San Joaquin County Annual Summer Butterfly Count
Saturday, June 22, 2013
We wiill hold the annual San Joaquin County Summer Butterfly Count. This family-friendly field trip is a cooperative project of the San Joaquin Audubon Society, the University of California Cooperative Extension, and the North American Butterfly Association.
We will begin at 8:30 am at the Nature Center at Oak Grove Regional Park on 8-mile Road and finish the count between 3:00 and 4:00 pm. No experience or expertise is required for butterfly counters. All participants will need to bring a hat, sunscreen, water, and lunch or a snack (and books, binoculars, and nets if you have them). Call Kathy Schick (209) 612-5130 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
BREEDING BIRD SURVEY
Volunteers are needed to conduct roadside Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) routes in California during 2013. For those not familiar with the survey methodology, the BBS is the national survey which is the primary source for breeding bird population trends in North America. This survey, which began in 1966, has over 4100 randomly located roadside routes across the U.S. and Canada (and efforts are underway to expand into Mexico). Each route is 24.5 miles long with 50 stops spaced 0.5 miles apart. At each stop during a 3 minute period, the observer tallies all birds seen and heard within 1/4 mile. A route begins 30 minutes before local sunrise and continues until you finish which is normally around 10 a.m.
The route needs to be run just once each year during the months of May or June; exact dates vary with each route. The effort would involve a pre-survey scouting trip just to familiarize yourself with the route and all of the stops and a little paper/computer work after the route is completed. On average, volunteers spend about 10 hours per route each year. 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. Maps showing the available routes can be found here: http://www.pwrc.usgs.gov/bbs/results/routemaps/index.html
The static maps can give you an idea of the general direction of the route while the interactive maps will show you the start location and a bird species list for the route (just click on the “vacant” icon).
If you are interested in volunteering for a survey route or two, please contact Lyann Comrack (contact info listed below). Thank you!!
California Department of Fish & Game
Wildlife Branch - Nongame Wildlife Program
1812 9th Street
Sacramento, CA 95811
What should I do if I find a baby bird?
At some point, nearly everyone who spends time outdoors finds a baby bird—one that is unable to fly well and seems lost or abandoned. Our first impulse is to adopt the helpless creature, but this often does more harm than good—and in most cases, the young bird doesn't need our help at all.
The first thing to do is to figure out if it's a nestling or a fledgling. If it's sparsely feathered and not capable of hopping, walking, flitting, or gripping tightly to your finger, it's a nestling. If so, the nest is almost certainly nearby. If you can find the nest (it may be well hidden), put the bird back as quickly as possible. Don't worry—parent birds do not recognize their young by smell!
If the bird is feathered and capable of hopping or flitting, and its toes can tightly grip your finger or a twig, it's a fledgling. Fledglings are generally adorable, fluffy, with a tiny stub of a tail. It's easy to jump to the conclusion that the bird has been abandoned and needs you. But fledglings need a special diet, and they need to learn about behavior and vocalizations from their parents—things we can't provide.
Fortunately, the vast majority of "abandoned" baby birds are perfectly healthy fledglings. Their parents are nearby and watching out for them. The parents may be attending to four or five young scattered in different directions, but they will most likely return to care for the one you have found shortly after you leave.
When fledglings leave their nest they rarely return, so even if you see the nest it's not a good idea to put the bird back in—it will hop right back out. Usually there is no reason to intervene at all beyond putting the bird on a nearby perch out of harm's way. Fledglings produce sounds that their parents recognize, and one of them will return and care for it after you leave.
If you have found both parents dead, or are otherwise absolutely certain that the bird was orphaned, then your best course of action is to bring it to a wildlife rehabilitator. You can find a rehabilitator in your area by going to: http://wildliferehabinfo.org
WALK ON THE WILDSIDE!
May 18th, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Come take a 'Walk on the Wildside!' at this free outdoor festival with live animals, kids’ activities, tours, music, conservation booths, and more!
If you'd enjoy a fun, FREE family-oriented day in the country with lively entertainment and up-close personal views of many wildlife species, mark your calendar and plan to attend Walk on the Wildside. Join Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge and local partners in celebrating International Migratory Bird Day and local conservation successes on the SRCSD Bufferlands Beach Lake Preserve.
