Even before Gov. Jerry Brown declared an emergency, the drought was already on everyone’s mind. Farmers, water districts, conservationists, even skiers, knew that record low precipitation had left us in bad shape. Ducks and geese knew it too. But then, they know drought well, because for a bird in California’s Central Valley, the drought is always. And it’s not just water that goes missing – it’s promises kept.2 comments
February 13th, 2014 · by Brigid McCormack
February 12th, 2014 · by Daniela Ogden
Join in on the fun that is the Great Backyard Bird Count. Launched in 1998 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, the Great Backyard Bird Count was the first online citizen-science project to collect data on wild birds and to display results in near real-time.
Since then, more than 100,000 people of all ages and walks of life have joined the four-day count each February to create an annual snapshot of the distribution and abundance of birds.
We invite you to participate! Simply tally the numbers and kinds of birds you see for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the count, February 14-17, 2014. You can count from any location, anywhere in the world! For more info: http://gbbc.birdcount.org/.2 comments
February 6th, 2014 · by Daniela Ogden
Thanks to the generous support of our private partners: Yocha Dehe Community Fund, Banrock Station and Banrock Station Trust, and PG&E, Audubon California — in partnership with NRCS, the CALFED Bay-Delta Program, UC Cooperative Extension, UC Davis and UC Berkeley — has learned that farm edges with hedgerows support four times the number of bird species that unplanted farm edges do. Learn more about this study in the Davis Enterprise:
In a drought, the only thing stopping the eye from seeing endless beige in parts of Yolo County are 10-foot-wide strips of mini-forests on the edges of the area’s fields.
These darker lines in the distance are the hedgerows. Indigenous bushes, shrubs and small trees like toyon, coffeeberry, coyote brush, valley oak, cottonwood, willow, mule fat, buckwheat and elderberry can be found here, and they’re used by Audubon California to study bird species diversity and populations.Comments Off
February 6th, 2014 · by Garrison Frost
February 4th, 2014 · by Daniela Ogden
Categories: stupid bird humor
February 4th, 2014 · by Garrison Frost
Audubon California today voiced strong opposition to a cynical legislative effort to take advantage of the ongoing drought to derail California water policy and environmental protections. House Resolution 3964, which is being rushed to the floor Wednesday without committee debate, would overturn years of negotiations over Central Valley water policy that have balanced the interests of communities, agriculture, and the environment.
“At a time when California needs forward-thinking solutions, this legislation is nothing but a step back,” said Brigid McCormack, executive director of Audubon California. “We’re all in this together, and we need to continue the progress that we’ve made in addressing our natural resource challenges through good faith negotiation, compromise, and balance.”Comments Off
February 1st, 2014 · by Garrison Frost
California Governor Edmund “Jerry” Brown today dropped in on the National Audubon Society Board meeting in Sacramento and shared his perspective on both the ongoing drought, but also his overall philosophy on environmental responsibility. The Board thanked him profusely for signing Assembly Bill 711 last October, which will require the use of nonlead ammunition for hunting. Pictured above, with Brown, are Audubon California Executive Director Brigid McCormack and Audubon Pacific Flyway VP Michael Sutton.Comments Off
January 30th, 2014 · by Beth Peluso
Eiders can do a happy dance—Shell canceled its Arctic Ocean 2014 drilling plans today! After $1.1 million in Clean Air Act violations, sea ice delays (ice in the Arctic Ocean? Shocking!), a drill rig running aground in 2012, and last week’s court decision that federal offshore oil lease sales were based on “improper information” and violated the law, Shell backed away from its plans to push forward.
Spectacled Eider photo by Laura Whitehouse, US Fish & Wildlife Service)Comments Off
January 23rd, 2014 · by Daniela Ogden
Categories: stupid bird humor
January 23rd, 2014 · by Garrison Frost
January 22nd, 2014 · by Garrison Frost
In a major victory for Arctic birds, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals today ruled that the Department of the Interior violated the law when it sold oil and gas drilling leases in the Chukchi Sea of the coast of Alaska. Audubon President David Yarnold issued the following statement:
“We don’t know nearly enough about the Chukchi Sea ecosystems – let alone about how to clean up an oil spill in ice-locked seas – to let international corporations go around poking holes in the seafloor. We do know that the Arctic Ocean is crucial for marine birds and mammals, holding globally significant feeding and resting areas for dozens of species, and they need to be protected. This decision gives the White House a chance to reconsider drilling in the Chukchi.”
January 18th, 2014 · by Garrison Frost
January 17th, 2014 · by Garrison Frost
As technological advances allow researchers to put ever smaller cameras on birds, we’re learning all kinds of amazing things, and seeing some incredible footage. This latest example comes by way of a video camera placed on a falcon, allowing us a birds-eye look at how it hunts (in this case, hunts crows). Particularly amazing are the aerial acrobatics and the steep, fast dives. Anyway, check it out:Comments Off
January 16th, 2014 · by Andrea Jones
The Christmas Bird Count (CBC) season is over for the year, and compilers are busy putting the records together, checking data sheets for oddities, and sending their results into National Audubon Society. Thousands of birders covered more than 130 CBC circles across California this year, from remote outposts such as Death Valley to downtown Los Angeles. These data, collected over many decades, give us insights into birds in winter – where are birds spending their winter, are their ranges changing over time, and how might climate change be impacting ranges and distribution of some species? These are all reasons to do a count. A more immediate reason is that it is fun! It’s an annual tradition to get out into remote (or populated) places at a busy time of year, and only think about what birds you might see that day. There is great camaraderie and it’s a good opportunity for new birders to learn from the many experts that also participate. [Read more →]1 comment
January 16th, 2014 · by Daniela Ogden
There is a group of Nelson’s Sharp-tailed Sparrows at the San Elijo Lagoon in San Diego County. Inconspicuous and smaller than most sparrows, the Nelson’s Sharp-tailed Sparrow inhabits a variety of wet prairie and coastal marshes, dominated by grasses and sedges, along the eastern seaboard and the northern plains of North America. There are occasional winter visitors in California, but usually they are seen in the San Francisco Bay region. One of its unique characteristics is that it is more apt to run than fly. The bird was named after Edward William Nelson, a naturalist who conducted field surveys throughout the Americas.
What to look for: This small, compact perching bird often appears flat-headed, with no neck. The plumage is complex and bold. Thick orange-yellow lines form an inverted triangle around each gray ear and dark eye. Behind the eye, a brown line pierces this ochre color to connect the eye to the gray nape. A dark cap and whitish throat frame this pattern. Distinct among the brown and black streaks of the upper parts are four jagged, white streaks. The lower parts are mostly whitish, with a little warm color washed over the thin, dark streaks of the breast.
Photo by Matt TillettComments Off