Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Tag

During the winter months, Kathy and I can count on seeing magnificent bald eagles at the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Complex. This mature female was about to swoop down on a flock of unsuspecting coots. Photo by Steven T. Callan.

Saving a Place for Wildlife

During the winter months, Kathy and I can count on seeing magnificent bald eagles at the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Complex. This mature female was about to swoop down on a flock of unsuspecting coots. Photo by Steven T. Callan.

During the winter months, Kathy and I can count on seeing magnificent bald eagles at the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Complex. This mature female was about to swoop down on a flock of unsuspecting coots. Photo by author.

Late in November 1959, I was an eleven-year-old boy riding in the back seat of our family car as my father drove us north of Sacramento for the first time. I remember looking out the window and marveling at flocks of flying waterfowl and a vast landscape of wetlands, rice fields, grain fields, and open space—all the way to what was to be our new home in the tiny farming community of Orland. Today, as I drive north from Sacramento, I see miles and miles of orchards where not so much as a blade of grass is allowed to grow.

Pintails mingle with white-fronted geese at the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge. Photo by Steven T. Callan.

The Most Beautiful Duck in North America

Pintails mingle with white-fronted geese at the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge. Photo by Steven T. Callan.

Pintails mingle with white-fronted geese at the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge. All photos by author.

Ask any waterfowl enthusiast to name the most beautiful duck in North America, and he or she will most likely point to the brilliant, multicolored, drake wood duck (Aix sponsa). Others might claim that the iridescent green head of a drake mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) is hard to beat. For me, the graceful pose of a drake pintail (Anas acuta), with its long, slender neck and chocolate-brown head, places this species at the top of the list.

Waterfowl at Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge

For the Love of Ducks

Waterfowl at Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge

Waterfowl taking flight at Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge (NWR). Photo by author.

With the north wind blowing off snow-covered Mount Shasta, it was brutally cold that December afternoon in 1960. Sitting in the back seat of our family car, I spotted an enormous flock of snow-white birds feeding in the grain field on the west side of the highway.

Photo of Author Steven T. Callan at Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge

Author Event at Refuge Makes Hometown News!

Photo of Author Steven T. Callan at Sacramento National Wildlife RefugeWhat an honor it was to return to the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge for my author presentation and book signing last week. I enjoyed visiting this special place to speak with other wildlife enthusiasts about the importance of conserving our precious natural resources.   An added bonus was meeting Susan Meeker, a reporter for my hometown newspaper, the Glenn County Transcript.  Susan wrote a wonderful article, “Author Visits Wildlife Refuge in Willows,” for which I am very grateful.