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

WINNER of Alaska 2014 Bird of the Year!

March 31st, 2014 · by Beth Peluso

The feathers have been flying furiously the last few days, but we now have a winner of the 2014 Alaska Bird of the Year election! The winner is (cue the bugling of Sandhill Cranes)…

Bar-Tailed Godwit on TundraThe long-distance migration world-champion the Bar-tailed Godwit! Starting with a strong lead, the Bar-tailed Godwit managed to keep just a wingspan ahead of the rest, winning 46% of the vote.

The Short-tailed Albatross made a heroic sprint for the finish, ending as the runner up with 42% of the votes.

The Lesser Yellowlegs remained the underdog, but kicked up its supporters to 12%. Better get some sprint training in for the next race!

Many thanks to everyone who participated in the voting! We can’t wait to see the fabulous artwork that will feature this incredible bird that you picked.

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Categories: Audubon Alaska

Stupid bird humor

March 29th, 2014 · by Daniela Ogden


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Categories: stupid bird humor

Vote by Midnight for Alaska Bird of the Year!

March 28th, 2014 · by Beth Peluso


Candidate Species Short-tailed Albatross spend much of their life on the wing, sometimes flying from nesting grounds in Japan or Midway Island to Alaska waters to feed while raising a chick. This video catches that amazing transformation from clumsy land bird to royalty of the skies.

Voting for Bird of the Year ends at midnight (Alaska time) tonight! Cast your vote now!

(Photo: This Short-tailed Albatross and his mate are the first pair successfully nesting outside Japan; they started nesting on Midway Island in 2012, and are currently raising this little chick. Photo from US Fish & Wildlife Service.)

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Categories: Audubon Alaska

Stupid bird humor

March 27th, 2014 · by Daniela Ogden


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Categories: stupid bird humor

Vote for Audubon Alaska’s Bird of the Year this Week!

March 25th, 2014 · by Beth Peluso

Mystery Bird of the Year 2014_red question mark_no text









What species from the Alaska WatchList should be Audubon Alaska’s next Bird of the Year?

The bodacious Bar-tailed Godwit,

the show-stopping Short-tailed Albatross, or

the legendary Lesser Yellowlegs?

YOU make the call!

The Bird of the Year will be the spokesbird on Audubon Alaska’s 2014 window decals, available later this spring. Throughout the next year, the Bird of the Year will showcase Audubon Alaska’s efforts to protect important habitat for birds from the Arctic coastal plain to the Tongass National Forest.

CAST YOUR VOTE by midnight (Alaska time!) on March 28!

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Categories: Audubon Alaska · Birding

Wildlife refuges can’t be left out of 2014 water bond

March 24th, 2014 · by Garrison Frost


As lawmakers work down several paths toward refining a water bond to put before the voters this November, a new development with one of the leading pieces of bond legislation has conservation advocates worried. Amendments currently being proposed to Assembly Bill 1331 would strip the bond of language requiring the state to fulfill its promise to provide water for the 19 Central Valley refuges.  This is happening right now. The new amendment will be considered tomorrow before the State Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water.

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Categories: Audubon California · Bird Habitat · Water issues

Exxon Valdez: Everlasting Disaster

March 24th, 2014 · by Beth Peluso

Today marks the 25th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska’s beautiful Prince William Sound. Cordova, a coastal fishing town hit hard by the spill, is home to David Janka. He was there the day of the spill; 25 years later, he shares his thoughts and photos with Audubon Alaska. The photos of lingering oil, taken just last month, are disturbing. They are even more troubling in light of the push to drill in the Arctic Ocean and increase shipping (including tankers) through the Bering Strait (a global Important Bird Area), with their even colder and more remote waters teeming with life.

Lingering Exxon Valdez oil in shoreline sediment Feb 2014 by David Janka







Spilled oil still lingers just below the surface on some beaches of Prince William Sound.

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Categories: Arctic · Audubon Alaska

New limits on California rodenticide use are a big win for birds and other wildlife

March 21st, 2014 · by Garrison Frost

In a huge victory for birds and other wildlife, the California Department of Pesticide Regulation took action to limit the use of a certain kind of rodent poison that has been known to also harm a wide variety of non-targeted birds and other wildlife. The rodenticides in question, known as anticoagulant rodenticides, build up in the bodies of target species and are then transferred to birds and other wildlife that have the misfortune of eating the rodents. Raptors and scavenger birds have been particularly affected. In a letter to the department last October, Audubon California and 17 local Audubon chapters supported the new regulation. The letter cited several bird species that have been documented to have suffered from the use of these poisons:

  • American Kestrel
  • Barn Owl
  • Burrowing Owl
  • Cooper’s Hawk
  • Common Crow
  • Golden Eagle Heerman’s
  • Great-horned Owl
  • Common Raven
  • Red-shouldered Hawk
  • Rock Dove
  • Western Screech Owl
  • Northern Spotted Owl
  • Sharp-shinned Hawk
  • Swainson’s Hawk
  • Wild Turkey
  • Turkey Vulture
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Categories: Audubon California · Bird conservation · State Policy

Los Angeles leads all U.S. counties in nationwide bird count

March 21st, 2014 · by Garrison Frost


Already known for the movie business, freeways and surfing, Los Angeles may need to add another one to the list: birdwatching. With the recent release of data from February’s Great Backyard Bird Count, a nationwide birding event, comes news that Los Angeles led all United States counties in the number of reports and species. During the period of Feb. 14-17, bird enthusiasts in Los Angeles County submitted 1,270 checklists identifying 264 different species. New York’s Suffolk County came in second with 956 checklists and Fairfax County, VA, with 780.

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Categories: Audubon California · Bird L.A. · Birding · Nature education and activities

Audubon mourns the passing of Jerry Karr

March 18th, 2014 · by Garrison Frost

We were saddened late last week to hear of the passing of former Audubon California Boardmember Gerald “Jerry” Dale Karr. We have so many great memories of working with Jerry here at Audubon California, it’s difficult to know where to begin. Jerry had a great sense of humor and a real passion for life – he made everyone around him feel good. And he channeled his great love of birds into a can-do approach to conservation that inspired everyone around him.

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Categories: Audubon California · Audubon Chapters

Green birds of California

March 17th, 2014 · by Daniela Ogden

pacific slope flycather Maggie Smith

In honor of St. Paddy’s Day, we’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite green-hued California birds. Please share yours in the comments. [Read more →]

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Categories: Birding · birds and culture