26 Feb March 2020 Yellowbill
Greetings, FAS members! Spring is on the horizon, and I could not be more excited. Everywhere I look, there are more and more signs: Tree Swallows chattering and scouting potential nest cavities, Great Horned Owls sitting on nests, Red-tailed Hawks defending territory and engaging in courtship behaviors, Spotted Towhees serenading prospective mates with their raspy song, Canyon Wrens belting out their unmistakable descending ballad, Ruby-crowned Kinglets giving a more whole-hearted version of their lively, loud, and somewhat jumbled song, butterflies emerging from their winter slumber, frogs croaking, turtles basking, and so much more! I could go on much longer, but I will refrain!
With the coming of spring, there are many FAS events to look forward to. Our general meeting is being held on March 10, with Biopsychologist Dr. Susan Schneider as the presenter. Anyone looking to learn more about bird intelligence and instinct should definitely attend! We will be hosting field trips to such locations as Eastman Lake, Mendota Wildlife Area, and the Kern River Preserve, all of which are excellent birding areas! On March 7, we will be hosting an introduction to birding class at the River Center, which is an excellent way for new and budding birders to become more familiar with local birding areas. For more information about these and other upcoming events, please check out the FAS event calendar.
In addition to the events discussed above, there are numerous volunteer opportunities with FAS. The San Joaquin River Parkway Native Plant Restoration Area Bird Surveys, which are an ongoing collaborative effort between FAS and the San Joaquin River Parkway and Conservation Trust to assess the level of avian activity and diversity in restoration areas, are a great way to get involved in local citizen science efforts. Of course, we are always looking for extra hands when it comes to leading field trips and birding classes. For more information on these ventures and other volunteer opportunities, please check out this link: https://fresnoaudubon.org/citizen-science/ or feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 515-357-0122.
I look forward to interacting with my fellow FAS members in the near future!
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.
Fresno Audubon society membership levels:
$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.
March General Meeting
No Birdbrains Here: The Latest on Bird Learning,
Instinct and Intelligence
Susan Schneider, PhD
Tuesday, 10 March 2020
UC Center for Continuing Education
Please join us for an evening discussion of bird intelligence by Biopsychologist Susan Schneider, PhD. Susan has over 25 years of research and teaching experience in the science of consequences and nature-nurture relations. She’s also an avid birder, field trip leader, and environmental activist. Her talk is titled No Birdbrains Here: The Latest on Bird Learning, Instinct, and Intelligence. Birds can learn from consequences, as we and many other species can: Baby chicks learn to peck accurately, wild mockingbirds can learn to recognize individual people, and pigeons were able to learn to categorize art and music. Even instinctive behaviors like imprinting can be more flexible than scientists used to think, and songbird song appears particularly malleable. This talk will explore bird learning and intelligence, from everyday foraging, to learning through observing, to tool use. Such adaptability may be critical as wild birds attempt to adjust to the many threats they face. Scientists also take advantage of this powerful learning ability to help save endangered species.
Map to the UC Center:
There will be a pre-meeting dinner with Dr. Schneider at BJ’s Brewhouse at 5:00 pm on Tuesday, 10 March. Please register for the event here.
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.
March Field Trips
Wednesday 4 March 2020 – Eastman Lake with Lynda Schafhauser
Linda Schafhauser will lead this trip through the Madera grasslands and foothills along Rd 26 to Eastman Lake. Expect to see eagles, hawks, shorebirds and owls, and possibly migrating Rufous Hummingbirds if the right trees are in bloom. After lunch at Eastman Lake we will have a chance to walk the numerous trails in the area.
Map to meeting location:
Saturday 14 March 2020 – Audubon Kern River Preserve with Robert Snow
Join us for a trip to the beautiful and important Audubon Kern River Preserve and Lake Isabella. We will begin birding at 7:00 am on Saturday, so it is best to leave Friday and spend the night in Kernville. Accommodations in Kernville can be found online (e.g. here). To learn more about the preserve click here. A map of the trails on the preserve is found here. A list of winter birds can be found here.
We will meet at the preserve headquarters at 7:00 am on Saturday 14 March. A map to the headquarters is here:
Checklist: binoculars, scope, field guide, snacks, lunch, water, sunscreen, hat, radios
Trip Leader: Robert Snow, (650)483-2347, email@example.com
Wednesday 25 March 2020 – Mendota State Wildlife Area with Judy Johnson
Join leader Judy Johnson for a trip to Mendota Wildlife Area. Last year’s trip yielded several Swainson’s hawks along with numerous waterfowl species, sparrows and early season Bullock’s orioles. Even though many of the waterfowl will have moved north for breeding, expect to see lots of interesting species that make the refuge their home year round.
