For migrating birds, Merced County is paradise

Across a cornflower blue sky, the birds came in. They numbered in the thousands, in the tens of thousands. They were snow geese, their wings tipped with black, and they were headed for a special place on the Westside of Merced County, a place that has been their ancestral feeding place for millions of years.

They were headed for the wetlands that are maintained by sweat, hard work and water, especially water, on the Westside of the Valley.

The people who maintain those wetlands are federal employees, state employees, water district employees and local landowners. They make sure that the wetlands cater to the birds that need water to eat, breed and live. In mid-March, there are more than a million birds in western Merced County -- from ducks to shorebirds to songbirds, making the Westside their home.

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