Redwood Region Audubon Society advocates for protection of birds and wildlife by supporting local conservation efforts to protect wildlife and their habitat.

Our Catio Tour on Saturday, September 18 was a great success!
See photos of a few of the great catios that people visited here!

 
We are offering a variety of guided bird walks, including some new ones! Please check our calendar for dates. 
 
Our COVID-19 protocols:
- Current federal, state and local COVID-19 guidelines will be followed at all RRAS activities.
- Be prepared to wear a mask and practice social distancing.If you have not been vaccinated, please wear a mask and social distance during the field trip.
 
 
Friday, October 8, 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., This program was recorded. View it here using passcode !c1x!L4q
“Uncovering the Hidden World of a Secretive Seabird” with Jennifer Bailey Guerrero.
 

The Marbled Murrelet is an endangered seabird that nests in old-growth, coastal forests from central California to Alaska, up to 50 miles inland. This seabird species has long challenged both scientists and land managers alike with its unique life history and secretive nature. With little known information about murrelet nesting in Oregon, public and private forest managers struggle with how to address the conservation of this species. Since 2017, Oregon State University scientists have been tracking this elusive species on its long journey from the ocean to the coastal forests, collecting data that will help to inform future policy on land management.

Jennifer Bailey Guerrero grew up exploring all that Oregon’s wild has to offer. From the coast to the mountains to the plains, she set out at a young age to spend as much time outdoors as possible, a passion that gradually evolved into a career in science. Jennifer received a Bachelor’s of Science in Environmental Earth Science from Northern Colorado University in 2008 and a Master’s of Science in Biological Oceanography from the University of Rhode Island – Graduate School of Oceanography in 2012. She now serves as the program manager for the Oregon Marbled Murrelet Project and provides the ocean expertise for ongoing research efforts.

 
 
Join us Friday, September 10, at 7:00 p.m. for two on-line presentations on local and regional fire management.  Find our Zoom presentation here.
Margo Robbins who will present “Traditional Fire Practices in a Contemporary Context” and Lenya Quinn-Davidson will discuss “Bringing Prescribed Fire Back to the People”.
 

Margo Robbins is Executive Director of the Cultural Fire Management Council (CFMC), a 501 (c)(3) organization located on the upper Yurok Reservation in far Northern California, and co-founder and co-lead of the Indigenous People's Burn Network (IPBN), will discuss how these two entities are helping tribes revive their traditional burn practices.

 

The IPBN is a support network led by Native American people who are revitalizing their traditional fire cultures in a contemporary context.   The long-term goal of the IPBN is to assist indigenous nations across the U.S. and abroad to reclaim their traditional fire regimes.  Cultural practitioners of the Yurok, Hoopa, and Karuk tribes, in collaboration with The Nature Conservancy piloted this project which culminated in the creation of the Yurok, Hoopa, Karuk Healthy Country Plan which outlines a pathway for the three tribes to reclaim their traditional burn practices.  The CFMC is in the process of implementing the strategies outlined in the Yurok, Hoopa, Karuk Healthy Country Plan which include 1) Establish a family-led burn program, 2) Build local capacity, 3) Initiate Collaborative burning and learning opportunities, 4) Strengthen state and federal support of cultural burning.

 

The mission of the Cultural Fire Management Council is “to facilitate the practice of cultural burning on the Yurok Reservation and Ancestral lands, which will lead to a healthier ecosystem for all plants and animals, long term fire protection for residents, and provide a platform that will in turn support the traditional hunting and gathering activities of Yurok." Their long-term goal is to fully reclaim our sovereign right to use fire as a tool to restore Yurok ancestral territory to a healthy, viable ecosystem that supports the cultural lifeways of Yurok people.

 

The CFMC has several strategies for achieving these goals. These include ongoing implementation of a cultural burn fire program, strengthening state and federal support of cultural burning, building local capacity, public outreach about good fire, and intergenerational transfer of knowledge. 

 

Margo graduated from Humboldt State University in 1987. Margo comes from the traditional Yurok village of Morek and is an enrolled member of the Yurok Tribe. She gathers and prepares traditional food and medicine and is a basket weaver and regalia maker. She is also the Indian Education Director for the Klamath-Trinity Joint Unified School district, a mom, and a grandma.

