Page updated: April 20, 2016



A California Chapter of the National Audubon Society Serving the communities of Stockton, Lodi, Tracy, Manteca, Escalon, Ripon, and Lathrop--All of San Joaquin County.



Places to Visit on our Website

Chapter Officers & Board Members 

Program and Field Trip Information 

Field Checklist of the Birds of San Joaquin County

Bird Sightings in San Joaquin County

Membership Benefits-JOIN US!



Like us on Facebookfacebook



Other Web Pages to Visit


All About Birds-Cornell Online Guide to Identifying Birds

· Help with Identifying Birds

What to do with an injured or orphaned bird

Wildlife Rehab Information

Central Valley Birds Listserve

San Joaquin Birds Listserve

National Audubon Society 

Central Valley Bird Club 

California County Geographic Birding Guide 

Kern River Preserve

Artist Keith Hansen

Artist Rene C. Reyes

Go Green

If you'd like to receive the Hoot Owl electronically, you can subscribe at SJ Audubon Electronic Newsletter Subscribers

Hoot Owl May-June 2016

Hoot Owl March-April 2016

Hoot Owl January-February 2016

Hoot Owl November-December 2015

Hoot Owl September-October 2015

Hoot Owl July-August 2015

Hoot Owl May-June 2015

Hoot Owl March-April 2015

Hoot Owl January-February 2015

Hoot Owl November-December 2014

Hoot Owl September-October 2014

Hoot Owl July-August 2014

Hoot Owl May-June 2014

Hoot Owl March-April 2014

Hoot Owl January-February 2014

Western Field Ornithologists

is pleased to announce the availability of a youth scholarship for the WFO 2016 Conference to be held in Humboldt County, California from September 28 through October 2. The scholarship is open to youths between the ages of 12 and 22, with six scholarships for youths in Grades 6 through 12, and two scholarships for collegiate youths working towards a Bachelor’s degree.  The annual WFO conference is a four day event that includes scientific presentations, workshops, field trips, experts’ sounds and visual identification panels, and social activities.  The conference offers the opportunity for motivated youths to meet those who earn their living and/or volunteer in field ornithology, bird conservation, biology and other distinguished fields.  For further details and conference registration (opening June 12) visit  For further details about the scholarship, please refer to the attached application, or visit  The application deadline is May 15, 2016, so don't delay, send in your application today!

Annual Chapter Picnic
Saturday, May 21, 2016

Save the date!  On Saturday, May 21, San Joaquin Audubon will hold its Annual Chapter Picnic at the Mokelumne River Day Use Area/Fish Hatchery.  We will start off birding at 8:00 a.m., combining our bird walk with the monthly bird census of this delightful park.  The pot luck brunch will follow at approx. 10:00 a.m., so bring a dish to share.  We'll also have a short Annual Business Meeting.  Meet in the fish hatchery parking lot (below the dam).

San Joaquin County Summer Butterfly Count:

30 Years

Saturday, June 18, 2016, marks the 31st year of cooperation since our local Audubon Society rescued this historic butterfly count by making it an official field trip after Prop 13 had decimated the county’s budget.  Since that time we have additionally cooperated with the University of California Cooperative Extension, especially through their Master Gardener program.  This is one of the few original 4th of July butterfly counts still being held, originally started in 1975 by the Xerces Society and now run by the North American Butterfly Society along with local volunteers.

We meet at Oak Grove Regional Park at 8:00 am on Saturday, June 18, 2016.  There we will count some butterflies and carpool to other parks within the count circle.  We will break briefly for lunch and generally finish by 3:30 pm.  Participants will need to bring food and water as well as nets, field-guides and binoculars, if you have them.  No experience is required, we will train you.  If you wish to join us, please contact leader Kathy Schick at or (209)612-5130.

-Kathy Schick


Volunteers are needed to conduct roadside Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) routes in California in 2016.

The routes need to be run just once each year during the months of May or June; exact dates vary with each route. The main requirement for volunteering is the observer needs to be able to identify most of the birds along the route by call/song, and all by sight.

California has 228 BBS routes and currently has 94 routes that are vacant.
If you are interested in volunteering for a survey route or two, please contact:

Daniel Applebee
California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife
1812 Ninth Street
Sacramento, CA  95811
209-588-1879 (Phone)

Working Lands:

