March 2023 Yellowbill

25 Feb March 2023 Yellowbill


Editor’s Note

The Yellowbill is published monthly except in June, July and August. It is edited by Robert Snow ( except for the Member Photos section, which is edited by Clayton Dahlen ( Archived issues are available at

President’s Message

Greetings, FAS members and friends. I hope this message finds you well, and that you are enjoying the late winter weather.

Spring is on the horizon and there is much to look forward to, wildflower blooms, migrating birds, and several exciting FAS events!

Here is what we have scheduled for March 2023:

  • Wednesday, March 8⏤Raptor Trail on the Kings River at Pine Flat Dam, 8:00 AM-1:00 PM
  • Saturday, March 18⏤Lost Lake, 8:30 AM – 12:00 PM
  • Saturday, March 18⏤Introduction to Birding class at the River Center, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
  • Wednesday, March 22⏤Sycamore Island, 7:45 AM – 12:45 PM
  • Saturday, March 25⏤Introduction to Birding class at Intermountain Nursery, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Anyone interested in these and other upcoming events can check out the FAS event calendar for more information and links to registration:

We would like to remind everyone of the current requirements for attending FAS in-person field trips and classes. We are no longer requiring that participants be fully vaccinated. Masks are now optional for all FAS outdoor events. We still require that participants must not be exhibiting any symptoms of Covid-19. Registration is still REQUIRED for all in-person field trips, and participants must register individually. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation.

In early April, FAS will be taking part in Spring Raptorthon 2023. This is a fundraising event put on by the Hawk Migration Association of North America (HMANA). I have formed a core team (whose name is still TBD) that will be performing the count on Saturday, April 8. During the count, the team will be counting not only raptors, but also all the birds seen and heard in the count areas. Some of the areas the team will be counting in will be Road 208 between Highway 41 and Road 211, Lost Lake, Millerton Lake (Madera County side), Friant Cove, and the River Center. We will be inviting members of the public to join us as we count at the various locations. As the time gets closer, we will send out links to donate and more information about where and when the team will be counting. Seventy-five percent of the funds generated will go toward HMANA and the wonderful work that they do, and the other 25% of the funds will go to Fresno Audubon. Here is a link to more information about Spring Raptorthon on HMANA’s website:

Thank you again to all of those who attended the February 14 general meeting. Larry Parmeter, longtime FAS member and former FAS president, talked to us about how birds taught humanity to fly, which was a thorough and informative presentation! If you missed Larry’s talk and would like to view the presentation, you can find it and other general meeting presentations on our YouTube channel at

The next FAS general meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, March 14. Photographer Robert Groos will be talking to us about his Zambia safari! For links to registration, please check FAS social media, email announcements, or the FAS event calendar at

I’d like to remind all of you that FAS is on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. Please give FAS a follow if you haven’t already! This is a great way to engage with us and stay in the loop!

To end this message, I’d like to share some photos I recently took of a Long-billed Curlew in Morro Bay. Note the longish gray legs, the long, decurved beak with pink at the base, large body, light cinnamon wash on the underside, rust coloring in the outstretched wings, and the heavily speckled backside. Long-billed Curlews nest on the ground in grasslands and ag fields in sections of the interior western United States and southwestern Canada. During winter, this species is found in a variety of habitats, including beaches, wetlands, mudflats, and flooded fields. Long-billed Curlews look very similar to the Whimbrel, which can also be found along the central coast during the non-breeding season. Compared to Long-billed Curlew, the Whimbrel (not pictured) is smaller overall, browner, shorter beaked, and has much more defined striping through the eyes and in the crown. Enjoy!

Please take care of yourselves!

Rachel Clark

Fresno Audubon Society President

Long-billed Curlew by Rachel Clark
Long-billed Curlew by Rachel Clark

From the Archives

Editor’s Note

We recently cleared out Fresno Audubon’s storage unit and recovered many back issues of The Yellowbill. Robert Snow is in the process of scanning and posting these older issues in the archive section of The Yellowbill on We here begin reprinting interesting articles from these past issues in this new section of The Yellowbill.

History of FAS Christmas Count

by Garth H. Spitler

1979 (est.)

The first meeting of those interested in Audubon in this area was held in the fall of 1965 at the Fresno Jr. Museum. As I remember, our club (Chapter) got started immediately with weekend birding trips around the Fresno Area. That December we had a small group out exploring possible sites for a Chapter annual Christmas Count.

