Important Bird Areas

Cape Mendocino Grasslands

California

This area supports one of the largest expanses of grassland in northwestern California, reached via a long, sinuous road west from Hwy. 101. Bounded by the King Range Wilderness Area (a.k.a. The Lost Coast, BLM) to the south, the ownership of this IBA is almost entirely private, with most of the land in two large holdings of long-time ranching families. About 10% of the area, including remnant patches of Douglas-Fir forest, is controlled by timber companies.

Ornithological Summary

In addition to an exceptionally rich and diverse wintering raptor community, the Cape Mendocino grasslands support colonies of nesting Grasshopper Sparrows and Horned Larks, both regionally rare breeders. This is one of the few reliable places in northwestern California mentioned by Harris (1996) for Long-eared Owl, which occur in fall. Offshore rocks in the area (incl. False Cape Rocks, Sugarloaf Island and Steamboat Rock) support a diverse breeding seabird colony, including over 20,000 Common Murre, which represented nearly 10% of the state's nesting population in the late 1980s (Carter et al. 1992).

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Conservation Issues

None at this time

Ownership

Bounded by the King Range Wilderness Area (a.k.a. ?The Lost Coast?, BLM) to the south, the ownership of this IBA is almost entirely private, with most of the land in two large holdings of long-time ranching families. About 10% of the area, including remnant patches of Douglas-Fir forest, is controlled by timber companies.

Habitat

About 10% of the area, including remnant patches of Douglas-Fir forest, is controlled by timber companies. The Cape Mendocino grasslands support colonies of nesting Grasshopper Sparrows and Horned Larks, both regionally rare breeders. Offshore rocks in the area (incl. False Cape Rocks, Sugarloaf Island and Steamboat Rock) support a diverse breeding seabird colony.