You won’t believe how the sound of this forest has changed

October 23rd, 2014 · by Garrison Frost

Bernie Kraus is a bio-accoustician who records and studies natural sounds. Check out this KQED story about how he has recorded the same patch of forest in Northern California over time and found dramatic changes in the sounds he hears. You won’t believe your ears.


Categories: Audubon California · Bird conservation · Bird Habitat · Birding · Conservation research

Add shorebirds and seabirds to those benefiting from Prop. 1

October 23rd, 2014 · by Garrison Frost



While Proposition 1 on the November ballot will help birds of all types throughout the state, two types of birds that you might not expect to benefit from a water bond stand to gain a great deal. Shorebirds and seabirds – including endangered or imperiled species – will directly benefit from funding to state agencies that oversee coastal restoration and marine fisheries. Among the birds that stand to gain the most include shorebirds such as the threatened Western Snowy Plover (top image by Len Blumin), rocky intertidal species such as the Black Oystercatcher, and marine birds such as the Brown Pelican (bottom, by Michael McCarthy).

Tell us that you’re voting for the birds this Election Day.

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Categories: Audubon California · Birding · Salton Sea · State Policy · Water issues

Map animates Salton Sea shrinkage

October 23rd, 2014 · by Daniela Ogden


The Los Angeles Times created an animated map that shows the slow decline of the Salton Sea over the past decades. While once a huge resource for California birds, the recent drought and redirection of water resources have made a huge dent in the amount of suitable habitat. Find the map here.


Categories: Important Bird Areas · Infographics · Salton Sea

Stupid bird humor

October 23rd, 2014 · by Daniela Ogden



Categories: stupid bird humor

Olivia: global warming and the Common Raven

October 22nd, 2014 · by Garrison Frost

The Common Raven is one of the 314 North American birds predicted to be heavily impacted by global warming, a fact that caught Olivia Winslow from the Audubon Center at Debs Park’s Arroyo Green Team as particularly harrowing:


Categories: Audubon California · Audubon Center at Debs Park · Bird L.A. · Birding · Climate Change · Global Warming · National Audubon Society

Pelican Dreams showing around the country

October 21st, 2014 · by Garrison Frost

You may have heard us talk about Judy Irving and her wonderful documentary film project, Pelican Dreams. It’s a great movie about the compelling subject of the California Brown Pelican. Please take a look at the calendar on the movie’s website and find a showing near you. Here’s the trailer:

Pelican DreamsTrailer from Shadow Distribution on Vimeo.


Categories: Audubon California · Birding · seabirds · Video · Wildlife photos and video

Codependent evolution gave rise to long-tubed flowers and hummingbirds

October 21st, 2014 · by Daniela Ogden


Species often repeat each other when in the same geography. This is called codependent evolution and it is the reason, scientists believe, that hummingbirds have long bills and the flowers they feed on nectar from have long corrollas (the inner whorl of floral leaves of a flower). Researchers from Ludwig Maximilian University  examined the DNA of Sword-billed Hummingbirds, a South American species that is the only species known to have a bill longer than the length of its body, and the DNA of passionflowers, a striking species that comes in hundreds of varieties. Scientists discovered passionflowers evolved after the hummingbird,10.7 million years ago. From that point on the two evolved together and could be found in the same geographic locations.  [Read more →]


Categories: Science

Our failed promise to Central Valley birds

October 20th, 2014 · by Garrison Frost

We spoken many times in this space about the 1992 Central Valley Project Improvement Act and the need to provide water for these vital wetland habitats. We took a closer look at how well these refuges have fared this year, and it doesn’t look good. We simply haven’t delivered the water we’ve promised.



Categories: Audubon California · Water issues

Baltimore Orioles and global warming

October 20th, 2014 · by Garrison Frost

In this video, Diego Zapata talks about how the Baltimore Oriole launched his love of birds, and how he intends to help the bird survive the challenges of global warming where he lives in Los Angeles. Zapata is a member of the Audubon Center at Debs Park Arroyo Green Team, a group of young people who learn about their local environment and volunteer on a variety of teaching and conservation activities.