 

Lenya Quinn-Davidson, Area Fire Advisor for the University of California Cooperative Extension, will discuss recent efforts to bring prescribed fire back into the hands of landowners, community members, and cultural practitioners throughout California. Prescribed fire is used to increase biodiversity, reduce fire risk, and increase landscape and community resiliency, and recent catastrophic wildfire seasons have piqued national interest in increasing its use. Lenya will share her community-based work in Humboldt County, as well as statewide policy and community organizing activities that are changing the face of prescribed fire throughout the West.

 
Lenya’s primary focus is on the human connection with fire, and increasing the use of prescribed fire for habitat restoration, invasive species control, and ecosystem and community resiliency. Lenya works on prescribed fire issues at various scales, including locally in Humboldt County, where she works with private landowners to bring fire back as a land management tool; at the state level, where she collaborates on policy and research related to prescribed fire; and nationally, through her work and leadership on prescribed fire training exchanges (TREX).
 
Lenya received a Bachelor of Science from UC Berkeley and a Master of Arts in Social Science from Humboldt State University. She is passionate about using prescribed fire to inspire and empower people, from rural ranchers to agency leaders to young women pursuing careers in fire management, and everyone in between.
 
 
 
View the recording of our Friday, August 13, presentation: “Changes in Nesting Bird Populations in the Los Angeles Area, 1995 to Present”  
 
Passcode for recording:  3ks.%$^x
 
with Daniel S. Cooper, Ph.D.Research Associate in the Department of Ornithology at Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History and President of Cooper Ecological Monitoring, Inc.
 

Bird populations, particularly in urban areas, are in constant flux, with some species adapting and thriving, and others declining. With colleagues, Dan  recently investigated the role of ecological and behavioral traits for more than 50 species of nesting birds in the Los Angeles area using two datasets separated by over 20 years, the Los Angeles Breeding Bird Atlas (1995-1999) and newer data from eBird, an online platform archiving bird sightings that has been active since c. 2010. He will discuss trends in species, explore traits that appear to confer success in urban areas, and offer predictions as to which species – or types of species – will continue to thrive in urban and urbanizing southern California.  He will also discuss species that declined during this time period, and offer suggestions for their conservation.

 
Dan is a lifelong resident of southern California, and is regarded as an expert on the birds of the region. Through research and independent consulting, he has spent more than 20 years conducting surveys and analyzing bird populations from the deserts to the coast, including rare and protected species such as the California Gnatcatcher and the coastal Cactus Wren. Dan has served on many environmental advisory boards and committees, including most recently on the Oak Park -Park and recreation Planning Committee. Since 2012, he and his family have made their home in Oak Park, where he enjoys the natural beauty and outdoor recreation opportunities, even if his two kids don't.

 
Friday, July 9, at 7:00 p.m.   This Zoom meeting was recorded. Watch it here.
Passcode: c$28B$Gj
 
Humboldt Bay: Premier Site of Conservation Importance to Shorebirds Along the Pacific Americas Flyway with Mark Colwell.  
 
As quintessential migrants, many shorebirds wend their way between distant breeding and non-breeding grounds, stopping at key wetlands to refuel. Humboldt Bay is one of those critical sites along the Pacific Americas Flyway. Recently, the bay received added recognition within the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network for its year-round importance to shorebirds. Mark will summarize the information justifying this recognition and address conservation threats that jeopardize shorebirds populations.
 

Mark Colwell is a professor in the Wildlife Department at Humboldt State University (HSU) where he has taught since 1989. Mark began studying shorebirds as a graduate student, working on Wilson’s Phalarope and Spotted Sandpiper. HSU honored Mark as Scholar of the Year in 2007 and Outstanding Professor in 2013. He finished a 20-yr study of Snowy Plovers in 2019 and continues to work to promote Humboldt Bay’s importance to shorebirds.

 
 
Friday, June 11, online presentation:
“Ornithology in Equatorial Borneo – On the Brink of Discovery” with Dan Froehlich.
(This program was recorded. View it here. Passcode: +wZ@4PNy)
 

When you’re tackling “one of the biggest remaining biogeographic puzzles of modern times” you’ve got to bring stamina and perseverance. Eureka moments in Field Ornithology aren’t pursued with a peak experience at dawn on top of a mountain, but by slogging through, day after day, in tough conditions on the quest for one bit of data after another: we’re looking for puzzle pieces scattered in the jungle, wondering what the picture we put together will look like.

