Tricolored Blackbird colony update

April 16th, 2014 · by Daniela Ogden

Thank you again for your generosity and continued interest in the threatened colony of 50,000 Tricolored Blackbirds.

Your contribution has helped delay the harvesting of the field with the Tricolored Blackbird colony until early May while negotiations continue. This should allow enough time for the colony’s young to successfully fledge and for us to reach a financial agreement.

Audubon California and heroes like you have come a long way toward saving this colony, but we still need to come to a final agreement with this landowner before we can claim success.

Our work to protect Tricolored Blackbirds around the state continues. This weekend, we’re launching a statewide Tricolored Blackbird survey with UC Davis. Expert birders will help us determine an accurate count of just how many of these rare birds remain. We encourage you to follow them as they track down colonies. We will be posting to our Instagram account (audubonca) and on Twitter (@audubonca).

Warm regards,

Meghan Hertel
Working Lands Program Director


Categories: Tricolored Blackbird · Working lands conservation

Don’t trim trees in the spring

April 16th, 2014 · by Garrison Frost


Trees are full of nests in the spring, so a way better time to trim is in the fall.


Categories: Audubon California · Bird Habitat

Birders arriving in droves to see Marsh Sandpiper in Solano County

April 12th, 2014 · by Garrison Frost

The rare arrival of a Marsh Sandpiper to California is big news to birders in this state and beyond. The bird, which is native to Europe and Asia, arrived here a few days ago and has attracted a ton of attention. It’s also lighting up all the birding listservs. The American Birding Association blog has more details. But also check out this great video taken yesterday by the unstoppable Keith Hansen below:


Categories: Audubon California · Birding

Audubon California displeased by Coastal Commission’s ruling on Monterey Shores Eco-resort

April 11th, 2014 · by Daniela Ogden

plover nest for blog

California’s birds and wildlife suffered a huge setback today. The California Coastal Commission approved the development of a large hotel and condominium complex sited on beach and dune habitat on Monterey Bay in Sand City. The developer calls this 360-unit complex, with parking for almost 1,000 cars, the “Monterey Shores Eco-resort.”

The pacific coast population of Western Snowy Plovers, a federally threatened species, nest and raise their broods here. In fact, yesterday a three egg plover nest (seen in the photo above) was discovered and confirmed by biologists in the footprint of the proposed resort.

“The California Coastal Commission failed the public today,” said Audubon California Coastal Program Director Andrea Jones. “The process of approving this project, which has been going on for 15 years, went against the very intent of the Coastal Act by ruling in favor of the destruction of Snowy Plover and coastal dune habitat.” [Read more →]


Categories: Audubon Chapters · Audubon Watchlist · Bird conservation · Endangered Species Act · Federal Policy · Local Policy · Western Snowy Plover

Update on Tricolored Blackbird emergency

April 11th, 2014 · by Daniela Ogden

Here is the latest from our Working Lands Program Director:

Thank you so much for your tremendous support and continued interest in the at-risk colony of 50,000 Tricolored Blackbirds. Here is the latest update:

We asked you to contribute toward an ambitious goal of $40,000 in 24 hours and your response astounded us! You have inspired us and you’ve demonstrated the power of our network of bird lovers and advocates.

The donations we received from you and others last week exceeded our goal, but we still don’t know how much it will ultimately cost to save this colony and here is why — as we speak, agencies are working hard to find a solution that helps this landowner overcome challenges due to this difficult drought year, but also protects this huge colony of this rare species. The funds you raised are critical to that discussion and will play an important role in saving Tricolored Blackbirds in the coming days.