Partnering with Landowners to Protect Birds

Audubon California is increasingly working with the owners and operators of working lands throughout the state to increase the value of these properties for birds and wildlife. We do this by working with landowners to modify land management practices and encouraging restoration of native habitats in these landscapes.
One of the biggest transformations in California over the last 150 years was the conversion of millions of acres of natural wetlands, grasslands, and stream-side forest to create one of the world's most productive agricultural landscapes. While this resulted in the irreparable loss of habit for birds and wildlife, the reality is that we must find ways for conservation and agriculture to coincide. Private agricultural lands encompass 25 million acres of open space in California - fully one-quarter of the state. Fortunately, we are learning that farms and ranches can be effective surrogates for natural habitats that have been lost and, when appropriately managed, can support wildlife diversity approaching that found on natural lands.
Private lands are vital for a diversity of wildlife, including 60 percent of the threatened and endangered species in the U.S. The importance of private lands for birds is particularly evident. Over 200 bird species in California depend on agricultural habitats for at least part of their annual life cycle. This is not difficult to imagine when witnessing the still spectacular congregations of birds in agricultural fields of the Central Valley during migration and over the winter, where large patches of white indicate where as many as 100,000 Snow Geese have gathered in a single field. Millions of water birds rest and feed in wetlands provided by winter flooded rice fields in the Sacramento Valley and it's estimated that 70 percent of the food needed to support the more than 5 million waterfowl wintering in the Central Valley every year is produced by private agricultural land.
© 2015 National Audubon Society, Inc.  Article courtesy of Audubon California at

      Global warming is the greatest threat to birds and other wildlife in human history. The rate of global warming is already impacting birds, their prey, and their habitat. Those impacts will become more severe over the coming decades, leading to the loss of one-quarter to one-third of all species on earth, including many bird species.
     Although some amount of change is inevitable, we can still take steps to prevent the most dangerous impacts of global warming and begin to stabilize the climate again. In the meantime, conservation, especially of larger areas with migratory corridors and buffer zones; better control of invasive species; and adaptive management are critical to stem the loss of bird and wildlife species.
     This loss will impact agriculture, forestry, public health, recreation, and hunting.  The financial impact will be many billions of dollars annually.

Why Does Global Warming Matter for Birds?
     Global warming impacts birds and wildlife in many ways. Birds and other wildlife will face habitat loss due to sea level rise, more frequent and severe wildfires, flooding and droughts, invasive species, changes in vegetation and precipitation, and loss of snow and ice, among others. Birds, like most species, are highly adapted to particular vegetation and habitat types.
     To compensate for the warmer temperatures, the ranges of these habitats may move closer to the poles or higher elevations. Habitat types that cannot colonize new areas may rapidly decline or cease to exist. New pests, invasive species, and diseases will create additional risks. The timing of birds’ migration, reproduction, breeding, nesting, and hatching are all highly adapted to match specific local
conditions, such as the availability of suitable habitat and adequate food sources.
     Since climate change will affect different species differently, bird behavior may no longer be in sync with their food sources and other habitat needs. For example, robins in the Rocky Mountains arrive an average of two weeks earlier in spring than they did a few decades ago, but the worms and other food that they eat are not yet available for their newly hatched offspring.

Is Global Warming Already Affecting Birds?
     Scientists are already seeing alarming impacts of global warming on birds. More than 80% of plant and animal species studied have shown changes in the timing of migration or reproduction, shifts in habitat or migratory routes, or other changes associated with climate change. Some of the observed
impacts on birds include:

• Several North American warbler species have shifted northward more than 65 miles. The Golden-winged Warbler’s range has moved nearly 100 miles north just in the past two decades.
• Between 1971 and 1995, many British bird species began laying their eggs an average of nine days earlier each year. A dozen species in Great Britain have shifted their ranges an average of 12 miles northward in the past 20 years.
• On Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, 15 species—including the Rose-breasted Grosbeak and Black-throated Blue Warbler— are arriving up to 21 days earlier than in the 1960s.
• Adelie Penguins are taking longer routes to find food in the ocean as icebergs break off the Ross Ice Shelf.

Will Some Species or Habitat Types Be More Vulnerable than Others?
     Birds that already live at high altitudes or latitudes may not be able to move with the changing climate. Endangered species with limited habitat or small gene pools may also not be able to adapt quickly enough to avoid extinction. Coastal and polar species will be vulnerable as coastlines advance inland and ice melts. Sea level rise and erosion will jeopardize the threatened Western Snowy Plover and other shorebirds.
     More frequent and severe droughts in the central U.S. are likely to cause prairie pothole wetlands to dry up, jeopardizing millions of waterfowl during breeding season. The projected loss of neotropical migrant songbirds is very high:  53% in the Great Lakes region, 45% loss in the Mid-Atlantic, 44% loss in the northern Great Plains, and 32% fewer in the Pacific Northwest.

Why Can’t Birds Adapt to Global Warming ?
     In the past, species and ecosystems were able to respond to global temperature shifts in part because average global temperatures changed slowly. As they did, habitat patterns changed gradually and wildlife could either follow their preferred habitat to new locations or adapt to new conditions. Now, though the change is simply too
 fast for many species to adapt. The rate of temperature increase over the next century will be ten times faster than the rate of increase since the last Ice Age. In addition, species that could otherwise move or adapt are now limited by urban and industrial development, large-scale agriculture, and adjacent habitat fragmentation and
destruction. For instance, the endangered Red-cockaded Woodpecker in the southeastern U.S. depends on mature pine forest, a habitat type that cannot spread to new areas quickly or at all.

