April 2020 Yellowbill

31 Mar April 2020 Yellowbill


President’s Message

Greetings, FAS members and friends. I hope that this message finds you healthy, safe, and sane amidst these uncertain times. As most of you are already aware, FAS has cancelled all chapter events through at least April 30, at which time officers and board members will evaluate the situation to determine whether or not further cancellation is necessary. Unfortunately, it is likely that the remainder of the FAS events scheduled for the spring season, which stretches into early June, will need to be cancelled. Disappointing as this may be, it is extremely important that we endeavor to protect the health of the community. We will be sure to keep you posted via email and social media.

With so many businesses and public places closing temporarily, and with stricter shelter-in- place orders coming into effect, more and more of us are hunkering down. Undoubtedly, many people will experience feelings of stir-craziness. One thing that FAS is currently working on to help those wanting an escape without leaving their homes is virtual tours of local (and perhaps some not so local) birding destinations. This will give you the chance to sit back, relax, and let FAS bring the scenery and the birds to you. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for updates!

Luckily, the current shelter-in-place mandate that California is under permits residents to spend time outside for purposes such as exercising, provided that social distance is maintained. Hopefully some of you are still birding and enjoying what early spring has to offer. Feel free to share any wildlife or scenery photos with FAS by messaging us on Facebook or Instagram, or by emailing me directly at tanagergirl@gmail.com (I will be sure they get to the right place).

To end this message on an extra-positive note, I’d like to share with you a few pictures of some local birds. In order, they are a male Lawrence’s Goldfinch, a Northern Rough-winged Swallow near a potential nest site along the San Joaquin River, and a male California Quail.

Please take care of yourselves!

Rachel Clark

FAS President

Lawrence’s Goldfinch by Rachel Clark

Northern Rough-winged Swallow by Rachel Clark

California Quail by Rachel Clark

Annual Report Now Available

Fresno Audubon Society (FAS) has prepared its first annual report to membership. You can read or download the report here. The report details FAS activities and the board of directors as well as income and expenses for 2019. If you have any comments or suggestions for the annual report, please send them to admin@fresnoaudubon.org.


Membership with Fresno Audubon Society is available for students, for individuals or for families. We also offer a lifetime membership. Your dues will help us pay for our meeting room rental, insurance for field trips and citizen science, communications and other costs of doing business. Please see our annual report for more information how we spend dues money.

Fresno Audubon society membership levels:

$15 Student
$25 Individual
$35 Family
$1000 Golden Eagle (Life)

Our membership year runs from 1 September to 31 August the following year. To join Fresno Audubon Society or to renew your membership, please visit our website here.

April General Meeting

There will be no general meeting in April.

Field Trips

Our website has a calendar that allows you to see all the details of upcoming trips as each become finalized. Included in the details is a link to a map showing the meeting point for the trip. The calendar is subscribable, which allows you to integrate it into your electronic calendar. Updates to events will appear as they are made. We encourage you to subscribe. Follow the links within each writeup for more information on destinations and meeting point locations, and to register for the field trip.

New for the 2019-2020 birding season, we have added an event registration page for each outing. This is to provide trip leaders with the expected number of participants. When you register you also sign our liability waiver, which saves both time and paper. We encourage you to register for any event you plan to attend. Tickets for our events are NOT required.

For those who prefer a simple list of trips, you can view or download the one by clicking here.

April Field Trips

All April field trips have been cancelled due to the advice to self-sequester.


Fresno-Madera Birds
by Jeff Davis
Including reports for the period of
 February 16, 2020 to March 15, 2020

Fresno County’s first Eurasian Wigeon

Eurasian Widgeon by Gary Woods

since 2010 was at the Parlier Wastewater Treatment Plant February 27 (ph. CR, ph. DJ), February 28 (ph. GF, ph. LH), and February 29 (ph. RS).  The juvenile Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Juvenile Yellow-bellied Sapsucker by Tim Lenz, Macaulay Library ML30950521

at Lost Lake Park continued at least through March 10 (ph. RS, BM, KC, EE), the Red-naped Sapsucker

Red-naped Sapsucker by Gary Woods

at Bass Lake was present through at least February 24 (LP), and the Yellow Warbler

Yellow Warbler by Gary Woods

at the Fresno Wastewater Treatment Plant lingered at least through March 4 (GW).

Cited Observers: Kaia Colestock, Elias Elias, George Folsom, Lynn Hemink, Daniel Jeffcoach, Barry Mast, Larry Parmeter, Chris Rempel, Rich Saxton, Gary Woods. ph. = photographed by.

If you make an interesting observation, we’d love to hear about it. We are especially interested in birds listed as casual or rare on the Fresno Audubon checklist and those found out of season, out of normal habitat, or in unusually large numbers. Please submit reports to Jeff Davis (559-246-3272, jndavis@ucsc.edu), the Fresno County Birders e-mail list, or eBird.


Birds in the News
Links to Recent Articles on Birds

The wonder women of ornithology

Ornithology has a long and glorious past, but to judge from the history books you might think that only men studied birds. This, of course, is far from the full story – there are many female ornithologists who deserve to be much better known. Read more…

In Uncertain Times, Quest for Birds Offers an Escape

As people everywhere prepared to hunker down for what could be an extended period, Sue Zelek couldn’t wait to get outside.

