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March 26, 2019
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CRPUSD seeking a new superintendent Cuts suggested for school district Cotati protests CASA compact Traffic concerns top RP survey SSU to host North Bay Women of Color conference Sonoma State president testifies for tax relief for disaster victims No criminal charges filed against PG&E in northern Ca. wildfires Promotions in the Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety 73rd Miss Sonoma County competition held at Spreckels Schools, facilities and bonds: Plans but no money Holocaust piano now in Cotati Rohnert Park Station Ave. update School district seeking new superintendent Don’t drive with an open container Fresh faces on the CRPUSD board A shimmer of hope against the angry heavy sky Newsom’s vision “cradle to career” RP Downtown project underway New alcohol fees for Rohnert Park Bad air quality cancels sports Official election winners as projected by the VOICE  RP swears in new council member 2018 local stories which made history ArtStart brings art to the RP Senior Center Cotati considers $15 min. wage Fun family Christmas events in Cotati Cougars’ season comes to a tearful sad conclusion CalFresh clients get Feb. benefits early Neighborhood watch meeting scheduled Dr. Dominguez and Hawkins named as director and co-director for Hanna Institute University Elementary School to host Maker World at SSU Animal Shelter League of RP receives grant Cotati Council reshuffles seats Help save lives by donating blood New laws on purchasing and concealing handguns Fencing in Sonoma County School district leaders tackle 1.9m deficit The Community Voice endorses candidates DA’s office awarded DUI Prosecution Grant Rohnert Park kid joins TCU El Camino graduates Rohnert Park Council says we don’t need another agency Rancho students excel in Poetry Out Loud  SC public safety heroes of the year Frightful, fun, free Halloween activities Cougars crush Ukiah Election projected winners November 6, 2018  Sonoma Clean Power offers no-cost energy upgrades Rancho advances to semifinals RP’s n­ew Director of Public Safety A stand-off with barricaded, suicidal woman ends safely in RP RP has a new director of public safety Mackenzie leaves SMART RP officers spent Sat. car chasing Public invited to give input on Downtown RP Site School board candidates voice opinions Woman stabbed on west side of RP LandPaths connects people to protected land Tech High Girl's Soccer Undefeated champions! AG Becerra issues consumer alert on price gouging in fire-affected communities Learn to docent at the SSU Fairfield Osborn Preserve New signs point in the right direction Where are the ski lifts? Is Cotati being targeted? State Farm property steams forward to Station Avenue Scrappers Steal Win RP Foundation issues grant Cotati allows second dispensary New residential building lands approved In Singapore Strait aboard a missile destroyer PG&E has a prediction model USCIS presents free training on how to apply for citizenship RP investigates new site for Corp. Yard Two arrested in RP motel for mail theft  Is Juuling the new norm? Rancho Cotate Band fundraiser BBQ Jessica Holman: Thirty-five years of Rancho Spirit Titans crush Mustangs Station Avenue gets final approval Cotati Council reviews trash plan Baseball League receives donation from local motorcycle club Cotati Police Chief Parish swears in new officer Garber A Sunday afternoon with retired football players Injury collision closes Golf Course Dr. Giving Kids Smiles in Rohnert Park New interim superintendent Krispy Kreme Doughnuts comes to Rohnert Park  Cougars blow past Gauchos  Rohnert Park honors its Veterans and Servicemen CHP reminds all of increased crimes Cougars beat Bulldogs More than 276,000 Dreamers have renewed DACA White receives Matt Walsh Memorial RP and Sunday festivities SSU fraternity banned for five years Cotati Chamber of Commerce Oktoberfest Rancho crushes Analy CA Homemaker Association needs volunteers Active duty honorees at the RP Veterans Day program Santa now knows her secret CPI receives funding to offer counseling in schools Caltrans works toward decarbonizing California transportation The Rancho Cotati Rotary Club hosts Humanitarian Award dinner SSU and SCOE offer high school internship RP’s new interim police chief Big changes to big project in Rohnert Park A possibility for Snyder Lane to have four lanes soon Rohnert Park road updates Sheriff’s Detectives arrest SR man after controlled delivery of ecstasy pills. Cotati comes out against CASA Penngrove Community Church celebrates 120 years Cotati approves tree lighting City of Cotati has apartment housing parking problems Operators ordered to pay for false advertising violations Becerra urges Ca. businesses resources to help prevent human trafficking Possible change to parking rules Students at University Elementary discussing the labyrinth Rohnert Park City Council Candidates NHTSA reminds motorists to drive sober this season R P Foundation gives grants to NOAH and Petaluma Bounty Summit State Bank annual report FEMA awards Sonoma Water grant March for the blind highlights need for more accessible sidewalks Cougar to Bear — Simmons’ new pelt SRJC picks up local quarterback The Cougars defeat the Jaguars at homecoming New laws take effect Jan. 1 Kids and firefighters compete in RP RP local, Petri Alva, 14, a nationally recognized athlete SweetPea celebrates 31 years Seawolves serve up a victory Cardinals rout Cougars How to help victims of wildfires Polynesia celebrated at annual Pacific Islander Festival Fire storm anniversary Plan approved for Station Ave. park Football in full swing, 3rd win Arrests and charges target Apple stores Annie Rasmussen Celebration of Life Revisiting those who lost it all: October wildfire victims still on the road to recovery SMART celebrates a year of service RP Public Safety report card Penngrove native set for amazing voyage Cotati votes opposition to oil leases SC neighborhood sues illegal pot grower Penngrove grassfire destroys buildings Cotati Accordion Festival still a hit after 28 years RP residents provide input in police chief search Forum hosted by WLV for RP City Council candidates Supply giveaways lend a hand to families Police officers inspect inside of car Lowerys help with campaign Yes on Measure W will keep fire stations open RP to host community forum for public safety director search Emergency Alert System Test Sept. 10 & 12 Spreckels and Alchemia connects community It wasn’t an easy fight but Rancho wins again RP Safety Dept. climbs in remembrance of 9/11/18 Back to school for Rohnert Park and Cotati Another tough break for roller derby RP waits to make update to emergency alert system Cougars slay Dragons Third pedestrian struck by SMART train Enjoying ribs Little ones with big Polynesian dancing spirit Sidewalk repair gets big break from City of RP RP Health Center celebrates anniversary Imitating major leaguers Rohnert Park waiting for approval for canine program