Dan will share an update on research he is conducting in some of the hottest forests on earth, right on the equator in Malaysian Borneo. The team he works with is tracking down the life history cycles of little-known understory birds with curious names like Fluffy-backed Tit-Babbler and Hook-billed Bulbul and bringing to light interesting patterns in the strategies they have evolved in these ancient habitats. Come and get distracted by the amazing creatures and adventures encountered along the way - and the sobering reality of some of these last great places on earth where the elusive Bornean Bristlehead ominously appears out of nowhere and only vestiges of the kingdom of the Black-naped Monarch remain.

Dan is an ornithological vagrant on the heels of avian phenomena. His peregrinations around the globe yield comparative insights into constraints driving life-history scheduling from highly seasonal polar taxa to stable tropical forest species, with an emphasis on the evolution of molt strategies. His migrations into academia include overwintering stops at Carleton College in Minnesota and the University of Washington in Seattle, but stints at field ornithology programs, including at Manomet Observatory, Long Point Bird Observatory, The Institute for Bird Populations, The Burke Museum and Vogelwarte Radolfzell, among many others, proved formative. Currently, he is looking forward to the breeding season in Washington State.



 
 

Friday, May 14, 7:00 p.m. 

“What Do You Know About Saw-whet Owls?”
(This program was recorded. Watch it here. Access Passcode: ^7M8+aSP)

These little birds are all around us, year-round, fighting out their fierce lives in our forests and woodlands. Come learn more about these neighbors from Ken Sobon, Director of the Northern Saw-whet Owl Research and Education Project in Northern California.

Ken is an avid birder, field trip leader, Vice President of Altacal Audubon Society, and is now the Northern California representative on Audubon California Board of Directors. For the past five seasons he has been the Director of the Northern Saw-whet Owl fall migration monitoring project. In addition, since 1995, as a middle school teacher in Oroville, he has shared his love of science and birding with students both in the classroom and in the field.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The County of Humboldt has submitted a Mitigated Negative Declaration on Nordic Aquafarms' proposed project. Audubon's main concern is that the salt water intake could be as much as 10,000,000 gallons a day, and fish larvae cannot be screened out. This could lead to a decrease in fish populations in the bay, and consequently food for birds. The public has until Monday, May 24, to submit comments.
More information here:
 
Did you miss the virtual Godwit Days Festival April 16 -18? Find it on YouTube to view the presentations.
 
 
The Local Wildlands Conservancy Preserves: Behold the Beauty
This program was recorded. Watch it herePasscode: $TWak2V5
 

The Wildlands Conservancy expanded their network of preserves to include the North Coast of Humboldt County. First, in 2008, they acquired the Eel River Estuary Preserve, a 1200-acre property on the south spit of the Eel River. This preserve includes coastal marsh, pasture lands, eight miles of trails, and three miles of dunes for visitors to explore, as well as excellent birding prospects for grassland, waterfowl, raptors, and a myriad of seabirds.

 
Wildlands expanded their local holdings again in 2018, with the addition of the Seawood Cape Preserve, two miles north of Trinidad. Here, visitors can hike the coastal bluffs on a trail down to Scotty's Point to enjoy vast views of the coast, bird and marine mammal watching, tide-pooling, or fishing.

Alex Blessing grew up in the mountains above Santa Cruz California, where he fostered a love for everything outdoors. His youth was spent exploring and learning everything he could about the natural world in his backyard. After attending Humboldt State University, where he completed his undergraduate studies in Natural Resource Planning and Interpretation, he volunteered for the Americorps’ Watershed Stewards Project. There he found a love for freshwater fisheries, especially salmon, while surveying creeks on the Eel River and in Coastal Mendocino. This led to work with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife as a Fisheries Technician, monitoring salmonids and assisting with restoration projects, such as the Salt River Restoration project where he learned about Wildlands. Joining the Wildlands team in 2014 as a ranger on the Eel River Estuary Preserve, he continues to restore habitat and share the wonder of the place with all who come visit. 