While negotiations continue, you should know that you and your fellow bird heroes have made a real difference. Because of the response of this community, state and federal agencies, and other stakeholders, the colony remains safe and will not be harvested pending negotiations but we’re not out of the woods yet. [Read more →]


Categories: Tricolored Blackbird · Water issues · Working lands conservation

State drought operations plan will be painful for all — including the birds

April 10th, 2014 · by Garrison Frost


Great piece in today’s Sacramento Bee by Matt Weiser about the state’s operations plan for water during the drought. Short version: everyone is going to be feeling the pain. Great input by Audubon California’s Brigid McCormack highlighting the importance of water for the 19 Central Valley refuges that provide vital habitat for millions of migrating birds. (photo of the Kern National Wildlife Refuge by Linda Tanner)


Categories: Audubon California · Bird Habitat · Water issues

Water for refuges remains in key water bond bill

April 10th, 2014 · by Garrison Frost


Following about two weeks of doubt, Audubon California has now learned that — thanks in large part to the Audubon network in California — language requiring the state to fulfill its promise to provide water for the Central Valley’s 19 wildlife refuges has survived in one of the legislatures key water bond bills. Prior to a March 25 hearing before the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee, we had heard of an ongoing effort to remove the requirement from Assembly Bill 1331, a move that could have jeopardized water for these vital bird habitats. Activists working through Audubon and other conservation organizations sent thousands of communications to the members of the committee, and offered great testimony at the hearing. And those efforts appear to have paid off.

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Categories: Audubon California · Bird Habitat · Water issues

Spring migration in the city

April 10th, 2014 · by Brigid McCormack


The sudden flash of yellow in the tree outside the Daly City BART station stopped me in my tracks.

I’d been hustling from the parking lot to catch my 8:30 train — who knows what going through my head: a meeting, a lunch, a conference call, another meeting. But all that was erased completely by what I soon ascertained was a Townsend’s Warbler hopping from branch to branch in this skeletal bit of parking lot landscaping.

The bird gave me a few seconds to marvel at it, and then blasted off. A speck against the gray sky, and then gone.

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Categories: Audubon California · Birding · Brigid McCormack · S.F. Bay · spring migration

San Joaquin River named America’s most endangered river

April 9th, 2014 · by Garrison Frost


California’s San Joaquin River tops the 2014 list of America’s most endangered rivers released today by American Rivers. The San Joaquin River is California’s second largest river, running 350 miles from its headwaters in the southern Sierra Nevada to its meeting with the Sacramento River in the San Francisco Bay-Delta. It is a river with a glorious past and a great future. It is an incredible California resource that deserves our support.

Audubon California supports the restoration of the San Joaquin River because it will provide water for farms and a healthy river for Central Valley communities to enjoy, as well as a place for wildlife to thrive. Audubon California has been working with a number of local chapters and other partners to build support for the San Joaquin River Restoration Project through the “I’m for the River” campaign.

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Categories: Audubon California · Bird Habitat · San Joaquin River

Stupid bird humor

April 7th, 2014 · by Daniela Ogden



Categories: stupid bird humor

April 12: Volunteer day at Kern River Preserve

April 7th, 2014 · by Daniela Ogden


Kern River Preserve’s Redtailed Hawk Trail looks great with blooming bush lupine, poppies and Fay Creek is running. Come to the work party this Saturday April 12. Preserve Manager Reed will lead a hike to Fay Creek after lunch. Spring is going to be short in the Kern Valley due to the dry conditions so get out while it lasts.

When: Saturday, April 12, 8:00 am
Where: The Alexander Restoration Site on Fay Ranch Road, 1/3 mi. north of Hwy 178 in Weldon.
What: We will be planting native shrubs, grasses and trees on 24 acres of formerly cultivated floodplain along the South Fork Kern River. Our goal is to enhance habitat for a variety of wildlife species including San Emigdio Blue butterfly, Loggerhead Shrike, Summer Tanager and Southwestern Pond Turtle.
What to bring: Bring food, water, gloves; wear long sleeves & pants, work shoes or boots. The preserve will supply the tools.

Contact the Kern River Preserve Land Steward, Sean Rowe at srowe {at} audubon(.)org or (760) 378-2531 to RSVP.


Categories: Kern River Preserve · Volunteer

Forage species poised for enhanced protection on the west coast

April 5th, 2014 · by Anna Weinstein

common murre octopi


Common Murre with a baby octopus, northern California.