Thinking beyond the bird feeder

By: By Lishka Arata, PRBO Conservation Educator
December 3, 2009

A question asked of students at the end of a bird conservation activity is, “So, how do you think you could help birds when you go home?” Often the first response from children and adults alike is, “I can feed them!”
They are usually talking about putting up a man-made bird feeder that dispenses store-bought birdseed. Continuing the discussion with the bird conservation activity audience, it’s pointed out the larger more interesting context to think within when one aims to help birds at home. In order to truly help birds at home, one must think outside of the bird feeder and within an ecological framework.
The bottom line is birds are not doing so well. Bird population monitoring data, gathered and analyzed for over 40 years by PRBO Conservation Science biologists, have shown many bird species’ populations are declining.
The main cause for this negative trend is loss and degradation of habitat due to human activity such as industry, development, and pollution. Despite this discouraging news, there are effective ways everyone can help to halt and reverse this downward trend.

A holistic approach
Feeding birds is definitely one way to help them at home. While using a man-made bird feeder is fun and relatively easy, there is a much safer, more appropriate and holistic method of feeding birds. Native plants.
Native plants provide nectar, seeds, and fruit and attract insects that native birds have naturally evolved to eat over millions of years. There are many native plants that are attractive to the eye and wallet as well as the bird and the bee. Since native plants are adapted to the soils and climate of the local area, they require little to no water and fertilizer maintenance, which makes them environmentally and economically friendly. Not only do native plants supply bird food, they also provide shelter from weather and predators as well as nesting spots and material, and shelter for chicks fresh out of the nest. A Coyote Bush, baccharis pilularis, could be a migratory or resident bird’s one-stop shopping spot. There are endless benefits to landscaping with native plants.

The predator-prey balance
Helping to maintain a healthy predator-prey balance is another way to help birds in your neighborhood. PRBO nest monitoring data indicates predation is the primary cause of nest failure and therefore the greatest barrier to avian productivity. Predation is a natural part of the food web and ecological systems, but the introduction of exotic or non-native predators or an imbalance in predator-prey numbers can have detrimental effects on bird populations. Some ways we can all help maintain healthy predator-prey relationships in our local ecosystems include keeping domestic cats indoors, especially during the breeding season (March through August), making sure you are not supplementing avian nest predator diet such as jays, crows, or ravens with pet food left outside or bird feeders, and keeping your dog on a leash, especially during the breeding season. If your home is near a beach, these responsible actions greatly help shorebirds, like the endangered beach-nesting Snowy Plover, to survive and reproduce and in open grassy fields where a variety of songbirds like sparrows nest on the ground.
Awareness is the key. It is important to be aware of the fact that, like it or not, everyone is a part of the natural ecosystem and actions always have an effect on our surrounding environment. Purchasing or borrowing some binoculars and a field guide and learning about the birds living in your neighborhood is a great place to start helping birds at home. Backyard landscaping with native plants, gaining awareness of birds’ needs, and being responsible pet owners are significantly effective ways to continue helping birds at home.
To learn more, join Lishka Arata Dec. 7 at 7pm at the Ray Miller Community Center, 216 E. School St., Cotati (behind Cotati City Hall) or visit www.prbo.org, and/or visit your local native plant nursery.