Join Zoom Meeting

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89017947650?pwd=cS9sWmIyZ3hjSml0K3NSQ0JoUmowUT09

 
 
 
Friday, March 12, at 7:00 p.m.
“How to ID those Raptorial Masters of the Sky - Eagles, Hawks and Falcons in Flight” with Russ Namitz.
This informative program was recorded. You may want to watch it more than once!
Watch it here! Passcode: a90$39Al
 

With practice and experience, one can quickly separate different groups of raptors based on flight style, gestalt and plumage characteristics. Learn some tips and tricks about raptor identification on the wing, raptors at a distance and some local raptor viewing spots to practice your skills.

 

Russ Namitz was born and raised in Lincoln CityOregon. At age 9, he was captivated by the furtive Pacific Northwest denizen of dank woods, the Varied Thrush. With a few stepping stones along the way, Russ really began actively birding the summer after graduating from Pacific University in Forest GroveOR. His first, of many seasonal biology field jobs to follow, was searching for nesting Northern Goshawks in the Okanogan NF in Washington.

 
In 2002, Russ finally took an Ornithology class, coincidentally from Humboldt State University. He enjoyed a year of birding in the area, meeting local celebrities and rubbing elbows with the talented birders and riff raff (sometimes the same people) in the area. Russ is a pelagic bird guide for Oregon Pelagic Tours and currently holds the Oregon Big Year record of 381 species.
 
 
 
 
Watch the recording of our Friday, February 12, presentation:

“Of Puffins and Petrels: Conserving Seabirds of the Outer Coast of Washington” with Dr. Peter Hodum.

Here is the linkPasscode: %5wUa^Ey

    Although Washington is blessed with a rich community of breeding and wintering seabirds, relatively little is known about the ecology and conservation status of many of the species, particularly the burrow-nesters.  This relative lack of knowledge extends to iconic species such as the Tufted Puffin, a species recently listed as Endangered by Washington State.  Moving between islands, seascapes, and species of the Outer Coast, Peter Hodum will share stories about a collaborative research program focused on improving our understanding of the ecology and conservation status of species such as the Tufted Puffin, Rhinoceros Auklet, Cassin’s Auklet and Leach’s and Fork-tailed Storm-Petrels.

    Dr. Peter Hodum is an associate professor in the Biology Department and the Environmental Policy and Decision Making Program at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, WA, and the Chile Program Director for Oikonos Ecosystem Knowledge, a conservation non-profit organization. His research focuses primarily on the conservation and ecology of threatened seabirds and island ecosystems in Chile and Washington State.  His work also has a strong focus on community-based conservation, including how communities can be more effectively and authentically involved in conservation. 
 
For dial-in information for this presentation, please go here.
 
 
Friday, January 8, at 7:00 p.m.
Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge: Old and New
Humboldt Bay NWR was established in 1971, to conserve precious habitat for a diversity of wildlife. Learn more as retired Refuge Manager, Eric Nelson and current Refuge Manager, Cashell Villa, discuss the history of the National Wildlife Refuge System, key points where Audubon fits in, the history HBNWR, and where HBNWR and the Refuge System might be headed into the future.

Eric is from Sonoma County. He received his BS and MS in Wildlife Management from HSU and worked at refuges in AK, WA, OR, WY, and CA.  The last 17 years of his career were spent as Refuge Manager at Humboldt Bay NWR Complex.  In retirement he’s enjoying family, birding, traveling, hiking, camping, biking, and politics (just kidding).

Cashell is from San Luis Obispo, California and received her BS in Wildlife Biology from University of Alaska, Fairbanks. She has worked as a biologist in refuges across Alaska including Arctic, Tetlin, Selawik and Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuges.  She served as the Deputy Refuge Manager at Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge on the Big Island of Hawaii until late 2019 when she accepted the Refuge Manager position at Humboldt Bay NWR Complex. Cashell and her family enjoy hiking, biking, camping, traveling and exploring their new Humboldt Bay home.
 
