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Mammoth, California

Mono Lake

Kayaking among the Tufa towers
Kayaking among the Tufa Towers.
Kayaking on Mono Lake

Mono Lake has no outlet. Natural salts are washed into the lake, but they are left behind when water evaporates.

1. What makes Mono Lake so special?

2. The California gull is what type of migrant?

3. Why is Mono Lake important to wildlife in both North and South America?

Answers are below.

Answers

1. What makes Mono Lake so special?
It is so salty that fish cannot survive here. But, algae, brine shrimp and a brine fly larve thrive. This creates a bird paradise with an abundant food supply without competition from fish. Almost 300 species of birds have been sighted here, and the lake is very important to migrating birds. Most interestingly, 85% of the state's California Gulls come here to nest.

2. The California gull is what type of migrant?
The California gulls belong to a group of birds classified as short distance migrants. These birds arrive in late winter to breed, nest, and fledge their young and then head to the southwestern US or northern Mexico for the winter. These short distance migrants are the largest number of bird species to be found here and include robins, finches, sparrows, pelicans, plovers, grebes, and sandpipers.

3. Why is Mono Lake important to wildlife in both North and South America?
Mono Lake is on the Pacific Flyway, the name for a broad north-south bird migration path, the Eastern Sierras is also visited by numerous bird species categorized as long distance migrants. These birds will migrate from as far north as Alaska in the Summer to as far south as South America in the Winter. These include many colorful species such as tangers, orioles, grosbeaks, warblers, flycatchers, phalaropes, and swallows.

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