Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Altacal wins Bank Swallow grant!

Dawn Garcia, Conservation Chair of Altacal Audubon in Chico, announced that the chapter has been awarded a $3,000 grant from Fund for Wild Nature for the development of a Bank Swallow brochure to be distributed to landowners along the Sacramento River. Bank swallows nest in sandy banks along the river, and is a California threatened species from loss of habitat.

Friday, March 12, 2010


Los Angeles Department of Water and Power announced that it has dropped plans to build an 85-mile-long "green" power transmission line across desert wilderness preserves and scenic ridgelines including Big Morongo Canyon Preserve, a favorite birding spot for LA Audubon birders and an Audubon California Important Bird Area. This follows three years of opposition from environmental groups including Los Angeles Audubon, San Bernardino Valley Audubon, California Desert Coalition and Wildlands Conservancy.

While supporting renewable energy, the environmental groups advocated that LADWP use transmission lines that already exist rather than build new ones through pristine habitat. The Green Path was planned to go through Pioneertown near Yucca Valley, Pipes Canyon Wilderness Preserve as well as Morongo.

Full story in LA TIMES here

Sunday, March 7, 2010

San Bernardino Valley Audubon helps save Joshua Tree from becoming a dump

Thanks to all of you, we’ve scored a big win for conservation in the Joshua Tree National Park. You might recall that last December, we told you about a proposed landfill just outside of Joshua Tree National Park that threatened some of the most precious desert landscape in the nation. Although two courts had blocked the project, the Department of Interior was giving serious consideration to launching another appeal. This week, Interior decided against the appeal after many of you expressed your opposition to the plan. If the Eagle Mountain landfill ever went forward, this part of California’s fragile desert ecosystem — home to many species of concern such as the Golden Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, California Black Rail, and desert tortoise — would instead become home to huge amounts of waste. The Audubon effort to kill this project was led by the local San Bernardino Valley Audubon Society. A large coalition of conservation and civic organizations fought the Interior move.
The proposed Eagle Mountain dump would have been the repository for Los Angeles County’s garbage for the next 117 years, becoming the nation’s largest garbage dump on 3,481 acres of federal land. Joshua Tree Wilderness areas are located to the north, west, and south, forming an amphitheater around the proposed dump, with a buffer of a mere 2,500 yards to the Park’s boundary. The proposed site was in the heart of an area that a former park superintendent said “offers the most refuge for the greatest number of species from human impacts of any area in southern California.” In addition, the proposed dump site would have been directly across from the Eagle Mountain Elementary School. Idling trains & trucks spewing diesel, landfill gas, dust, and support facilities would have pumped 5,000 tons of air pollution annually, affecting the school children and residents of the surrounding area. Now those residents can breathe a deep sigh of relief.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Ventura Audubon starts Snowy Plover Art contest with workshop

Ventura Audubon chapter leader Jane Spillman reports: "We had our first workshop for our "Share the Shore Children's Poster Project at the Gull Wings Children's Museum in Oxnard Feb. 20. Here is a photo of fourth grader Alex Shaw and the sign he made "Save the world - Save the birds". We have teacher packets out with about 20 classrooms, and are excited to see the artwork which will be coming back to us soon! Thank you to Mendocino Audubon for letting Ventura Audubon use the wonderful teacher materials you developed and the delightful "Pink Lady" story to jump start our project here!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Sacramento Audubon ranks fifth in US in Great Backyard Bird Count

Workshops and field trips, plus better publicity, helped Sacramento birders place fifth nationally in number of checklists submitted in this year’s Great Backyard Bird Count.  This more than accomplishing Sacramento Audubon’s goal of ranking among the top ten cities on the13th annual GBBC.  The local newspaper, the Sacramento Bee, was engaged by the challenge to help  make Sacramento a “Top Ten City.”  They helped publicize workshops (340 attended 6 workshops) and promote the count on GBBC Saturday.  To engage the younger crowd, we gave 2 performances of the Fenner Family’s GBBC puppet show.

The count is both educational and recreational and from the SAS Education Committee’s point of view, a wonderful opportunity to introducing the larger community to birding by  showing them how much  is going on right in their own backyards.  The workshops , held in public libraries throughout Sacramento County, covered the hows and whys of  the GBBC commitment (10-15 minutes)  followed by a 45 minute presentation on Sacramento backyard birds.  Our main objective is to connect folks with nature and make them aware of the value of citizen science.  While our new membership numbers did not increase markedly, the goodwill generated by the workshops was evident in the comments of folks after the presentations. As a result, SAS Beginning Birder Field Trips for February and March filled quickly.  Benefits to the chapter also included a contact list of 178 new birders and book sales of $300.
 With lists still coming in, National Audubon has tallied 422 lists from the Sacramento area out of the 5069 submitted for California. Total numbers are not yet available, but birds of 128 species were reported on Sacramento checklists.

Eastern Sierra Audubon holds May 1 Big Day on Owens Lake!

Volunteers are needed for our 2010 Spring Big Day bird census May 1st at Owens Lake.  The Owens Lake Important Bird Area  is one of the Eastern Sierra's greatest treasures. Last year's count had 62,000 birds! The census will primarily cover the Los Angeles Owens Lake dust control project which has attracted tens of thousands of migrating shorebirds and waterfowl. All of us will get together in the afternoon for food, story telling and a tally. Please consider joining us and contact Mike Prather,