 
Friday, December 11,  7:00 p.m.: “Christmas Bird Count Prep Talk and Photo Sharing” with Ken Burton 
 
This program was recorded. Watch it here.  Passcode: V7u1q=cy

Due to the pandemic, this year's Christmas Bird Count (CBC) will be unlike any other in the count's 120-year history - but it will happen!  Veteran CBCer, Ken Burton, will lead an interactive discussion via ZOOM of various aspects of the CBC including its history, methodology, and scientific value; this year's modified protocols; tips for counters, especially effort tracking and estimating bird numbers; local counting opportunities; and bird identification as requested. 
 
The content and direction of the program will be driven largely by participant input.  We can discuss anything relevant to the count; what would make you a better counter?  The program will conclude with an opportunity to share a few of your local bird photos from the past year, so pick out your favorites!

Ken Burton has been deeply involved with RRAS since moving here in 2005.  He is the author of Common Birds of Northwest California and A Birding Guide to Humboldt County, both published by RRAS.  He coordinates the chapter's Saturday morning Arcata Marsh walk program.  He has participated in the CBC almost every year since the mid 1970s, including counts in Arizona, California, Indiana, Mexico, and New York.
 
Join us via ZOOM. For dial-in info, click here.
 
 
Birdathon Teams Raised Over $10,000 This Year!
 
 

Every year, for the past six years, the Northcoast Environmental Center (NEC) and Redwood Region Audubon Society (RRAS) have held a fundraiser in honor of Tim McKay.
 
Tim was a great friend to the environment and Executive Director of the NEC for thirty years. While at the helm of that organization, Tim began holding annual Birdathons and splitting the funds raised with RRAS. The money is donated by team sponsors who pledge to contribute a set amount for every species observed.
 
Tim had the charisma to cajole many folks from the local birding community to participate, which involves forming teams of birders whose goal is to see, hear, and identify as many bird species as possible within a 24-hour period.  After his untimely death at the age of 59, the Birdathon lapsed for a while, but some of his old friends rejuvenated it as a way of remembering him. The Birdathon funds are vital to these two largely volunteer organizations.  The money is used to educate our community about the many challenges facing our local ecosystems, and to lobby for the wild animals and plants that have no voice.  

 

 
 
Our Friday, November 13  7:00 p.m. ZOOM program:
Status of Spotted Owls in Northwestern California and the Impact of Barred Owls with Peter Carlson was recorded. Enjoy listening here. Passcode: FGLVo$61

Barred Owl populations have been increasing in the
Pacific Northwest for several decades and are now impacting Northern Spotted Owls throughout their range. To address this problem, several Barred Owl removal studies have been initiated which included areas of local long-term demographic studies on Green Diamond property, the Hoopa Reservation, and the Six Rivers and Shasta-Trinity National Forests.
 
Peter Carlson, currently working for Colorado State University as a long-time member of the research team for the studies on national forest lands, will discuss some of the impacts of Barred Owls, the recent trends of the owls, and status of the removal studies. While the impacts of Barred Owls are of real concern, that is only one of several ongoing threats to the Spotted Owl. Peter will also discuss the Barred Owl issue in the context of multiple stressors.

Peter began studying Spotted Owls in the
San Bernardino mountains in 1992, and has worked on the NW California demography study since 1994. He has some fond memories of working briefly with Barred Owls and other raptors, in native habitat, in Illinois in 1986, prior to beginning his MS work in Wildlife Ecology at the University of Florida. He previously worked for Humboldt State University as the field coordinator for the demography study, and since 2005, has worked through Colorado State University as a Research Associate for the study. He lives in Arcata and has been involved with five Northern Spotted Owl meta-analyses. 
 

Friday, October 9, at 7:00 p.m ZOOM Presentation:

“From Field to Folio: Drawing Birds from Inspiration to Completion” with local artist/illustrator, Gary Bloomfield. 
 
(This program was recorded. Click here to watch it, using the passcode dp79r#m%)
 

Have you been wondering how to either start or improve on sketching birds? In this presentation, Gary will give a crash course on bird anatomy and explore how to apply this knowledge to sketching birds in the field or from your own photo and video references. Have a sketchbook handy!

He will present examples of his field sketches and finished paintings and demonstrate how to use your smartphone to “digiscope” photos to get useful references. (Digiscoping is taking digital photos through the eyepiece of a telescope).
 