This fun outdoor celebration highlighting local efforts in protecting and restoring native Central Valley habitats and wildlife offers a great opportunity to access normally closed wildlife areas on the SRCSD Bufferlands and Stone Lakes NWR. Explore wetlands and a riparian forest on your own or with a guided tour, and discover the rich natural history right in our own backyard. Children can win a prize by participating in fun activities run by the local Girl Scouts and watch live wildlife during special presentations by Wild Things, Inc. Visit exhibits, buy a snack to eat, and listen to toe-tapping music by Horse Sense.
Directions: Exit I-5 at Pocket Road and head east. At Freeport Blvd., turn south. Continue two miles through the town of Freeport and past the golf course. Turn left at the signs and continue until you reach the Beach Lake Picnic Area. For a map to the event, please visit the SRCSD Bufferlands webpage.
INVESTIGATING LOCAL BIRDS
Recently I was surprised to hear from one of my Delta College students from 20 years ago. It was nice to get an e-mail from Phil Kahler who thanked me for the great times that he had back when he was a Delta College biology student. He had joined us on two Christmas Bird Counts and still remembered the first Phainopepla and Lewis's Woodpecker that I had pointed out to him all those years ago. I helped him to get San Joaquin (Stockton) Audubon support for his participation in the Audubon Expedition Institute. Students and instructors traveled all over the United States in a yellow school bus for a college year. When he returned he presented a program to Audubon about his experiences. He has been teaching high school biology in Hillsboro Oregon now for 20 years. His parents still live in Tracy and belong to San Joaquin Audubon. San Joaquin Audubon gave Phil my contact information.
Phil has a bird blind and feeding station on his campus where students conduct their own bird research studies. They participate in the Cornell Lab of Ornithology "Bird Sleuth Program.” Many of his students have had their research papers published in "Classroom Birdscope.” To get his 10th grade biology students engaged in relevant community science, he introduced them to local birds. Now his students annually study local birds. They have done many studies including analysis of fluctuations in the number of species and the number of individuals per species as they vary from year to year. Other students in Virginia have studied annual arrival and departure dates. Data can also be compared to that from other areas.
Check out student work at http:/tvja.org/sciencestudentreports.htm Read about their feeding station at http://tvja.org/science/birdblind.htm Learn about BirdSleuth at www.birds.cornell.edul/birdsleuth Project FeederWatch can be found at www.feederwatch.org and eBird at http://ebird.org These last two data bases make it possible for students to connect with people around the world as they make observations, pose questions, conduct investigations, and build deeper connections with the natural world. Also see an
article in the December 2012 issue of "The Science Teacher” which Phil helped to write. It includes a section entitled "Local Bird Study" about the work of his students.
May I make a suggestion for a New Year’s Resolution? Remember a teacher or other person from your past who did something to get you started birding (or something else which you have enjoyed) and persuaded you to continue or develop your interests). Then get in touch with them and tell them what you have been doing. It is appreciated.
Steve Stocking, Education Chair and Wallace -Bellota Christmas Bird Count compiler, email@example.com
February 20, 2013 – April 19, 2013
(All sightings pertain to San Joaquin County)
Submitted by Liz West
The Green-tailed Towhee, found by Ralph Baker at Jacob Meyers Park was present through March 13th.
David Yee found an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull at the Isenberg Crane Preserve on Woodbridge Rd. February 22nd. It arrived with about 500 other gulls during the evening Crane fly in. It was not found on the 23rd but reappeared on the evening of the 24th.
On March 31st, Michelle Townsley spotted one of the three Chestnut-backed Chickadees, found by David Yee at Oak Grove Regional Park, January 23rd. It was last reported April 1st.
On April 19th, Joe Eaton observed a Solitary Sandpiper at a small pond on Collier Rd. east of Linn Rd. north of Clements. This species is considered casual in Spring in the Central Valley, but there has been a notable push through northern California in recent weeks (David Yee, pers.com.).
San Joaquin Audubon Society
PO Box 7755, Stockton, California 95267
For more information contact:
San Joaquin Audubon Society President: Lorna Elness firstname.lastname@example.org
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