Why is Loss of Bird Species Important for People?
     Birds have great economic and personal value to people. One-third of all human food comes from plants that are pollinated by birds, butterflies, and other wild pollinators. Birds also disperse seeds and help to control rodents, insects, and other pests that would otherwise devastate crops, forests, and ecosystems. In the western
U.S., Savannah Sparrows, Sage Thrashers, egrets, and other birds help control grasshopper populations that would otherwise destroy many crops. In the eastern U.S., nesting wood warblers consume 84% of the eastern spruce budworm that would otherwise decimate forests.
     Birds are loved for their aesthetic value, playing an essential role in the U.S. economy and improving the quality of life for many Americans. More than 80 million Americans observe, fish, hunt, and otherwise enjoy birds and other wildlife. Together, they support more than 2.6 million jobs in the U.S. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, America’s 46 million birders spend $32 billion annually, generating $85 billion in overall economic output and $13 billion in state and federal income taxes.

From Fact Sheet: Global Warming and Birds, copyright © 2014 National Audubon Society

Judge halts 30-year permit to kill eagles at wind farms

August 12th, 2015 · by Garrison Frost

     In a decision that has far-reaching implications for both bird conservation and wind energy, a U.S. District Court judge yesterday set aside a controversial rule that would allow operators of wind energy facilities to accidentally kill Golden Eagles and Bald Eagles for up to 30 years. The eagles are currently protected under federal statute, though wind energy companies can obtain a five-year permit. The industry pushed for the extension to give developers more “regulatory certainty.”
     U.S. District Court Judge Lucy H. Koh determined that the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service failed to adequately determine the impact of the permits on eagle populations, as required by the National Environmental Policy Act. The lead plaintiff in the lawsuit was Debi Shearwater, a charismatic leader of bird tours along California’s central coast. The American Bird Conservancy was also among the plaintiffs.  When the permits were announced, Audubon was among the groups to express outrage. Audubon President David Yarnold said:
     “Instead of balancing the need for conservation and renewable energy, Interior wrote the wind industry a blank check. It’s outrageous that the government is sanctioning the killing of America’s symbol, the Bald Eagle. Audubon will continue to look for reasonable, thoughtful partners to wean America off fossil fuels because that should be everyone’s highest priority.”


eBird Mobile

The new eBird Mobile app makes it possible to collect and submit observations directly to eBird from the field.  iOS and Android users who were accustomed to entering eBird data using the BirdLog app are encouraged to switch to eBird Mobile, the new and official app for entering data to eBird.

Merlin Bird ID

In a breakthrough for computer vision and for bird watching, researchers and bird enthusiasts have enabled computers to achieve a task that stumps most humans—identifying hundreds of bird species pictured in photos. Build in concert with the exceedingly popular Merlin app, the Merlin Bird ID tool lets you upload an image of a bird that you’ve photographed, and if the photo shows one of the supported species, it returns the correct species in the top 3 results, 90% of the time. It currently supports 400 species in North America, but will eventually be expanding to more species in North America, and worldwide.  Give it a try.

borrowed from Audubon At Home

Plants for Birds and Wildlife

Planting for birds
Spicebush, photo courtesy USDA-NRCS Plants Database

Birds and wildlife have adapted to utilize native plants that provide food, cover, nesting sites or a combination of resources. Native plants provide food at different times of the year to birds in the form of seeds, fruit or as invertebrate host sites. The growth habits of native plants present recognizable, safe nesting sites and cover that protect birds from inclement weather and predation. The importance of these plants to birds, insects and other wildlife cannot be overstated.

Using native plants in your backyard landscape will offer the most resources to birds and wildlife and serve as rewarding attractants. On these pages you will find some examples of plants that are particularly valuable to specific birds and other beneficial organisms. A more comprehensive database with regional references is in the works at Audubon At Home and will be available online in the near future.

Plantings for birds in our area:

Nuttall's Woodpecker, Oak Titmouse, Yellow-rumped Warbler- California Live Oak

Wrentit, California Towhee, Spotted Towhee - California Wax Myrle

For more information about native plants please visit:

California Native Plant Society

Master Gardener's Program in San Joaquin County

Plants for Beneficial Insects

Predators. Parasitoids. Pollinators.

Welcome them into your Healthy Yard.

These are the insects, bugs and other organisms on the front line of pest control in your yard, guarding against destructive bugs and helping plants reproduce. Nature supplies these beneficial bugs of course, but you can encourage them to remain in your yard by providing them with some essential elements.

