Audublog

Responding to reports of bird deaths at Ivanpah solar facility

August 20th, 2014 · by Garrison Frost

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Like everyone else who has heard the story this week, we were pretty alarmed to hear accounts of thousands of birds bursting into flames above a new-technology solar facility at Ivanpah Valley in the Mojave Desert and we were grateful to have Renewable Energy Director Garry George front and center in the media to give Audubon’s view. But the truth is that these reports aren’t new.

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Categories: Alternative energy · Audubon California · Bird conservation · Climate Change · Global Warming

Birds burned at Mojave Desert solar plant

August 18th, 2014 · by Garrison Frost

mac_warbler_ivanpah_burnt

While we’ve been hearing stories about birds being singed in midair by the concentrated solar rays at the BrightSource Energy facility in the Ivanpah Dry Lake Bed in the Mojave Desert, a new Associated Press story running nationally is getting a lot of attention. U.S. Fish & Wildlife investigators are sounding the alarm as the project’s operators are applying for a permit for an even larger facility. Audubon Califonia’s Garry George is quoted in the article contending that no permit should be issues until the dangers at the existing plant are fully understood. Pictured above is a USFWS photo of a warbler carcass found at the Invanpah site with burned feathers.

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Categories: Alternative energy · Audubon California · Bird conservation

California drought is a dress rehearsal for climate change

August 18th, 2014 · by Brigid McCormack

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With more than 80 percent of California in extreme drought, things are tough out there for birds (farmers and people). Already we’ve seen studies linking drought to reduced breeding of waterfowl and raptors. The big question that I frequently get asked is: Is this climate change?

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Categories: Audubon California · Bird Habitat · Brigid McCormack · Climate Change · Water issues

Audubon chapters spread the love of birds through summer programs

August 17th, 2014 · by Garrison Frost

Loved this article about the Santa Clara Audubon Society’s summer program for kids. This is just one example of the terrific programs for young people run by local Audubon chapters up and down the state. These folks are doing a marvelous job sparking a love of birds and nature that will last these young peoples’ entire lives.

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Categories: Audubon California · Audubon Chapters · Nature education and activities

Fall migration will be a challenge for refuge managers

August 16th, 2014 · by Garrison Frost

We’ve spoken before on the blog about the problems we might face in our Central Valley refuges this fall when a particularly large number of waterfowl will arrive to find habitat brutally degraded by the drought. Interesting article here about California Fish and Wildlife refuge managers doing their best with the few resources they have.

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Categories: Audubon California · Bird Habitat · Water issues

Critical habitat proposed for Western Yellow-billed Cuckoo

August 14th, 2014 · by Garrison Frost

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The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service today advised the public that it is seeking to designate more than 540,000 acres of critical habitat for the western population of the Yellow-billed Cuckoo. Last year, the Service proposed listing the Western Yellow-billed Cuckoo as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act, a move that Audubon California supports.

Critical habitat is a term in the Endangered Species Act (ESA) that identifies geographic areas containing features essential for the conservation of a threatened or endangered species, and which may require special management considerations or protection. Designation of critical habitat does not affect land ownership or establish a refuge or preserve, and has no impact on private landowners taking actions on their land that do not require federal funding or permits.

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Categories: Audubon California · Bird conservation · Bird Habitat · Endangered Species Act

L.A. Times editorial: Now isn’t the time to delist the California Gnatcatcher

August 14th, 2014 · by Garrison Frost

Great editorial in the Los Angeles Times today regarding the recent petition to remove the California Gnatcatcher from the Endangered Species List. Audubon California opposes this delising effort for a variety of reasons. Here’s the best line from the editorial:

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service should not be changing wildlife policy based on a single study funded in part by the industry that stands to gain from it.

 

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Categories: Audubon California · Bird Habitat · Endangered Species Act

Stupid bird humor

August 12th, 2014 · by Daniela Ogden

tainted-love

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Categories: stupid bird humor

Sandhill Crane Migration Starting in Alaska!

August 12th, 2014 · by Beth Peluso

Sandhill Crane at Creamer's Field IBA by Beth PelusoSandhill Cranes are calling in the skies over Alaska as they gather for fall migration. The Tanana Valley Sandhill Crane Festival in Fairbanks at the Creamer’s Field Important Bird Area is coming up 8/22-8/24. This Smithsonian Magazine article gives a great overview of Sandhill Crane migration.