Gary is a wildlife artist and illustrator, working primarily in ink and/or transparent watercolor and specializing in birds.

His published work appears in educational coloring books, various brochures, pamphlets, posters, maps, interpretive signs and displays, and books.  His work can also be found on numerous T-shirts.

 

Interested in birds for almost as long as he can remember, Gary  started actively birding when he was nine, and since then he has been an avid birder and occasional field ornithologist. He holds a bachelor's degree in scientific illustration from Humboldt State University.

He has lived in Arcata, CA since 1980.

 
Friday, September 11, 7:00 - 8:00 pm
Heather Kenny presented a ZOOM program (pass code for recorded program: 0FA=WpxY) on her research evidence that
 
Female bluebirds with high aggression are better at coping with noise pollution.
 
She found that female aggression levels influenced whether bluebirds settled in noisy or quiet breeding sites, and partly determined the effect of traffic noise on parental care of nestlings. More details here.
 
 
August 14, 2020  7:00 pm
This program was recorded. You can watch it here. The password: R&&45%YA.
 
Planning Future Restoration for Long-Term Survival of Greater Sage-Grouse with Beth Fitzpatrick.
 

Populations of Greater Sage-Grouse, the largest grouse in North America, have been declining across the West; its distribution reduced by about 50% since European settlement. In the spring, sage-grouse males dance and display at sites called leks in an attempt to attract females. If sage-grouse are to survive, their lek sites, nesting sites, wintering sites, and the landscape connections between them need to remain intact. More details here.

 
The Ecological Role of Raptors and the Impacts of Rat Poison, presented by Jaime Carlino.
 
This ZOOM meeting was recorded. If you missed it, or want to watch it again, here's your link.

Rodenticide use is pervasive world-wide and the costs to rodent-consuming wildlife species such as raptors, as well as pets and children, are high.

Raptors Are The Solution (RATS) is a non-profit organization working with a coalition of NGOs, agencies, scientists, municipalities, and individuals to eliminate toxic rodenticides from the food web. RATS and its regional chapters encourage people to be proactive in managing rodent issues without the use of poisons.More details here.
 
Jaime will give a brief overview of rodenticides, their effects on a variety of non-target species, describe what RATS and HUM-RATS are doing to address this issue, and provide information on how to manage rodent issues without using poisons.



 

In this year of the coronavirus pandemic, 160 home-from-school kids pulled out paints, pencils, pastels, or paste to enter the Student Bird Art Contest.

 

 
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, entries for the Student Nature Writing Contest were down this year, but 23 students submitted works of prose
and poetry.

 
 
The ko' ko', a flightless bird native to Guam was exinct in the wild, and is now returned and thriving! Photo from the San Diego Zoo.
 
 



 
The October 2021 Sandpiper is available. Read about the return of prey-go-neesh (California Condor,) birding in Colorado, and a lot more!
 
See all of the field trips we're offering in October here!
 
The beautiful, inspiring results of the Student Bird Art Contest, sponsored by RRAS and FOAM (Friends of Arcata Marsh), are available for you to see here!
 
And the winning entries in the Student Nature Writing Contest are available for you to enjoy here.
 
 
Would you like to know about recent bird sightings in Humboldt County? Here are two easy ways to make that happen!
 
 
Get the great new birding guide by Ken Burton and Leslie Scopes Anderson!  It links well-known and obscure birding sites, some of them only recently opened to the public, into 25 routes spanning the entire county.
 
 
The 3rd edition of RRAS’ Common Birds of Northwest California by local birder Kenneth Burton and photographer Leslie Anderson is now available!
Details available here.
 

Keep Up to Date Via RRAS Listserve

Be reminded about field trips and programs and learn about upcoming meetings, public hearings, and symposia of interest to RRAS members and other concerned nature lovers.

Create an account at https://groups.io/ if you don't already have one, then search for rras and join us!
 
And follow us on Facebook!
 
 
Try a Bird Sit, a Powerful Mindfulness Practice, presented by Audubon!
 
Looking for inspiration while practicing social distancing? Try Audubon's Joy of Birds for ideas and wonderful photos!
 
 
 
California Condors will be flying here again - hopefully next year!
 


 
 


 
 
 
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