We will meet in the Walmart parking lot at Ashlan and Blackstone at 7:45 for a 8:00am departure. We should get to the Mendota Wildlife Area headquarters at around 8:45-9:00am.
Trip Leader: Judy Johnson firstname.lastname@example.org (559)977-2787
Checklist: binoculars, scope, field guide, snacks, lunch, water, sunscreen, hat, radios
Map to meeting location:
Introduction to Birding Classes
Fresno Audubon Society is offering Introduction to Birding classes at the River Center and at the San Joaquin River Gorge. We thank the River Parkway Trust and the BLM for giving us access to their properties for the classes.
Class participants will learn how to use binoculars, why birding is a fun and valuable hobby, and about the resources available to help identify birds. After the initial class work, participants will accompany Fresno Audubon experts on a bird walk around the property.
Participants should bring binoculars, snacks, water, and sun protection. Fresno Audubon will have binoculars to loan for anyone who doesn’t have their own pair. Children are welcome.
The classes are ongoing, and the following upcoming dates have been set. For registration and more details, click on the dates below.
Coke Hallowell Center for River Studies
BLM San Joaquin Gorge
by Jeff Davis
Including reports for the period of
January 16, 2020 to February 15, 2020
The juvenile Yellow-bellied Sapsucker at Lost Lake Park continued at least through February 6 (ph. RS).
Our third Red-naped Sapsucker of this fall-winter season was at Bass Lake January 30 through at least February 7 (ph. LP, ph. GW, ph. GF).
The adult female Vermilion Flycatcher also along the Madera Canal near Road 400 was present at least through January 25 (GW).
Six Scaly-breasted Munia along Gould Canal just east of Dakota Ave January 18 (ph. RS) furnished the second record of this exotic species for Fresno County.
Madera County’s third Harris’s Sparrow and first since 2011 was photographed at Hensley Lake February 9 (ph. MC).
A Black-throated Gray Warbler at Annadale Ponds east of Sanger January 26 (DJ) provided our second record this winter.
Cited Observers: Mary Cantrell, George Folsom, Daniel Jeffcoach, Larry Parmeter, 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, email@example.com), the Fresno County Birders e-mail list, or eBird.
Birds in the News
Links to Recent Articles on Birds
Rat poison also fatal to birds
As a 14-year volunteer with the BCSPCA/Wild ARC, I have retrieved many animals killed by rat poison. One of the saddest incidents was a large, beautiful barred owl found dead on my own property, beside a partially eaten rat. A necropsy on both determined the cause of death was due to rat poison. Read more…
A Beginner’s Guide for Photographing Birds in Flight
Bird photography, specifically photographing birds in flight require a lot of patience and practice. It is not only necessary to have the right camera gear and the knowledge to use them effectively but also to understand what settings work best under which circumstances and how to create beautiful bird photography compositions. In this article, I share with you the important principles of photographing birds in flight. In addition, I expand on each principle. Read more…
Researchers study how birds retweet news
Every social network has its fake news. And in animal communication networks, even birds discern the trustworthiness of their neighbors, a study from the University of Montana suggests. The study, recently published in the top science journal Nature, is the culmination of decades’ worth of research from UM alumni Nora Carlson and Chris Templeton and UM Professor Erick Greene in the College of Humanities and Sciences. It sheds a new light on bird social networks. Read more…
Audubon: New Sage-Grouse Review Plan is “Nothing More Than Window-Dressing”
Denver (February 19, 2020) – “The environmental review process announced today by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is nothing more than window dressing for a process that they should be taking seriously,” said Nada Culver, vice president for public lands and senior policy counsel with the National Audubon Society. “This attempt by the administration to get around their loss in court last year is yet another egregious example of their concerted effort to undermine needed protections for sage-grouse, not a genuine commitment to remedy the significant flaws in their last attempt, despite a court giving them clear direction. They have repeatedly ignored science, and disregarded public input and common sense in their mission to upend a historic and popular multi-state, bi-partisan plan that was achieved more than four years ago.” Read more…
Prehistoric migration could hint at how birds will handle climate change
The Birds That Guard Brunch
On a toasty October morning in Scottsdale, Arizona, guests eating oatmeal and eggs on the covered patio at The Phoenician hotel’s restaurant were taken aback to see a man strolling around with a hawk on his leather-clad arm. A few took out their phones to snap a photo.
Shannon McQuerrey, a master falconer for more than 20 years, and his Harris’s Hawk Calvin weren’t there to grab brunch—they were there to guard it. Specifically, their job is make sure customers remain undisturbed by noisy grackles that like to pick at plates of food. Read more…
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 firstname.lastname@example.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.
All photos from Gabon