Most of you have heard of sardine, anchovy, and herring- the small fish that sustain our coastal and pelagic seabirds and other marine wildlife. Turns out, there are many other species of “forage fish” such as squid, saury, smelt, sand lance and even octopi that can be just as important for seabirds. Federal fisheries managers with control over fishing in the vast federal waters of California, Oregon and Washington will meet next week and consider options to enhance protections for these lesser-known prey—and the Audubon network will be there to advocate on behalf of our seabirds.

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Categories: seabirds · Uncategorized

April 19th: Come volunteer at Bobcat Ranch

April 4th, 2014 · by Daniela Ogden

We will be removing posts and fencing from an older restoration site on Maxwell Flat, a beautifully restored savanna on Yolo County’s Bobcat Ranch. We will then use the salvaged materials to protect newer plantings in the dry creek area near the ranch headquarters.

When: Saturday April 19th
Time: 9:00 am
Where: Audubon California Bobcat Ranch
29529 CR 34
Winters, Ca 95694

What to bring:
• Snacks/lunch
• Drinking Water
• Closed-toe foot and long pants
• Hat, Sunscreen and Gloves

Please RSVP to ckoopmann {at} audubon(.)org for directions.

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Categories: Audubon California Bobcat Ranch · Volunteer

Update on Tricolored Blackbird colony in distress

April 4th, 2014 · by Daniela Ogden

To clarify, we did succeed in raising $40,000 (woohoo!) but we still don’t know how much it will ultimately cost to save this colony. We are also making agreements with other farmers who have colonies. All funds raised will go to Tricolored Blackbird conservation. We hope to know more soon. Thank you again for your support.


We sent the word out that we needed to save a Tricolored Blackbird colony that contained a quarter of the bird’s global population. Boy, was that message heard loud and clear. We are so impressed by the traction this story has. Here is an update on the situation from our Working Lands Program:

Roughly 24 hours ago, we sent an appeal to you requesting immediate assistance to save a Tricolored Blackbird colony at risk of being harvested. Thank you so much for responding and for supporting Tricolored Blackbirds. The outpour of donations and encouragement has been overwhelming and inspiring! When bird lovers like you get together, you really can make the world a better place for birds.

I have some good news to share, the dairyman has agreed to delay his harvest another week in order for all parties to work out an agreement. In other words- we have nearly saved this colony (but we are not done yet!). But your involvement will be felt beyond this colony. California and Federal decision makers now know that when Audubon gets involved they need to listen. Your involvement today will mean Audubon can save more birds tomorrow. 

This emergency hasn’t distracted us from the goals of our Tricolored Blackbird conservation plan. We are still engaging other farmers to help save additional colonies as the breeding season begins; we are still raising money to create a fund that can be on-hand for the next emergency; and we are still trying to prevent the birds from using agriculture by creating natural wetland habitat. We will keep you updated on our efforts to save this bird.

Together we can save this bird from extinction.

Thank you for being a bird hero today!

Meghan Hertel
Working Lands Program Director



Categories: Bird conservation · Tricolored Blackbird · Working lands conservation

April 21: Audubon California presenting talk on native trees & plants for bird habitat

April 1st, 2014 · by Daniela Ogden

Jen at hedgerow

Interested in hearing more about our Working Waterways hedgerow survey? Bird Conservation Program Manager Karen Velas will be speaking at an Altacal Audubon Society event that is open to the public.

Native Trees & Plants for Bird Habitat
Presented by Joseph O’Neil and Karen Velas
Monday, April 21, 2014 6:30 p.m., Chico Creek Nature Center

Joseph will review slides of some of the native trees that will be seen on his Birds & Trees Walk at Butte Creek Ecological Preserve on April 27. He will go over the many resources that trees provide for our feathered friends, explaining how tree identification is a useful tool to understanding and locating birds better. Karen will discuss the benefits of California native plant hedgerows to birds in the agricultural landscape of the Central Valley. She will provide an overview of plant species that attract birds and talk about her ongoing study which looks at overwintering and breeding songbirds in hedgerows along farm field margins. She will be leading a trip to Bobcat Ranch on May 17. [Read more →]

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Categories: Audubon Chapters · Pacific Flyway · Working lands conservation · Working Waterways