All Community Announcements


Sunday, December 1st, 2013

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.

I Count! Do you?


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 and Nordhoff. Please report all such counts along with the time spent observing to the compiler by post, or e-mail (moc.rr.lacosnull@eroommij) no later than and preferably before January 14, 2014.

Count participation is FREE and open to all. Traditional count sectors are listed below. 

Hansen Dam and Vicinity. Meeting time: 7:00 AM

From the intersection of Osborne and Glenoaks, go north on Osborne to Dronfield (signal), turn right on Dronfield and enter park. Proceed downhill to large parking lot. Look for counters with binoculars. Bring lunch, drink, and be prepared to walk. Leader: Jim Moore, moc.rr.lacosnull@eroommij or (661) 317-1600.

Bee Canyon and O’Melveny Park. Meeting time: 8:00 AM

From the intersection of Balboa and Rinaldi, go north to Balboa and Sesnon. Turn left (west) on Sesnon and continue 1/2 mile. Park is on the right. Meet in the parking lot. Leaders: Ron Melin, moc.liamgnull@nilem2re & Tracy Drake, vog.acecnarrotnull@ekardt.

Sepulveda Wildlife Basin & Lake Balboa. Meeting time: 7:30 AM

Meet in the parking lot east of Woodley Avenue, north of Burbank Blvd. and south of the Tillman Water Treatment Plant. Bring lunch, drink. Leader: Kris Ohlenkamp, gro.nobuduavfsnull@pmaknelho.sirk.

Limekiln Canyon. Meeting time: 8:00 AM

Meet on the south side of Chatsworth Street, a half block west of Tampa. Park on the north side of the street. Leader: Carolyn Oppenheimer, gro.nobuduavfsnull@remiehneppo.nylorac.

Pierce College. Meeting time 8:00 AM

Meet at the corner of Victory Blvd and DeSoto. Leader: John Lobel, moc.liamgnull@lebol.nhoj.

Chatsworth Reservoir. Meeting time 8:00 AM

This sector is tentative, pending approval by DWP. Check with the leader before showing up. Meet at the gate on Valley Circle Blvd., just west of the junction of Plummer and Valley Circle Blvd. Leader: Art Langton, ten.ttanull@titnerw.

Bull Creek & west of Balboa Park. Meeting time 8:30 AM

Enter the park at the entrance road on the east side of Balboa Blvd, south of Victory Blvd. Meet in the small, paved handicapped and bus parking area in the dirt overflow parking lot between Balboa Blvd and Lake Balboa. Leader: Allan and Muriel Kotin, ten.knilhtraenull@nitoka.

Reseda Park & Los Encinos State Historic Park. Meeting time 8:00 AM

Meet in the parking off Victory Blvd, at the east end of Reseda Park. Leader: Pat Bates, gro.nobuduavfsnull@setab.tap.

Chatsworth Park, Oakwood Cemetery & other nearby parks. Meeting time 7:00 AM

Meet at McDonalds on the corner of Roscoe and Topanga. Leader: Jim Hardesty, ten.ttanull@ytsedrahnj.

2012 Christmas Bird Count

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

CBC Logo 



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 area, had it not been destroyed would have yielded more species to the count.

News of this destruction was broadcast on television and radio and reported in the  Encino Patch, Valley News, and the L.A. TimesUncommon bird sightings included a White-throated Sparrow at Wanda Dameron’s feeders, a Pacific Wren and  Varied Thrush in Wilson Canyon, a Long-eared Owl and  Vesper Sparrow at the Chatsworth Nature Preserve, a Slate- colored Junco at Art Langton’s house and the resident but seldom seen Northern Cardinal at the Sepulveda Basin. Unexpected misses included Wood Duck, Cinnamon Teal, and Northern Pintail.  This year’s winner for the highest count was the  Audubon’s subspecies of the Yellow-rumped Warbler of which 992 were recorded. Four of its uncommon cousin,  the Myrtle subspecies was also seen. These used to be separate species and judging from taxonomic trends,  expect will be again sometime in the near future.  The presence of water always increases bird  diversity, so as expected, Hansen Dam and the Sepulveda Basin produced the highest bird count thanks to the added sightings of Kimball Garrett who also birded the area on count day. Hansen Dam accounted for 92 species or 97 when adding in the birds seen at the Hansen Dam golf course. It also produced the only sightings of Greater White-fronted Goose, Cackling Goose, Canvasback,  Redhead, Lesser Scaup, Clark’s Grebe and Northern Rough-winged and Violet-green Swallows.  Sepulveda Basin, including Lake Balboa, and the Los Angeles River produced 79 species including the only  sightings of Ross’s Goose, Mute Swan, Eared Grebe,  Western and Least Sandpipers, Black-throated Gray and Wilson’s Warblers and the Northern Cardinal.

