San Fernando Valley Audubon Society has received $4,000 from the Encino Neighborhood Council. The $4,000 is for SFVAS’ Sepulveda Basin Envirnomental Education Program. Thank you Encino Neighborhood Council for your help and support.
2013 CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT Saturday, December 21, 2013 Birders Needed! Once again this year, the San Fernando Valley Audubon Society will once again join chapters across the country and in North and South America, Hawaii, and the Caribbean and take part in the National Audubon Society’s 114th Annual Christmas Bird Count. The initial San Fernando Valley CBC was held in 1957 and this will represent our 56 successive CBC. Over the years there have been some interesting changes in bird populations in the count circle as it has transitioned into a more suburban area. Last year, thanks to helpful weather and the 42 counters, we tallied 140 species, our highest total since 1995, but well short of our record count of 160 species in 1993. To approach that record, we need more birders joining established count sectors. Extensive birding experience is not a prerequisite, only a willingness to come out and count—wind, rain, or shine. Those unable to join one of the count groups may assist by noting species and numbers of birds at backyard feeders local parks and neighborhoods provided such counts take place within a 7.5 mile radius circle from the count center at the intersection of Balboa
2012 CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT The results are in. We counted 140 species plus two additional races, comprising a total of 14,157 individual birds. Compared to last year’s count of 136 species and 16,346 birds, we saw fewer birds but more species, including a number of uncommon or rare birds. This year we were treated to good weather sandwiched between rain the previous day and drizzle later in the evening of count day —too late to affect the count. This year, after a one year hiatus we were granted access by the Department of Water & Power to count the Chatsworth Nature Preserve. This accounted for six species not seen anywhere else in the circle, hence the reason for the increased species count. We also had 38 counters, in nine groups plus four who reported sightings at their home feeders. Most disappointing was the discovery of the destruction of the southern section of the Sepulveda Wildlife Basin by the Army Corp of Engineers. Under the guise of converting the area to native grasslands to improve security in the area they bulldozed down trees, both native and exotic, signs and pathways, all without input from the public. No doubt, the
With several occurrences of such phenomena hitting the national media last week, some of you may be interested to know more information about such seemingly bizarre behavior. Well, someone has compiled a great deal of info on the “Birds Fall from the Sky” website to sate the desires of those seeking more on the subject. Thanks to Serena Castleton for calling this site to our attention.
For the Gear-Head on Your Shopping List San Fernando Valley Audubon Society is happy to announce that we are one of this year’s beneficiaries of the Northridge REI store’s Giving Tree campaign. During the holidays, REI gives back to the local non-profits they support by collecting donations and promoting volunteer opportunities. By helping us get the word out about the work that we do, REI is going the extra mile to help programs at the grassroots level that get kids outdoors. We are so thankful for their support. Please think of REI during your holiday gift buying. The Giving Tree campaign runs from Dec. 1 -26. The Northridge store is located at 18605 Devonshire St. (Editor’s note: It really is the ultimate gear-head paradise.)
TOPIC: “Owens Lake—A Globally Significant Shorebird IBA in the Making” An enormous wildlife resource has returned to Owens Lake, once a migration stopover for tens of thousands of shorebirds and waterfowl that was lost nearly 100 years ago. The lake was dried as a result of water gathering by the City of Los Angeles, but now is receiving careful application of water by LADWP to control the regional dust storms born with the lake’s death. Roughly 40 square miles of Owens Lake playa are covered with shallow ponds or sheet flooding resulting in thousands of acres of rich feeding habitat for sandpipers, Snowy Plovers, ducks, and geese. In 2001 Bird Life International designated Owens Lake a nationally significant Important Bird Area (IBA.) Creation of a collaborative lake-wide conservation action plan was begun by Eastern Sierra Audubon and Audubon CA in partnership with LADWP, Department of Fish and Game and the State Lands Commission. This process has grown into a larger effort to design an Owens Lake ‘Master Plan’ that would seek to save water for the City of Los Angeles in return for large tracts of designated habitat for shorebirds and waterfowl. Today birders and wildlife watchers are visiting the
SFVAS Conservation Chair, Kris Ohlenkamp sent a letter to Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein and to Congresspersons Howard Berman, Brad Sherman and Henry Waxman, urging them to support this measure. “The CDPA of 2010 is landmark legislation that would protect wildlife habitat, preserve open space, and enhance recreational opportunities while supporting responsible renewable energy development and the ability of the military to protect the United States of America,” Ohlenkamp writes. The act would provide additional protections to Big Morongo Preserve and Joshua Tree National Park, among other proposals. You can find the complete text of the letter here. http://www.sfvaudubon.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/CDPA-of-2010.pdf
Join us to learn about the Bull Creek Restoration Project just west of Balboa Lake. Enter Beilenson Park from Balboa Boulevard, south of Victory, and park in the overflow dirt parking lot of the left side of the entry road. Meet there at 9:00 AM. See the flyer for more information. Contacts: Muriel Kotin, 310-457-5796 or Linda Jones, 818-831-6061.
SFVAS and the Santa Susana Mountain Parks Association are jointly sponsoring a bird walk in Santa Susana Pass State Historic Park. This is the first time an organized bird walk is being held in this under-studied park, so unusual observations are very possible. Meet at 8:00 a.m. at the Larwin St. gate. (From Topanga Canyon Bl. and Devonshire St., take Devonshire St. west until just before it ends. Turn left on Larwin St. and park under the overhead power lines.) There will be a short car shuttle available to the end of the loop at the Andorra gate. Wear sturdy boots, and bring water. Some trails along the loop may be steep but are in good condition, and we will follow an easy pace. For further information, e-mail the leader, email@example.com.
Here’s an announcement from Dr. Kuehn of the Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology that missed the August/September issue of the Phainopepla. Please respond directly to him if you are interested. Introduction to Ornithology September 27 through the week of November 15, 2010 Taught by Dr. Linnea Hall and Mr. René Corado. An 8-week course on the diversity, ecology, evolution, and taxonomy of the birds of North America, with an emphasis on identifying the birds of southern California. One 1.5-hour lecture and one 3-hour museum or field lab weekly. Individual classes also may be taken; contact the WFVZ (805/388-9944) for more information and pricing. Whole course price: $420 for currently enrolled college students and WFVZ Volunteers; $560 for WFVZ Members; $750 for non-members. Michael J. Kuehn, Ph.D Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology 439 Calle San Pablo Camarillo, CA 93012 (805) 388-9944 www.wfvz.org Marine Science Institute University of California Santa Barbara California 93106 Office: (805) 893-2532 Cell: (805) 705-2172 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com