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Seasons of Wildlife

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Take a virtual journey through the changing seasons at Anaho Island - let the birds be your guide!


    Pelicans on nests

    The yearly journey begins when colonial nesting birds return to the island in late February and early March. By April and May, the maximum number of American white pelicans, Double-crested Cormorants, California Gulls, and Great Blue Herons have arrived at Pyramid Lake. The breeding adult birds have formed pairs, found and defended nesting sites, constructed nests from minimal materials, and begin incubating their eggs. Some of the early birds are already tending to nestlings. The air around the island is busy with the chatter of comings and goings of parent birds as they scramble to gather food for rapidly growing, and very demanding chicks. 

    Other island inhabitants such as small mammals, reptiles and insects become more active as the days grow longer and temperatures warm.  


    Pelican chicks find summer shade

    Chicks are growing quickly, and the adult birds spend less time at the island tending young, returning only long enough to feed their insistent offspring. The chicks soon learn to move closer to the waters' edge where they begin to feed themselves in Pyramid Lake. By August, most of the chicks are flying and leave the island with the adults to forage in area ponds, lakes, canals or wherever fish might be easy to scoop from the surface.  The birds need to build up energy reserves for the long migration south. Once the birds leave Anaho, they will not return until the following Spring. 

    As the air temperatures rise during summer, the reptiles and rodents are more active in early morning and late afternoons, finding refuge in the shaded rocks, outcroppings and sparse bushes during the heat of the day.

  • FALL

    Fall at Anaho Island

    By September, very few colonial nesting birds remain at Anaho Island. Rodents and reptiles remain active until daytime temperatures cool below 60 degrees (F), which limits the availability of food and sends these furry and scaly residents underground or deep into rock crevices to wait for warmer, longer days.


    Winter calm Anaho Island

    Anaho Island is quiet during the winter as most resident wildlife are hibernating or estivating and the migratory birds are basking in the warmer winters of southern California, Mexico or as far as South America. As these locations become warmer and days lengthen, the birds will stage to begin their northward journey back to where they began, thus completing and beginning the circle of life.

Last Updated: Jul 15, 2015
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