California’s Oak Woodlands: Tantalizing Tidbits about “Boring” Birds

Saturday Sep 24 2016   7:00 PM
Watsonville Civic Plaza  275 Main St, Watsonville, CA  map

Kate Marianchild doesn’t chase rare birds—she chases fascinating information about the so-called ordinary birds of California’s oak woodlands. If you think you already know everything worth knowing about oak titmice, acorn woodpeckers, or western bluebirds, you might be in for a surprise. Have you heard the lowdown on the birds that engage in simulated sex rituals every night? Do you know which baby birds buzz like bees to scare away predators? Or who defends oak mistletoe berries from other birds? Are you aware that one species relies on poison oak berries for seven months of the year—and collects spider webs with its tail? If you would like to know more about the marvelous survival strategies, behaviors, and social structures of various birds found in California’s signature ecosystem, you will adore this talk.

This event is part of the Twelfth Annual Monterey Bay Birding Festival. For the line-up of field trips and speakers, or for registration, go to

Kate MarianchildWhen Kate Marianchild migrated to the oak woodlands of inland Mendocino County in 2001, she promptly fell in love with an ecosystem. After writing for Audubon and other nature-oriented nonprofits for several years, she began the research that led to the writing of this book. Marianchild studied Chinese language and literature at UC Berkeley and New Asia College in Hong Kong, graduating Phi Beta Kappa from Berkeley with a degree in comparative literature. Following years of grassroots political activism, she moved to Mendocino County in 1980 and supported herself as a carpenter while founding and running Rising Tide Sea Vegetables, a company that is still thriving today under new ownership. For the past thirteen years she has lived in a cozy twenty-five-foot-diameter yurt with no indoor plumbing except a sink and a two-gallon hot water heater. In addition to watching wildlife, leading nature walks, and giving slide presentations, Marianchild sings with two community choirs, kayaks, swims, and participates in the events of her beloved community. (Kate Marianchild was known as Kathy Roberts before she changed her name to honor her deceased mother.)