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CA Fish and Game Commission votes in favor of emergency listing for Tricolored Blackbird

December 3rd, 2014 · by Garrison Frost

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Responding to an alarming drop in the rare bird’s numbers, the California Fish and Game Commission today approved an emergency listing of the Tricolored Blackbird under the California Endangered Species Act. Representatives of Audubon California say they support the action by the Commission, which comes on the heels of a statewide survey completed this summer showing a 44 percent decline in Tricolored Blackbirds since 2011.

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Categories: Audubon California · Bird conservation · Bird Habitat · Endangered Species Act · Landowner Stewardship · Tricolored Blackbird · Working lands conservation

Fish and Game Commission to consider second emergency listing for Tricolored Blackbird

December 2nd, 2014 · by Garrison Frost

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Representatives from Audubon will be in Van Nuys tomorrow to argue before the California Fish and Game Commission in support of an emergency listing of the rare Tricolored Blackbird. Our message will be that this is an appropriate step to arrest the rapid decline of this near endemic species, but that listing alone won’t reverse the decline. So we will also commit to continue our work with agricultural partners others to ensure the birds’ future.

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Categories: Audubon California · Bird conservation · Bird Habitat · Tricolored Blackbird

Op-ed: Drought is killing birds in the Klamath

December 2nd, 2014 · by Garrison Frost

Audubon California’s Brigid McCormack writes this week in the Eureka Times-Standard about how the drought is harming birds in the Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge, one of the most important places for birds in North America:

Even though it is one of the most spectacular landscapes in the continental Unites States, the Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge is perhaps one of the most underappreciated and unknown natural places in the West. Relatively few Californians are aware of this state treasure and few in Congress or the Administration seem willing to step up to help it.

That’s unfortunate, because the Lower Klamath needs help. Drought has reduced water deliveries to a trickle and left the refuge parched, forcing migratory waterfowl and other birds to crowd onto what little water there is on nearby Tule Lake. This type of overcrowding often results in the fast and easy spread of disease, and already biologists are documenting the deaths of thousands of birds from avian botulism.

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Categories: Audubon California · Bird Habitat · Water issues

Peregine Falcon scatters ducks at Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge

December 2nd, 2014 · by Garrison Frost

Pretty cool video of Pintail Ducks reacting to a Peregrine Falcon.

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Categories: Audubon California · Bird Habitat · Birding

Stupid bird humor: shopping frenzy edition

November 28th, 2014 · by Garrison Frost

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Categories: Audubon California · stupid bird humor

More partners = more birds

November 26th, 2014 · by Daniela Ogden

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This past year, Audubon supported staff time for three Resource Conservation Districts (RCD) with funding Audubon secured from four public grants, and two private foundation grants. RCDs are California’s only grassroots conservation delivery system. Each RCD identifies its community’s greatest conservation problems, and guides landowners toward voluntary, and often innovative, solutions. There are 98 Districts throughout California – each covering a different geographic territory.

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Audubon funded and managed six contracts with RCDs this past year, providing a total of $56,600 to carry out installation and maintenance of ten habitat restoration projects in three counties.  In Merced County, in partnership with the Center for Land-based Learning, we are supporting the development of a volunteer training program, led by the local RCD, which educates high school students and involves them in work days on restoration sites.  Audubon staff has also been working closely with Colusa County RCD staff to ensure that they have the technical skills, professional contacts, and equipment to carry out restoration work. By providing this training and funding, we are building the capacity of these RCDs to carry out their own wildlife habitat projects going forward. The Yocha Dehe Community Fund and Banrock Trust provided funding to support this capacity-building and partnership effort.

Top photo of Audubon, Yolo County RCD, and Putah Creek Council staff at a mile-long slough-side planting carried out together in Yolo County.

Lower photo of Brandon Baker of Yolo County RCD haying a newly planted hedgerow.

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Categories: Working lands conservation · Working Waterways

Your handy guide to talking about birds and global warming this holiday

November 24th, 2014 · by Garrison Frost

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Categories: Audubon California · Climate Change · Global Warming · National Audubon Society

Egging on Sea Duck Recovery: Scientists testing new method for boosting waterbird populations in Richardson Bay

November 24th, 2014 · by Garrison Frost

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In an effort to find new ways to support the spectacular waterbirds of San Francisco Bay, ecologists with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) are working with the Richardson Bay Audubon Center & Sanctuary to test out a potentially new way to provide food for declining Surf Scoters, a large sea duck that was once much more common here.

