Special Status Birds

Three of the Special-Status bird species can be considered common breeders on the Mitsui property: the oak titmouse, Cooper’s hawk, and Nuttall’s woodpecker. Less common, but regular, breeders are the grassland species: grasshopper sparrow and horned lark.

Oak titmouse (Baeolphus inornatus)Cooper’s hawk (Accipiter cooperi), and Nuttall’s woodpecker (Picoides nuttalli) are all known to breed on the property. Oak titmice frequent all woodland and forested areas of the ranch. Nuttall’s woodpeckers are found in the oak woodlands and riparian treelines on the property; at least one individual appears to be resident near the ranch-house compound. Although distant from dense, urban habitation, the Mitsui property offers mixed deciduous woodlands habitat attractive to Cooper’s hawks. At least two individuals have been sighted on the wooded fringes of the pastures immediately east of the main entry gate.

Horned lark (Eremophila alpestris actiaTen to 15 adult horned larks are resident in the High Knolls Pasture between the corrals and Leaky Lake. Less often, they can be found along the road between the residence and the 85-Acres Pasture. The flock grows slightly in fall with the addition of young of the year. They prefer bare ground or ground that is sparsely covered with grasses.

Yellow warbler (Dendroica petechia brewsteriAn adult pair of yellow warblers visited the ranch house area in June 2010. These birds inhabit riparian areas, which are continuous along Copeland Creek, but no nests or juvenile young have been sighted.

Golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos)great blue heron (Ardea herodias), and northern harrier (Circus cyaneus) are uncommon but regular visitors. None of these species breeds on the Mitsui property. Great blue herons hunt ponds, creek pools, and grasslands for frogs, aquatic insects, mice, voles, and grasshoppers. Golden eagles hunt wide areas primarily for ground squirrels, rabbits, and hares. (Ground squirrels are uncommon on the Mitsui property, which may be why golden eagles are uncommon here). Northern harriers hunt and nest in open grasslands and marshes, and are occasional visitors in the winter.