“Birds, Buds and Bugs” with Noted Mendocino naturalist, Kate Marianchild

 “Birds, Buds, and Bugs: Nurturing the Web of Life” is the topic of the Thursday, Feb. 20 meeting of the Redbud Audubon chapter at the Methodist Church Social Hall in Lower Lake starting at 7 p.m. The speaker, Kate Marianchild is the author of the

Kate Marianchild getting to know “Almost,” an injured Acorn Woodpecker she met at Hastings Natural History Reservation in 2017.

popular book Secrets of the Oak Woodlands: Plants and Animals among California’s Oaks. She gives talks and leads walks throughout central and northern California and has spoken to Redbud Audubon several times in past years.

Marianchild’s presentation will consist of the first part of a video, The Living Landscape, followed by a slideshow on related subjects. This program is especially relevant now in light of the recently recognized “insect and bird apocalypse” that is negatively impacting food webs and the future of life on earth.

In The Living Landscape, wildlife ecologist and entomologist Doug Tallamy demonstrates, with startling facts and spectacular images, the reliance of most terrestrial animals on insects, and the dependence of many of those insects on only a few types of plants––mostly native plants or their close relatives. The video focuses particularly on moth and butterfly caterpillars, which Tallamy and his students have determined are critically necessary to the survival of most songbird babies. Oak titmouse parents, for instance, have to bring a total of 7000-10,000 caterpillars to their nestlings during the nesting period––approximately 400-550 caterpillars every day! Tallamy’s research has proven that if there are no native plants nearby, caterpillars will not be there either, and baby birds will starve.

That alone, says Marianchild, is a reason to turn every yard, town, and city into a caterpillar paradise!

After showing The Living Landscape, which depicts only east coast species, Marianchild will “bring the food web home” to Lake and Mendocino Counties, with fascinating facts and colorful images of our local butterflies, moths, birds, and the native plants that sustain them. Kate will also discuss the devastating effects of neonicotinoid insecticides, their role in the insect apocalypse, and what we can do about them.

The program will be followed by a discussion and Q&A session. Handouts will be provided that will help you determine which locally available native host plants would be appropriate for your garden and yard. She will also bring copies of her book, Secrets of the Oak Woodlands ; her new laminated two-sided full-color guide Identifying the Common Oaks of Northern California ; and close-focusing binoculars, which she says will change your nature-viewing life!

The presentation is free to the public, and Redbud Audubon encourages Lake County’s Master Gardeners and members of garden clubs like Lakeport’s Trowel and Trellis to attend and contribute to the discussion.  

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.