squirrels of Effie Yeaw

April 15, 2019

Discover the squirrels of Effie Yeaw Nature Center. Squirrels are a common site on the Nature Preserve. The 2 varieties most often seen are...

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Eek! Earthworms on the Grinding Rock

March 25, 2019

On March 4, I arrive at the Maidu Village to help Effie Yeaw Nature Center's Lead Naturalist, Brena Seck, clean the grinding rock, and there are worms everywhere. Why do we keep finding worms in the water-filled grinding holes?

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Those Little Brown Birds for Beginners

March 13, 2019

When you walk through Effie Yeaw Nature Center, you’ll notice a lot of bird activity. The acorn woodpeckers and jays make their noisy presence known. Wild Turkeys roam the grounds, Hawks and Turkey Vultures can be seen perched or circling. But what about those little brown and gray birds that are always flitting around from tree to tree?

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What's that Green Stuff Covering the Pond?

February 19, 2019

We have two ponds at Effie Yeaw, the Nature Study Pond at the southeast corner of the reserve and the smaller pond in the Maidu Village at our entryway. Both ponds are covered with mats of tiny plants. Often these plants make it difficult to even see the water surface.

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Birds Frequently Seen at Effie Yeaw Nature Center

February 07, 2019

As you travel through the Effie Yeaw Nature Center, there are a few birds that are common and easy to spot. For those new two birding, learning to identify these birds and their favorite places and foods is a great way to begin!

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What's That Hole in my Acorn?

January 22, 2019

Have you ever picked up an acorn and found a tiny hole in it? Did you wonder what made the hole? Read the blog to learn all about the critter creating tiny holes in your acorns!

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Salmon Run

December 18, 2018

From mid-autumn through about year end, the Chinook or King Salmon make their run into rivers along the Pacific Coast to spawn. Read about this amazing process...

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Under the Mistletoe

December 04, 2018

Did you hang a mistletoe branch over your entryway this holiday season? You don’t need to nail mistletoe over your door to grab a kiss. Just take a hike in our nature preserve.

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Story from the Trails

August 14, 2018

This summer our campers enrolled the Animal Caretakers nature camp encountered an unexpected critter on the trails.

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Monarch Butterflies and You!

April 03, 2018

You may have seen Monarch butterflies and caterpillars at the Nature Center and other places around Sacramento. But do you see them in your own yard? Learn how you can attract and help conserve this amazing species!

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2017 ARNHA Wildlife Count Results Are In!

December 20, 2017

This year ARNHA Wildlife Count volunteers were out in full force to document bird and wildlife populations found along the Lower American River. Twelve teams, including 1 team in a canoe, counted 14,326 birds in 119 species, and other animal species. See their details of their efforts and some exciting wildlife observations.

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Spring is just arriving

March 30, 2017

Spring is just arriving, and the trees and shrubs here at the preserve are starting to wake up! From the moment you step foot on the sidewalk approaching the visitor center, you can see a whole host of diverse native trees and shrubs exploding with new life.

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The Antlions of Effie Yeaw

September 01, 2016

Imagine the existence of a predatory creature that will grab its prey from beneath the ground, just below their feet, and drag them below the earth to devour them. Such a creature sounds like a monster from science fiction and horror, but this thing is real! It is real!! And it lives at Effie Yeaw!

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The Wood Ducks of Effie Yeaw

January 23, 2016

The wood duck is another iconic North American animal that we are fortunate to find in the Effie Yeaw nature preserve. The beauty of the wood duck has inspired stories in the oral traditions of Native Peoples as well has being a common theme found in American folk art. Hand painted wood duck decoys are a popular item among collectors.

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Black Ops Squirrels

December 26, 2015

Reported sightings from visitors of small shadowy black furred creatures inhabiting the woods surrounding Effie Yeaw have increased during the month of December. Recently a woman came into the Nature Center and recounted that she and her grandson had witnessed a small black skunk quickly scurrying up and down tree trunks and leaping across branches!

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The Deer, the Vultures and the Coyotes

November 27, 2015

I couldn’t sleep. I looked through the dark at the time; just after 4am. I wanted to go to Effie Yeaw early that morning to do some wandering before open, but not at 4am. For the record, I am far from being a morning person. Nevertheless I had my alarm set for 5am. For me to try falling back asleep now for less than an hour would be a futile effort, so with a groan I dragged myself out of bed and quietly in the dark I got dressed.

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Turkeys in the Mist

November 25, 2015

Recently I was talking with Phil Stone at Effie Yeaw, a long time friend of the Nature Center and local photographer. He told me he had been walking in the field opposite the golf course on Tarshes Drive when he noticed a nicely dressed family gathered to pose for an outdoor family photo. The family was ready for the photo and smiling for the camera when three Tom Turkeys came running at them in fury.

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The Screech Owl on the Main Trail

October 30, 2015

Alright, I'm excited to write about this next animal that is living wild in the preserve. This pint sized ghost of the woods has a lot of personality packed into a little bad ass ball of fluff. This entry is about the western screech owl! Megascops kennicotti. Aka: ghost owl, the cat owl, and little horned owl.

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October 17, 2015

I like to explore the preserve after a good rain; it is when the riparian woods are the most alive. After last night and this morning’s much needed rain shower I was excited to go out and see what was new. I didn’t even make it to the first big granary tree on the main trail before I noticed something was…weird.

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Anna's Hummingbirds at Effie Yeaw

October 15, 2015

There is a cottonwood tree close to the river, past where the observation trail fades into cobbles; the bare forked top branches have long been the favorite perch for a certain male Anna’s Hummingbird. The sight of this hummer has been a consistent and reliable one that I’ve come to enjoy keeping an eye out for when taking this trail to the river.

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Yellow Garden Spider, Argiope aurantia

October 04, 2015

Perhaps not our most cute and cuddly critter, but there is definitely a coolness and fascination factor to these spiders of enormous size that I couldn't pass up. I mean, I wouldn't want to find one in my house, but observing them in the preserve I think is pretty cool. Last Friday I was at the nature study pond with Paul and a local eagle scout surveying for a cattail removal service project that will allow visitors to actually see the pond

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Cedar Waxwings

September 30, 2015

Fall is my absolute favorite time of year to spend outdoors. The American Parkway becomes a beautiful and different world to visit altogether. Not only do the sights and smells change, but you can also hear the calls and songs of migratory birds, announcing the change of season with their arrival.

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Coyotes in the Preserve

September 17, 2015

This entry is about one of the most talked about animals of the preserve and one of the most controversial animals of North America, el coyote!, canis latrans, aka: the prairie wolf, brush wolf, American jackal, and the trickster.

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