“San Francisco Bay is a vital migratory stop for a wide variety of waterbirds, and anything we can do to support these birds is invaluable,” said Jordan Wellwood, director of the Audubon Center & Sanctuary. “We’re greatly pleased to partner with the USGS on this research that will ultimately benefit the work that we do for waterbirds.”

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Categories: Audubon California · Bird conservation · Bird Habitat · Richardson Bay Audubon Center & Sanctuary · S.F. Bay

BLM rejects controversial solar project in Mojave Desert

November 22nd, 2014 · by Garrison Frost

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management this week rejected an application for a controversial solar project in the Mojave Desert’s Silurian Valley. Conservation groups, including Audubon California, had raised concerns over the project because it was outside established development areas and included pristine habitat areas. In the end, the BLM found these arguments persuasive:

Jim Kenna, the BLM’s California director, made the decision, finding that Iberdrola Renewables’ proposal would have industrialized 24 square miles of “a largely undisturbed valley that supports wildlife, an important piece of the Old Spanish National Historic Trail, and recreational and scenic values.”

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Categories: Alternative energy · Audubon California · Bird Habitat

Bird update from the Audubon Starr Ranch Sanctuary

November 21st, 2014 · by Garrison Frost

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Here’s another fun round-up of bird seen at the Audubon Starr Ranch Sanctuary in Orange County, courtesy Ornithologist Holly Garrod:

This week, while enjoying a nice morning at the cabin, I had a Red-shouldered Hawk visit the bird bath and perch less than 50 feet from me! He took a drink, we stared each other down for 30 seconds and then he was gone. While Red-shouldered Hawks can be seen flying around the ranch, it was incredible seeing one so close. Other raptors that have been active around the ranch include 3 different species of owl. Be sure to listen for the harsh screech of Barn Owls, the gentle hoots of Great Horned Owls and the trill like hoots of Western Screech Owls after dusk.

This weeks bird of the week is…..

Western Bluebird (Sialia mexicana). No wonder they’re the bringer of happiness, these blue gems always brighten my day. They’re easily distinguished by their blue color and reddish breast. The females tend to have a more brown wash and will always have an eye ring where the males will not. These birds hang out year round on Starr Ranch and in the summer will nest in cavities or bird houses. I’ve seen them around the ranch perched pretty high up in the Eucalyptus trees making their ‘kew’ calls. Look at the photo above for an idea of an older female bluebird (photo taken by me during last weeks MoSI banding effort).

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Categories: Audubon California · Birding · Starr Ranch Sanctuary

Snow Geese at the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge

November 21st, 2014 · by Garrison Frost

Audubon California Executive Director Brigid McCormack shot this quick video of Snow Geese at the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge last weekend. Enjoy:

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Categories: Audubon California · Bird Habitat · Birding

Feinstein pulled the plug on secret drought bill

November 20th, 2014 · by Daniela Ogden

Good news! The terrible drought bill that Senator Feinstein was drafting in secret has been dropped. Thank you to everyone who sent an action alert — she heard you.

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Categories: Federal Policy · Water issues

2014 Bird of the Year trailer

November 20th, 2014 · by Daniela Ogden

VOTE FOR YOUR FAVORITES NOW

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Categories: Bird videos

Forest Service Throwing Good Money After Bad in Tongass in Alaska

November 18th, 2014 · by Beth Peluso

Tongass National Forest

A new report shows the Forest Service’s Tongass National Forest budget isn’t living up the agency’s 2010 promise to transition out of old-growth logging in the nation’s largest national forest. The Tongass, in Southeast Alaska, is part of the largest swath of temperate rainforest remaining in the world. Instead of the promised transition, the Forest Service released the largest old-growth timber sale in a decade earlier this year.

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Categories: Audubon Alaska · Bird Habitat · Federal Policy

Stupid bird humor

November 14th, 2014 · by Daniela Ogden

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Categories: stupid bird humor