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Introduction to Potawot
United Indian Health Services organization began in 1968 when Native Americans united to provide health care for their people. People from this organization acquired a 40 acre plot of land from the City of Arcata in California known as Potawot Health Village. Potawot began to construct in the 1990's. The people of Potawot restored the piece of land into having native plants, wetlands, wellness gardens, and a sanctuary for birds and other wildlife.
The land around the Village provides many opportunities for people to learn about the ecology, the traditional use of native plants, and other information pertaining to how to live a healthy lifestyle. The site has walking trails, interpretive signage, a basket garden, and is a venue for many cultural and environmental activities. Most importantly, "the restored landscape around the Village is intended to be a comfortable place for United Indian Health Services clients, and a place that fosters the healing of the mind, body and spirit." (United Indian Health Services)
Potawot has restored the landscape to not only be a place where humans can visit, but also where different species of wildlife can also visit. This includes birds of all species. The following information provides a short description of the different species of birds that can be found at Potawot. Some of the birds call this place home and others use this as a temporary spot to stop while traveling through on their migrations.
The following descriptions were provided by the Audobon Society and the images are from Eric Johnson which were taken at Potawot.
Birds of Prey
|American Kestral||9-12”. A jay-sized falcon. These birds are often seen hovering. Adult male has slate-blue wings. The female has rusty wings and back, both sexes have two black streaks in their face.||Schrill. killy-killy-killy||4-5 white or pinkish eggs, blotched with brown, placed without a nest or lining on a natural or man-made cavity.||Breeds from Alaska and Northwest Territories east through the Maritime Provinces and south throughout the North American continent.|
|Bald Eagle||30-31". Wing Span 6-7'. Large blackish eagle, with white head and tail, and a heavy yellow bill.||squeaky cackling and thin squeals||2-3 white eggs in massive nest of sticks in tall tree or on cliff.||All through Canada and United States.|
|Barn Owl: (Fig.1)||18”. Crow-sized. Buff brown above with white below, and a heart-shaped face and many dark dots on the lower half. Dark eyes and long legs.||Hissing notes, screams, grunts, and bill snapping. The young make rapid grackle-like clicks.||5-10 white eggs on bare wood or stone in buildings, hollow trees, caves, or even in boroughs.||Resides in Canada, United States, South America.|
|Kite (Also known as "White-Tailed" or "Black-Shouldered"): (Fig.2)||15-16". White with gray back. Younger birds have brown streaks. Small and graceful.||keep-keep-keep! whistle or long kreep!||4-5 brown spotted, white eggs in tall trees near water.||California, Arizona, S. Texas, and Central America.|
|Osprey||21-24". Wing span 4'-6'. They are a large, long winged fish hawk. Brown above and white below.||loud musical chirping||2-4 white pink or buff eggs blotched with brown. Found in bulky mass in tree or on rocks.||Alaska, through North Central Canada down to Arizona and New Mexico.|
|Red-Shouldered Hawk||16-24". Wing span 3' 4". Large long winged hawk with white barring on dark wings.||shrill scream like kee-yeear! with downward inflection||2-3 white eggs spotted with brown found in forest tree.||Minnesota east to New Brunswick, south to the gulf coast, and along the pacific coast.|
|Red-tailed Hawk||18-25". Wing span 4'. Large, stocky Hawk.||High pinched descending scream with a horse quality. Keeeeer!||2-3 white eggs spotted brown, in a bulky nest in the top of a tree or on ridge.||N. America, Alaska to Nova Scotia.|
|Sharp-shinned Hawk||10-14". Wing span 21". Fast, long, skinny, short round wings. Adults slate-gray top, pale below, rusty colored barring. The young are brown with whitish spots.||kik-kik-kik-kik! or squeal!||4-5 white eggs with brown spots in dense forest.||Alaska to Newfoundland, California, New Mexico, and the U.S. southeast Coast.|
Bitterns and Herons
|American Bittern||23-34". Medium sized brown heron.||Loud pumping sound oong-Ka-chunk! Flight call Kok-Kok!||2-6 buff or olive buff placed on platform of reeds in marsh.||All over U.S. and Canada|
