Sandhill Crane Festival

Sunday Nov 05 2017   12:30 PM
Crete Hall, Hutchins Street Square  125 S Hutchins St, Lodi, CA  map

California’s oak woodlands are home at least 147 bird species, many of which are so common they are often dismissed as ordinary. But does the word “ordinary” apply to a species that constructs one of the most intricate nests in the world or the birds whose presence in California is a biogeographical mystery? What about the species whose members engage in simulated sex rituals every evening before bedtime?

Kate Marianchild, author of Secrets of the Oak Woodlands: Plants and Animals among California’s Oaks, will begin her talk with the history and ecological importance of the vast corridors of valley oak woodland that once lined Central Valley rivers. She will go on to discuss and depict the marvelous survival strategies, behaviors, and social structures of some of the “ordinary” birds found in oak woodlands throughout the state. Come hear fascinating details about the lives of wood ducks, woodpeckers, wrentits and more, and croak along with a marshful of frogs as Kate tells the story of the chorus frogs and the great blue heron.

Kate Marianchild lives in a yurt near Ukiah, surrounded by acorn woodpeckers, dusky-footed woodrats, and California newts, as well as manzanitas, buckeyes, and five kinds of oaks. When she is not giving talks, leading interpretive walks, or communing with nature, she swims, sings, camps, kayaks, and observes wildlife. More information, as well as the opportunity to purchase her book Secrets of the Oak Woodlands and close-focusing binoculars can be found at

Kate will be selling and signing her book before and after her presentation on Sunday at the Crane Festival. For more information, please click here.

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.)