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Davis, California

Friday, April 19, 2024

Yolo Basin Foundation hosts its 17th annual Duck Days

The Yolo Basin Foundation held its annual California Duck Days, a wetlands festival, this weekend. There was an opening gala event on Friday night and the festival itself was this past Saturday.

The event took place at Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area Headquarters on Chiles Road, adjacent to the 80 freeway. This was the 17th year Duck Days has been held. According to the foundation’s Executive Director Robin Kulakow, there is a bigger turnout every year.

In attendance were a multitude of families with several young children in tow. There were also college volunteers, photographers and just general everyday people looking to enjoy a temperate, placid day outside of the city. Duck calls were abundant as children milled about, marveling over everything the festival had to offer.

There were a variety of activities to participate in at the event, including two fishing spots filled with roughly 50 trout released by the California Department of Fish and Game. Wildlife Program Manager Greg Martinelli said that seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces was the most fulfilling aspect of volunteering. He was happy to be bringing in the “next generation of fisher people.”

Jack, a young boy trying his hand at fishing for the first time, said that he thought the event was pretty cool, before returning his focus to the fishing pole.

Nearby, grandparents Jane and John Bower had taken their grandchildren Jango and Sophia out to Duck Days. While John concentrated on trying to land a trout, Jane said, “My husband’s a fisherman, but he’s still having trouble catching anything!” Luckily, young Sophia had already caught a trout earlier in the day.

There were also field trips being held throughout the day to a variety of places around the Davis area including the Putah Creek Dam, Conaway Ranch and Hedgerow Farms. Lastly, there was an exhibit area in the back housing a menagerie of workshops showcasing decoy duck carving, painting, tying flies for fly fishing and various other arts and crafts. Jim Brucio, who has been carving ducks for 38 years, spent time at the duck decoy carving station at the event.

“It’s always [about] learning,” Brucio said. “In fact, I go on campus to the vertebrate zoology lab where they have trays of birds and I measure them … so I use the campus to keep my learning going.”

Kulakow said it’s a great way to educate and inspire people about the wetlands.

Duck Days is held annually on the weekend following Presidents Day weekend.

ANDREW POH can be reached city@theaggie.org.

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