The Mourning Dove (Zenaidúra macroúra) is a common dove found all year in Arden Arcade. These doves' soft, drawn-out, coo-ing calls sound like laments. They tend to perch on telephone wires or other high places and they can fly fast and straight. Since they forage for seeds on the ground, they are vulnerable to outdoor cats. According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the oldest known Mourning Dove was over 30 years old.
The Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) is a short-winged bird with a long tail that sings loudly and is an excellent mimic. Mockingbirds eat insects that are pests to humans. These insects include beetles, ants, wasps and grasshoppers. They also disperse the seeds of many plants. Though the species is abundant, like all birds it is susceptible to habitat loss. The species is protected by the US Migratory Bird Act. Mockingbirds breed in the spring and early summer. It tends to nest in trees and shrubs that are low to the ground. Local mockingbirds were thus at risk from the abrupt removal of 91 trees on Butano during the 2015 nesting season.
The Hermit Thrush (Catharus guttarus) is a songbird that lives in forests across North America. It winters in our area. Hermit Thrushes don't migrate very far. The ones who winter in our part of the Central Valley likely spend their summers in the forests of the Sierra Nevada. It's diet--which consists of insects and wild berries, such as hackberries--is easily fulfilled here. The Hermit Thrush has a distinctive flute-like song.
Arden Arcade has a lot of deciduous trees that grace the area with showy fall color each Autumn. One such species is the Metasequoia glyptostroboides, or Dawn Redwood. It's a tree with bark and foliage that resemble a coast redwood. Unlike our native Sequoias, however, it sheds its leaves in the fall. Once thought to be an extinct relic of the Mesozoic Era, the Dawn Redwood was "discovered" growing in its native China in the 1940s. Since then it has become an ornamental tree, though it remains endangered in the wild. While it grows best in wet locations, it can be grown in our climate zone under the right conditions. Dawn redwoods can be seen in the Capitol Parks of both California and Oregon -- or in Arden Arcade neighborhoods.
If you are thinking of replacing your lawn with drought-tolerant plantings, consider Lantana. Lantana is a popular drought-tolerant plant that can thrive with little moisture and in full sun. Lantana produces an abundance of brightly colored flowers all summer and fall, and is a magnet for butterflies and hummingbirds. While hard frosts can cause problems for Lantana, plants from local nurseries seem to do OK here once established.
The Yellow-billed Magpie (Pica Nuttalli) is a resident species of the Central Valley that frequents the neighborhoods of Arden Arcade. A true Californian, it lives no where else in the world. Magpies have a limited range and specialized habitat requirements. They travel and nest in groups and are fun to watch. They eat almost anything--acorns, grasshoppers, earthworms and lawn insects, flying insects, road-killed animals, and even cat food. Audubon California says our Magpies are particularly susceptible to climate change and could lose up to 75% of their habitat in the next 100 years, a loss that could bring about their extinction.
Being Corvids (related to crows), Magpies are highly vulnerable to West Nile Virus. If you see a dead Magpie, notify the Mosquito and Vector Control District.
The Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) came to California from Texas in 1959 after the CA Dept. of Fish and Wildlife determined that the Rio Grande sub-species (M. g. intermedia) of turkey would do well in California habitats. Flocks of turkeys now thrive in the American River Parkway and also in Arden Arcade's residential neighborhoods.
Thoroughbreds once grazed here before moving to Bluegrass country. Cows and goats once roamed the local pastures. They may be gone, but there are plenty of other local residents beside people: birds like wild turkeys and yellow-billed magpies, mammals like coyote, deer, raccoons, and even marsupial opossums. It's kind of amazing to see the diversity of wildlife coexisting with us in our densely-populated community. We support quality of life for all residents...including the critters.