Nearly every plant in a natural environment will sustain at least some damage by pests…it is part of the natural balance. But pests don’t overpopulate a natural ecosystem due to the presence of natural enemies. In a healthy yard with its native plants and pesticide-free environment, pests will appear—and so will natural enemies.

THE INSECTS – Wild Friends, Natural Enemies

lady bug
Ladybug feeding on cottonwood leaf beetle eggs, photo by James Solomon, USDA Forest Service

Move Over, Lady - It has long been known that ladybugs (or lady beetles), especially in their larval stage, are "good bugs" with voracious appetites for aphids. Without dismissing the value of ladybugs as garden friends, there are other natural pest enemies that are much less conspicuous but even more valuable. The lowly "gnat" that flies by your ear may in fact be the tiny eulophid wasp – a full-grown one is just one-eighth inch – on her way to lay up to one hundred eggs in the pupae of tree-destroying beetles.

Predatory and parasitoid flies and wasps are key players in the biological control of insect pests. Many, in fact, are reared in laboratories and dispersed into crops, forests and neighborhoods to control exotic insect pests (i.e. elm leaf beetle). Click on the link below to learn more about the tiny denizens of your yard and other beneficial organisms.

THE PLANTS – Nectar for Natural Pest Enemies

hover fly
Syrphid (hover) Fly, photo by Carl Dennis, Auburn University

Nectar is an important dietary supplement for beneficial wasps and flies. Asters and their cousins (such as daisies and goldenrod) offer excellent resources and there are native varieties in every part of the country. Flowers that are composites - where many small symmetrical flowers occur in a central disk - are perfect for small wasps and flies such as the common predaceous hover fly (pictured left). Many of the beneficial insects are small and require a short flower structure in order to access the nectar.

These same flowering plants will attract a wide range of important pollinators such as native bees, butterflies and honeybees. When they produce seed, these plants will provide a valuable food source for birds and other wildlife in the fall and winter.

Plant a variety of plant types such as groundcover, trees, and shrubs, mimicking natural growth patterns to form complex habitat that will be home to a greater variety of beneficial insects.

THE INSECTS – Information and pictures of the lesser-known but effective natural enemies that occupy your backyard.

PLANTS TO ATTRACT BENEFICIAL INSECTS – Your guide to some stellar examples of the useful plants that will attract a variety of beneficial insects. Look for examples of similar native flowers occurring in your region.






Joe-pye Weed


For more information about beneficial insects please visit:

Xerxes Society

Beneficial Insects in Your Garden


If you’re interested in finding out what rare and unusual birds are being seen in California (or anywhere in the US, for that matter), you should check out Sialia, aka The Birding Lists Digest.  Sialia ( was created to help birders find out "what's going on lately" in various regions of the U.S. with a minimum of hassle. The Digest automatically compiles all posts to dozens of birding email lists and organizes them by region, by day, and by list. Birders can view the current day's messages, or browse messages from the last 30 days. This system allows birders to find information about rare bird sightings and other goings-on around the country in a timely and efficient manner.  Check it out!


February 17th, 2016 – April 4th, 2016
(All sightings pertain to San Joaquin County)
Submitted by Liz West

On a February 23rd walk in his neighborhood, Jim Rowoth found a flock of Red Crossbills feeding in Liquidambar trees on Edan Ave. east of Pacific Avenue, in Stockton. They were last located February 29th.

On February 22nd Kevin & Melissa Henry photographed a Long-eared Owl in their yard in north Stockton.

A Black-and-white Warbler continued at Lodi Lake Wilderness Area in Lodi through March 8th.

As of March 10th the Eurasian Wigeon at Isenberg Preserve on Woodbridge Rd. was still being seen.

Phil Kahler found a pair of Blue-winged Teal at the Tracy sewage plant on March 31st. They were still present as of April 2nd.

San Joaquin Audubon Society
PO Box 7755, Stockton, California 95267

For more information contact:
San Joaquin Audubon Society President: Dale Smith,

Send website comments or questions to:

Kasey Foley:




For San Joaquin Audubon Field Trips visit our Field Trips Page.




 Membership in the National Audubon Society includes:


San Joaquin Audubon's Hoot Owl newsletter 6 times per year.

AUDUBON magazine.

Monthly field trips led by San Joaquin Audubon members.

General Membership meetings from September-December and February-April.  We often have local experts presenting topics such as Beginning Birding, Gardening for birds and butterflies, Raptor Rehabilitation, Sandhill Cranes-our local winter wonders, Swainson's Hawk conservation, Slide presentations on trips to Mexico, Galapagos, Honduras, Florida,and much, much more.

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description:


Join Audubon!
Join today for only $20 -- 43% off the basic rate -- and receive 6 issues of the beautiful, award-winning AUDUBON magazine, membership in your local chapter, plus many other membership benefits. 

To sign up today please click hereĽ Audubon Membership