She wasn’t eager to get to the store to stock up on toilet paper or cleaning supplies. For her, life is looking up. Literally. She’s always ready to get her eyes to the skies and treetops to search for birds. Read more…

Online resources to enjoy birds from your home

In difficult moments, we believe birds continue to provide the hope and escape into nature that they always have for millions of people every day. The simple act of watching birds brings us together, even if we’re birding alone. Watching birds has also been shown to reduce stress—what other reasons do you need to keep nature a part of your daily life? Read more…

Meet the Ecologist Who Wants You to Unleash the Wild on Your Backyard

The land is ten gently sloping acres in rural southeastern Pennsylvania, at one time mowed for hay, with a handsome farmhouse that Douglas Tallamy bought around 20 years ago. It isn’t much to look at, by the standards most Americans apply to landscaping—no expansive views across swaths of lawn set off by flowerbeds and specimen trees—but, as Tallamy says, “We’re tucked away here where no one can see us, so we can do pretty much what we want.” And what he wants is for this property to be a model for the rest of the country, by which he means suburbs, exurbs, uninhabited woods, highway margins, city parks, streets and backyards, even rooftops and window boxes, basically every square foot of land not paved or farmed. He wants to see it replanted with native North American flora, supporting a healthy array of native North American butterflies, moths and other arthropods, providing food for a robust population of songbirds, small mammals and reptiles. He even has a name for it: Homegrown National Park. Read more…

Fossil Reveals ‘Wonderchicken,’ the Earliest Known Modern Bird

A fantastic fossil found in Belgium is offering new insights into the ancient birds that gave rise to the ones still around today.

The researchers who analyzed the fossil, a team led by paleontologist Daniel Field from the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, have dubbed it “Wonderchicken,” but their formal paper on the subject, published today in Nature, refers to this early bird as Asteriornis maastrichtensis. Read more…

Why passenger pigeons went extinct a century ago

On Sept. 1, 1914, a Cincinnati Zoological Gardens employee found the lifeless body of Martha, the world’s last living passenger pigeon, resting beneath her perch.

Forty years earlier, Martha’s ancestors numbered in the billions. Their flocks formed avian clouds across eastern North America, obstructing sunlight for days. The sight was so overwhelming that the American conservationist Aldo Leopold called them a “biological storm.” Read more…


Member Photographs

Fresno Audubon members have been submitting some really terrific photographs to this column. If you would like to add yours to the mix, please send your photo in jpeg format to rsnow@fresnoaudubon.org with a brief description, where the photo was taken and how you want the photo credit to read. Birds may be from anywhere. Limited space may restrict publication to a later issue. We now have an Instagram site (@fresnoaudubon), and we will showcase photos there as well with your permission.

Marilyn Hall

American Kestrel by Marilyn Hall. Yellowstone National Park, July 2019

Bald Eagle by Marilyn Hall. Atascadaro, January 2020.

Robert Long

Black-crested Titmouse by Robert Long. Laguna Atacosa National Wildlife Refuge, Los Fresnos, TX. May 2019

Altamira Oriole by Robert Long. Laguna Atacosa National Wildlife Refuge, Los Fresnos, TX. May 2019

Common Nighthawk by Robert Long. Settegast Rd, Galveston, TX. May 2019.

Bay-breasted Warbler by Robert long. Quintana Neotropical Bird actuary, Quintana, TX. May 2019.

Scarlet Tanager by Robert Long. South Padre Island Convention Center, TX. April 2019.

Mary K Phillips

Cedar Waxwing by Mary K Phillips. Fresno, CA. January 2020.

Larry Parmeter

Swainson’s Hawk by Larry Parmeter. Road 208, Madera County, 22 March 2020.

Swainson’s Hawk by Larry Parmeter. Road 208, Madera County, 22 March 2020.

Larry Cusick

Spotted Towhee by Larry Cusick. Lost Lake Park. 10 March 2020.

Dark-eyed Junco by Larry Cusick. Lost Lake Park. 10 March 2020.

American Avocet by Larry Cusick. Merced National Wildlife Refuge. 25 March 2020.

Rufous-crowned Sparrow by Larry Cusick. San Joaquin River Trail (Millerton Lake). 18 March 2020.

Common Yellowthroat by Larry Cusick. Lost Lake Park. 22 March 2020.

Rick Saxton

Horned Lark by Rick Saxton. DeWolf Grasslands.

Northern Rough-winged Swallow by Rick Saxton. River West.

Western Kingbird by Rick Saxton. River West.

Vesper Sparrow by Rick Saxton. DeWolf Grasslands.

Killdeer by Rick Saxton. Gould Canal.

Juvenile Sharp-shinned Hawk by Rick Saxton. Gould Canal.

Sharp-shinned Hawk by Rick Saxton. Gould Canal

Common Yellowthroat by Rick Saxton. River West.

Green Heron by Rick Saxton. Gould Canal.

Helen Gigliotti

Rufous-collared Sparrow by Helen Gigliotti. Brazil.

Southern Caracara by Helen Gigliotti. Brazil.

Yellow-chevroned Parakeet by Helen Gigliotti. Brazil.

Yellow-headed Caracara by Helen Gigliotti. Brazil.

Great Kiskadee by Helen Gigliotti. Brazil.

Cecelia Sheeter

Canyon Wren by Cecelia Sheeter. Madera Co.

European Starlings by Cecelia Sheeter. Madera Co.

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