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

Dry spring imperils rare Tricolored Blackbirds

March 17th, 2014 · by Garrison Frost


Great piece this weekend by Mark Grossi of the Fresno Bee about how the drought is making things particularly tough for the state’s Tricolored Blackbird population. If you’ve been following Audubon California for any length of time, you know that we are heavily invested in saving the Tricolored Blackbird. We’ll have more on this story as it develops over the spring and summer. (photo of a Tricolored Blackbird flock by Kelly Weintraub)

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

A win for Central Coast Marbled Murrelets

March 16th, 2014 · by Anna Weinstein

Last week the Center for Biological Diversity reached a settlement agreement with the California Department of Parks and Recreation that will substantially increase protections in the Santa Cruz Mountains for the Marbled Murrelet, an endangered seabird that nests in old-growth forests. Much of the strength of the settlement can be attributed to advocacy on the part of Audubon California and over 1,200 Audubon activists who weighed in on the issue last year.


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Categories: California State Parks · seabirds · State Policy

Be a good beach goer this nesting season

March 11th, 2014 · by Daniela Ogden

The Snowy Plover is one cute beach chick. Unfortunately, the Western Snowy Plover’s population numbers are anything but adorable. There are only about 2,300 birds remaining on our Pacific Coast and we need to make sure that they have a safe nesting season.

There are many things you can do to help. Allowing these small birds to remain in their breeding area, undisturbed, throughout the breeding season is most important. People should be able to enjoy the beach and there should be room for plovers to nest too. The idea is to “Share the Shore.” This means having fun while protecting our natural environment at the same time. Remember that when a species goes extinct, it is gone forever.

If you’d like to volunteer as a beach steward to educate people about protecting the Western Snowy Plover, please click here.


Categories: Audubon Chapters · Bird conservation · Bird videos · Endangered Species Act · Western Snowy Plover

Ornithologists discover flight causes genome shrinkage

March 6th, 2014 · by Daniela Ogden


We wonder what George from Seinfeld would think of this headline. Jokes aside, according to, University of New Mexico researchers just released a paper that proves a bird’s genome shrinks over time in birds that use a lot of their energy while in flight.  The paper is ”Metabolic ‘engines’ of flight drive genome size reduction in birds,” and it was published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, by UNM Department of Biology graduate student Natalie Wright and Associate Professor Christopher Witt. From [Read more →]

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Categories: Uncategorized