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Categories: Audubon Alaska · Important Bird Areas · Pacific Flyway · Pacific Migration

Are you eagle-maniacal?

August 12th, 2014 · by Daniela Ogden

Brian Doyle unleashes his inner struggle to not obsess over raptors in his funny new piece for Orion. Here is an excerpt, but reading the entire piece is highly recommended:

I have been so hawk-addled and owl-absorbed and falcon-haunted and eagle-maniacal since I was a little kid that it was a huge shock to me to discover that there were people who did not think that seeing a sparrow hawk helicoptering over an empty lot and then dropping like an anvil and o my god coming up with wriggling lunch was the coolest thing ever.

I mean, who could possibly not be awed by a tribe whose various members can see a rabbit clearly from a mile away (eagles), fly sideways through tree branches like feathered fighter jets (woodhawks), look like tiny brightly colored linebackers (kestrels, with their cool gray helmets), hunt absolutely silently on the wing (owls), fly faster than any other being on earth (falcons), and can spot a trout from fifty feet in the air, gauge piscine speed and direction, and nail the dive and light-refraction and wind-gust and trout-startle so perfectly that it snags three fish a day (our friend the osprey)? Not to mention they look cool—they are seriously large, they have muscles on their muscles, they are stone-cold efficient hunters with built-in butchery tools, and all of them have this stern I could kick your ass but I am busy look, which took me years to discover was not a general simmer of surliness but a result of the supraorbital ridge protecting their eyes.

Read the rest of the story here.

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Categories: Birding

How to ID a California Gnatcatcher

August 11th, 2014 · by Daniela Ogden

The California Gnatcatcher is a distinct subspecies and was confirmed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in 1993 as endangered. 77,000 is estimated to be its total global population.* It is emblematic of the rich coastal sage scrub of southern California, an enduring remnant of our wild coast that is now one of the most endangered habitat types in North America. Some researchers estimate that as little as 10 percent of California’s original coastal sage scrub habitat remains today.

*Atwood, J. L. and D. R. Bontrager. 2001. California Gnatcatcher (Polioptila californica). In The Birds of North America, No. 574 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, PA, and The American Ornithologists’ Union, Washington, D.C.

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Categories: Audubon California · Audubon Watchlist · Bird conservation · Bird Habitat · Bird videos · Federal Policy · Starr Ranch Sanctuary · State Policy

Volunteering is for the birds

August 5th, 2014 · by Daniela Ogden

We are gathering volunteer opportunities that need the help of bird lovers like you. Sign-up to volunteer here and we will send you emails that share events near you. Here are events for San Francisco Bay Area residents:

Pounding for Plovers party with Pacifica Audubon

The Pacifica Shorebird Alliance hopes to reverse the birds’ 75% decline during the past twelve years. The project will involve pounding in posts, stringing cable between them, and attaching signs made by local school children. The area to be protected is a fifty foot wide sliver of beach west of the dunes north of Crespi Drive at Highway.

WHEN: Friday, August 15, 8:30 a.m.- noon (or earlier)

WHERE: Pacifica State Beach (Linda Mar Beach). Meet on the beach at the Crespi entrance, across from the Community Center, near the tree

RSVP: For more information or to RSVP, please email shore_birds {at} yahoo(.)com or margstan {at} sbcglobal(.)net or leave a message for Margaret at 650-355-9654

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Categories: Audubon Chapters · Bird conservation

Bike and BIrd Day 2014 a Success!

August 5th, 2014 · by Beth Peluso

Bike & Bird Day 2014A rainy morning gave way to a gorgeous sunny day for the 3rd annual Bike and Bird Day on the Anchorage Coastal IBA in Alaska! See the species total and more photos Audubon Alaska Facebook page.

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Categories: Audubon Alaska · Important Bird Areas · Pacific Flyway

Stupid bird humor

August 4th, 2014 · by Daniela Ogden

im-on-a-boat

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Categories: stupid bird humor

Bear earns everlasting trust from crow community

August 1st, 2014 · by Daniela Ogden

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Categories: Bird videos · birds and culture