|Black-crowned Night Heron: (Fig.3)||23-28”, wing span 3’8”. Medium sized, short and stocky. Black crown and black back. Grey wings and white underparts. Black, short bill, pink/yellow legs. Plumes appear on back during breeding season.||loud, barking kwok! Quawk! In the evening or night time. Harsh calls.||3-5 blue/green eggs found in thicket or reeds, rarely put into trees.||Pacific Coast through Canada and US. Mid-western states, and east coast of U.S. Not found in Rockies.|
|Cattle Egret||20”. Small, white stocky heron. Pale yellow legs as well as short yellow bill. The yellow bill makes it unique.||Croaks!||3-5 pale blue eggs in bush or sometimes in trees.||California, east to Great Lakes, gulf coast states and into the tropics.|
|Great Blue Heron||39-52". Wing Span 5'10". Large grayish blue bird with yellow bill. Flies with neck folded, different from crane since they fly with neck straight.||Raspy Squawk!||3-7 green/blue eggs in sticks in trees or ground. Often nests with other species of herons.||Throughout U.S.|
|Great Egret||35-41". Wing Span 4'7". White with yellow bill, and black legs. During breeding season the Egret has plumage.||Croak! Squawks!||3-5 pale blue green eggs in sticks in trees. Often with other species of herons.||Oregon to Mexico, East Coast of U.S., Texas, and Mid-West.|
|Snowy Egret||20-27". Wing Span 3'2". White heron with black bill, long skinny black legs and yellow feet. During breeding season they have long lacy plumes on their head and back. Young look similar, but have yellow lines going up the back of their legs.||harsh squeak.||3-5 pale bluish green eggs in sticks or on ground. Often nest with other species of herons.||Oregon to California, Arizona, Virginia, W. Indies and S. America.|
|Anna's Hummingbird||3.5-4". Medium size, metallic green on top, male has rose crown. Female has a red spotted throat.||Sharp chip, and rapid chee-chee!||2 white eggs in tiny woven cup in twigs.||Pacific coast.|
Jays, Crows, Magpies
|Common Crow (American Crow)||17-21". Black and smaller than raven, with a fan shaped tail.||caw-caw!||4-6 light green eggs with dark brown spots. Found in nest of trees.||All through U.S. and into Southern Canada in winter.|
|Common Raven||21-27". Black, larger than Crows and wedge-shaped tail. Soars in flight.||wonk-wonk! deep.||4-7 light green eggs with brown spots. Found in nest in trees.||Western states and all throughout Canada. Georgia and Great Lakes. Europe, Asia, and N. Africa.|
|American Goldfinch||4.5-5”. Male bright yellow with white tail. Black head with white edges and black wings and a tail with yellow on the wings. Female dull and gray with black wings.||per-chick-o-ree.||4-5 pale blue eggs in grass nest in shrubs.||All over U.S.|
|Ash-throated Flycatcher: (Fig.4)||8". Dull olive color above and yellow below.||Purreeeer!||4-5 brown-spotted, creamy white eggs in a nest, found in a tree or cactus hole.||Southeast of U.S.|
|Belted Kingfisher||13" pigeon sized bird. Bluish gray above and white below. Bushy crest and dagger like bill.||Loud penetrating raddle.||5-8 white in an unlined chamber at the end of a tunnel up to eight feet long or dug sand/gravel bank.||All through U.S. and Canada.|
|Black Phoebe||6-7”. Slate black except for white belly, under tail coverts, and outer tail feathers. Easy identifiers are its erect posture, tail-wagging, insectivorous.||A thin buzzy “pi-tsee” song, usually repeated. Call is a sharp, down-slurred chip.||3-6 white eggs, with a few faint speckles, in a mud, moss, and grass nest lined with soft material. Nest could be in a crevice, old building, or among hanging roots near the top of an embankment close to water.||Northern California and South and east to west Texas. Also in the Tropics.|
|Brewer's Black Bird||8-10". Robin sized bird. Male is solid black with purplish blue iridescent head and yellow eyes. Female gray with dark eyes.||gurgles, squawks, whistles!||3-5 gray eggs with dark brown spots located in coarse grass place on ground.||All over western region and south into Florida and Carolinas.|
|Brown Headed Cow Bird||6-8". Male is black with glossy brown head. Female plain gray brown. Finch like bill.||Squeaky gurgles, call is check!||4-5 white eggs lightly speckled with brown laid one at a time in nest of other song birds.||All over U.S. and western Canada|
|Northern Bullocks Oriole||7-8.5". Male black head, back wings and tail, orange rump, shoulder patch, and breast. Female is olive brown with dull yellow underparts.||clear flute like whistle single or double notes in short distinct phrases.||4-6 grey eggs spotted with brown, nest is suspended from the tip end of a branch||All throughout U.S. except southeast.|
|Purple Finch||5.5-6.5”. Medium sized. Male has reddish head and off white below, streaked wings with white and brown. Female has white stripe behind eyes, dark stripe on jaw, and a streaked chest.||Musical warble. Tick while in flight.||4-5 bluish/green eggs, with dark brown spot on one end. Found in grasses and twigs in conifer trees.||Breeds throughout Canada from west to east coast. Also in California, then east of the mid-western states of the US.|
