With so much forest around, you can’t help but run across some of Plumas County’s wild creatures. Viewing wildlife in their natural habitat is one of the area’s best (and free) attractions. Deer, bald eagles and waterfowl are among the most popular and easy species to observe.
Each of the county’s lakes is home to at least one breeding pair of bald eagles, while Lake Almanor hosts the largest population of wintering eagles and osprey.
Mule and black-tailed deer are easy to spot throughout the county, but the big bucks can be found at the Dixie Mountain, Smith Peak and Mount Hough State Game Refuges located in the eastern and central parts of the county.
Two locations in Plumas County are part of the Watchable Wildlife national network of viewing sites, identified by the brown road sign with the white binoculars symbol.
The Antelope Lake-Indian Creek Wildlife Viewing Site, with its surrounding wet meadowlands, is an excellent place to see migratory waterfowl from April through November. Birds of prey and beaver can be seen year-round.
The Lake Davis Wildlife Viewing Site, also bordered by meadows and pines, offers nesting Canada geese, tundra swans, pelicans, bald eagles and ospreys, with best viewing in spring and fall. Deer and bats are also common.
Other forest creatures that are easily seen are coyotes, raccoons, squirrels, chipmunks and skunks.
Far more reclusive and harder to spot are the county’s population of black bears, bobcats and mountain lions, but trained observers can find their tracks. Remember that the best times to observe wildlife are at dawn or dusk. Use a pair of binoculars to extend your view, maintain a safe distance, move quietly and respect the wildlife.
A free brochure is available from the Plumas National Forest to assist you in the identification of wildlife. It covers the Lakes Basin, Bucks Lake, and Little Grass Valley Reservoir Recreation Areas. It includes listings of Insects, Amphibians, Fish, Mammals, Reptiles and Birds you might see in those areas.