Chatsworth Nature Preserve produced 57 birds. Art Langton reports that the DWP is no longer replenishing water in the ecology pond. With the lack of water, about half of the bare bottom of the former pond was visible and many of the expected species were not present with a total lack of fish-eating birds, no herons or egrets, no diving ducks, no Pied-billed Grebes. None-the-less the area produced some good birds, including the only sightings of  White-tailed Kite, Sora, Wilson’s Snipe, Long-eared Owl, Marsh Wren and Vesper Sparrow.


Doug Martin birded Veteran’s and El Cariso parks in the northeast section of the circle as well as Wilson’s Canyon, where he hit the jackpot, finding both Varied Thrush and the bird of the day, a Pacific Wren, a bird seldom seen in southern California. Also, the area produced the only sightings of Barn Owl and Red-crowned and Lilac-crowned Parrots.  Ron Melin and his son Steve Melin did their annual pre-dawn owl watch in the trail above O’Melveny park and came up with two Western-screech Owls and seven Great-horned Owls.  They also had the only sighting of Canyon Wren at the park.  As is shown each year, it’s important to cover as  much of the circle as possible. Thirty-four species, an amazing 25 percent of all species recorded were observed at only one location. Robert Packard had the only sighting of Snow Goose and Tri-colored Blackbird plus 389 Canada Geese, the most in the circle at Pierce College.  Scott Logan had the only Downy Woodpecker at Serania Park.  And one never knows where an uncommon bird will show up. Sightings at home feeders produced two this year, Wanda Dameron’s White -throated Sparrow and Art Langton’s Slate -colored Junco.


Greater Roadrunner, always an exciting sighting was seen at two locations this year. Jim Hardesty found one at Brown’s Creek Park and Art Langton, Sharon Singhai, and Mark Osokow saw two at the Chatsworth Nature Preserve.  Comparing the results of our count circle from 2000 through this year we recorded 140 species, the most seen.  The previous high was 137. However the number of  individuals was low, only two years since 2000 had lower counts.

This marks the 113 th Audubon Christmas Bird Count. The San Fernando Valley has counted in 57 of those years. This year we had the highest ever counts of Eurasian Collard Dove, an expanding species, Allen’s Hummingbird, Red-crowned Parrot, Steller’s Jay, Whitebreasted Nuthatch, and Phainopepla.  Unique sightings include first ever sightings of Lilaccrowned Parrot, and Pacific Wren and only the second sighting of Northern Cardinal. The Varied Thrush has not  been recorded since 2000. Misses, recorded in most previous counts were only the Wood Duck, Cinnamon Teal, and Northern Pintail. There were several common  species with the highest count since 2000. These included Northern Shoveler, Northern Harrier, Red-tailed Hawk, Mountain Chickadee, Bushtit, Wrentit, Hermit Thrush, Phainopepla, Spotted Towhee, Golden-crowned Sparrow and American Goldfinch. And, there were common species with the lowest count since 2000. These included American Coot, Ring-billed Gull, California Gull, and Great-tailed Grackle. All species that attract little interest from birders.  Of interest, there are nine species that have been recorded on all 57 counts, including Cooper’s Hawk, Piedbilled Grebe, Killdeer, Anna’s Hummingbird, Black Phoebe, Say’s Phoebe, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Yellowrumped Warbler and Western Meadowlark.  Thanks to the group leaders and counters who gave several hours of their holiday season to participate in this fun event.

Thanks to all 2012 count participants



Why Do Birds Fall from the Sky?

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

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.

SFV Audubon on the REI Giving Tree

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

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.)