|Red-winged Crossbill||5 1/4- 6 1/2". Sparrow sized, mandibles cross at tip.||chipa-chipa-chipa!, chee-chee-chee! sharp kip-kip-kip!||3-4 pale blue green eggs, lightly spotted brown in a nest at end of conifer branch.||Southern Alaska, all of Canada, down to Nicaragua.|
|Red-winged Blackbird||7-9.5". Male: Black with bright red shoulders. Female: Streaked with light and dark shades of brown.||o-ka-leeee!||3-5 pale blue eggs, spotted with shades of purple and brown in marsh grass.||All throughout United States and Canada.|
|Vaux's Swift||4-4 1/2". Tiny swift, dark overall, with dingy whiter under spots.||bat like chirping||3-5 white eggs in a nest of small sticks in hollow tree.||Southern Alaska, Montana, to central California.|
Sparrows and Allies
|Dark-eyed Junco||5-6.25”. Mostly gray overall, with a reddish-brown back||Ringing metallic trill on the same pitch.||3-6 pale bluish or greenish eggs, with variegated blotches concentrated at the larger end. Nest site is shreds of bark, twigs, and mosses lines with soft material, placed on the ground, protected by a rock ledge or other debris.||Throughout Canada and south into Mexico for winters. Found all over N. America.|
|Golden-crowned Sparrow||6-7". Male gold crown, bordered with wide black cap. Dusky bill, brown above.||Songs consists of 3 descending plaintive notes sounding like oh, dear me! tseet! chink!||4-5 bluish, speckled eggs well hidden in a dense weed clump.||Pacific Coast|
|House Sparrow||5-6 1/2". Male has black throat, white cheeks, chestnut nape, gray crown and rump. Female streaked with brown above, and dingy white above.||Shrill, monotonous, noisy chirping||5-6 white eggs, lightly speckled with brown found in a loose mass of grass, in a man-made or natural cavity.||All over N. America, Southern Canada.|
|Savannah Sparrow||4 1/2-6". Pale and streaked yellowish eyebrow and pinkish legs.||se-e-e-srr!||4-6 pale blue-green eggs, variably spotted with dark brown in a cup of grass.||Alaska east to Labrador, south into New Jersey. Pacific coast and Northern Mexico.|
|Song Sparrow||5-7". Heavy brown streaking on white underparts, with prominent central breast spot||Madge-Madge-Madge! sometimes interpreted as put-on-your-tea-kettle-ettle-ettle!||3-6 pale greenish-white eggs, in well hidden grassy cup, placed in a bush.||All throughout U.S. and southern Canada.|
|White-crowned Sparrow||6-7 1/2". Slender, crown has bold black and white stripes, with pink bill.||Short clear whistles followed by buzzy notes.||3-5 pale green eggs, thickly spotted with brown, in grass, twigs on or near ground.||Alaska to Manitoba, east to Newfoundland. Pacific coast and southern U.S.|
|Barn Swallow||5-8". Small, dark blue, and rusty.||Chattering and twittering.||4-6 brown spotted white eggs. Often found in mud and grass in rafters of buildings.||All over U.S. and into Canada.|
|Violet-green Swallow||5-5 1/2". Dark, metallic, bronze-green upper parts, and white under parts.||high dee-chip! tweet! notes||4-5 white eggs in a grass and feather nest in a hole.||Pacific Coast east to Texas and Dakotas.|
Water Birds (Swans, Geese, Ducks)
|Bufflehead||13-15". Small chubby duck. Male is largely white with black back, head with purplish gloss. Female all dark with single whitish patch on cheek.||Male squeaky whistle and female soft hoarse quack.||6-12 pale buff eggs in a mass of down placed in wood pecker hole.||Canada's east coast and southern into the U.S.|
|Canada Goose||22-26" to 35-45". Brown with black heads, white spot on cheeks when adult.||Honking||4-8 white eggs in grassy nest on ground near water.||All over the U.S. and Canada.|
|Common Merganser||Male: 22-27". Green head. Thin, long, red bill. More vibrantly colored than female.
Female: 22-27". Red/Brown head. White throat. Grayish, dull colored body.
|Croaks!||9-12 pale/ivory eggs in trees||Throughout U.S. and Canada.|
|Mallard||18-27". Male: Metallic wings shades of blue and purple. Green head with white ring around neck, gray body and cinnamon colored chest. Female: Brown streaks body and brown bill.||Female quacks. Male more quit.||8-10 green eggs in down lined nest. Sometimes in trees or away from water.||California, N. New Mexico, Great Lakes, Northeast, Georgia. Also in Canada, E. Alaska, Manitoba, Newfoundland.|
Works Sited and Related Sites
Johnson, Eric. E-mail: List of Birds. 10/21/08
Knopf, Alfred A. National Audobon Society Field Guide to North American Birds: Western Region. Chanticleer Press, Inc. 1998.
United Indian Health Services . 10/19/08.