Categories: Audubon California · Audubon Center at Debs Park · Bird L.A. · Birding · Climate Change · Global Warming · Nature education and activities

The birds need you to vote for them

October 20th, 2014 · by Garrison Frost


Tell us that you’re voting for the birds this Election Day.


Categories: Audubon California · State Policy · Water issues

Audubon Bobcat Ranch slowly making its way back from July 4 fire

October 19th, 2014 · by Garrison Frost

Above is a short video report from Cari Koopman Rivers, who manages the Audubon Bobcat Ranch, just outside of Winters. The fire she is talking about is the Monticello Fire that swept over more than half of the ranch’s 6,800 acres on July 4 of this year. Since then, Koopman Rivers has not only been working hard to get the property back in the business (it is a working ranch, after all), but also monitoring how the property’s flora and fauna bounce back from the fire. It was amazing how quickly plants started coming back within days of the fire, particularly the native grasses.


Categories: Audubon California · Audubon California Bobcat Ranch · Bird Habitat · Working lands conservation

It’s Time for Arctic Refuge Wilderness

October 17th, 2014 · by Beth Peluso

American Golden-Plover and Nest by Thomas Rothe, US Fish & Wildlife ServiceThis year, we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, which has protected millions of acres of our most cherished landscapes. Yet one of the most wild and astonishing places in America is still in desperate need of the Act’s protection – the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

The Arctic Refuge is a haven for birds. More than 150 species, including the American Golden-Plover, from six continents and all fifty states travel thousands of miles to nest on the Arctic Refuge coastal plain to take advantage of the pristine habitat and bountiful foraging. But oil and gas interests continue to push to drill in the heart of the Refuge. Drilling would eliminate and damage nesting habitat while worsening climate change, which threatens to upend the fragile Arctic ecosystem.

Send a letter to President Obama and ask him to help permanently protect the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.


Categories: Arctic · Audubon Alaska · Climate Change · How to help birds

The captain has turned on the fasten your seatbelt sign

October 15th, 2014 · by Daniela Ogden


How do birds navigate the skies when they encounter turbulence? A new study from Oxford University poses an answer to this question. Researchers gave a captive steppe eagle its own flight recorder backpack – a 75g black box incorporating GPS that also measured acceleration, rotation rate, and airspeed – and recorded it soaring over the Brecon Beacons in Wales.

An analysis of data from 45 flights revealed that in windy conditions the eagle would collapse its wings in response to particularly strong gusts rather than hold them out stiffly as an aircraft would. During these ‘wing tucks’, the bird’s wings were briefly (for around 0.35 seconds) folded beneath its body so that it was effectively ‘falling’. The results suggest that these ‘wing tucks’ may occur up to three times a minute in some conditions. [Read more →]


Categories: Science

Another illustration of drought’s impact on birds

October 15th, 2014 · by Garrison Frost



Categories: Audubon California · Bird Habitat · State Policy · Water issues

Prop. 1 will help us keep our promise to Central Valley birds

October 14th, 2014 · by Garrison Frost


If you’ve been reading this blog for any amount of time, you will have seen us talk about the failed promise of water to the 19 Central Valley refuges identified in the Central Valley Project Improvement Act. Put simply, in 1992, Congress recognized that the conversion of the Central Valley into the agricultural engine that it is had implications for wildlife habitat that needed to be addressed. So it passed the Central Valley Project Improvement Act that year which, among other things, required that 19 state and federal wildlife refuges get the minimum amount of water to support birds and other wildlife.


Since 1992, however, we have failed to keep that promise year after year. The graph above tells the story. Not only is that water taken for other priorities, but in many cases, the infrastructure doesn’t exist to transport the water where we need it. Proposition 1 on the Nov. 4 ballot will provide funding not only for water, but also fund the creation of some infrastructure to get water where the birds need it. Vote for the birds this Election Day.

photo at top is of the San Luis National Wildlife Refuge by USFWS



Categories: Audubon California · Bird conservation · Bird Habitat · State Policy · Water issues