In 1966, we had picked out an area centered at Shaw and Clovis Avenues. This allowed us to cover many of our favorite birding areas. Just think of being able to include these locations⏤Avocado Lake, City Sewer Farm, Kearney Park, Lost Lake, Millerton Lake, Red Bank and Watts Valley. For a small group of eager birders we did quite well with 102 species and an estimated 20,902 individual birds. However, there were 2 little items we’d overlooked: 1. Our count circle was made using a 15-mile radius, instead of a 15-mile diameter. 2.  We had no screening committee, other than myself, and I was new to the area, so the following were allowed; Swainson’s Hawk, Saw-Whet Owl (fresh dead bird), Williamson’s Sapsucker, Rough-winged Swallow, Sage Thrasher, Long-billed Chat, and Chickadee.  I did talk the person who saw the Bridled Titmouse out of the sighting.  I think that was the count we saw a Killdeer trying to make like a Phalarope.  The longer the bird swam, the lower the water line — that was a sight to remember.  Our circle was divided into 4 quadrants that year, so we have the records of the various birds seen.

The next 2 years, 1967 and ‘68, were spent exploring the Kearney Park area vs. the Lost Lake area.  In 1967 we saw 110 species, in ’68 it was 1106 with both years’ totals close to 15,000 birds.  Some of the rare or unusual birds of those 2 years, besides those previously mentioned were; Red-breasted Merganser, Pigeon Hawk, Semipalmated Plover, MacGillivray’s Warbler, Rufous-crowned Sparrow, Mountain Chickadee, Yellow Warbler, Hutton’s Vireo, Western Wood-Pewee, Ash-throated Flycatcher, Long-eared Owl and Prairie Falcon.

I missed 1969, but a count was made even though not yet official.  Sixteen birders saw 87 species and an estimated 14,344 birds.  This was in our Lost Lake count area, very close to the present circle.  Rare birds reported at this count were Lawrence’s Goldfinch, and Chipping Sparrow.  One point which I think had us select the Los Lake area was that Grand National Symbol – the Bald Eagle.

In 1970, my second year as President, a birder by the name of Joyce was insistent that we make an official count.  I’m glad she did, because we are now coming up on our 10th Official Count in December of 1979.  On this first official count we saw 107 species, 2 races, with an estimated 10,600 birds seen by 19 birders in 5 parties.  I think those first 19 members should be acknowledged: K. Barnes, T. Braun, N. & N. Frodsham, M. Frost, J. Hall, R. Hansen, K. Hansen, A. Kasparian, Sister M. Kinsella, J. Mason, W. Mertz, K. Mertz, G. Richard, E. Robinson, D. Rolph, G & B. Spitler, and R. Tremper.

            Since that Official count the following years were:

Year Counters Parties Species Total Estimated
1971 29 9 109 17,582
1972 43 14 131 29,496
1973 32 11 120 21,487
1974 40 12 123 36,048
1975 34 11 135* 28,507
1976 49 13 128 20,844
1977 26 11 125 25,697
1978 60 est. n/a 132 n/a
1979** n/a n/a 131 n/a
1980** n/a n/a 194 n/a

*Only 15 away from that 150 mark

** Added to the table in pencil

Why don’t you plan right now to make 1979, our 10th year, a year to remember?  Circle the date on your calendar, volunteer to help count, call others, either birders or land owners, we need both to make the count a success.  There are over 150 species available in the area, so why not be with us the year we reach that 150 number ⏤ I plan to.


[Garth H. Spitler]

March General Meeting

Robert Groos

Zambia Safari
Tuesday, 14 March 2023

Lilac-breasted Roller by Robert Groos

Speaker Bio

Robert received a PhD in French from the University of Wisconsin, became a university professor, but eventually left academia to pursue a career in computer technology consulting. He began photographing birds in preparation for a safari in Botswana. What better way to learn how to use a camera than photographing birds, he reasoned. Birds eventually became his favorite photographic subject. “I’ve never met a bird I didn’t want to photograph,” he admits. His photograph of a Cedar Waxwing was selected to appear in a special Audubon Photography Awards gallery of “our favorite female bird shots 2021.” Choosing to be a bird photographer necessitated becoming an avid birder, and that pursuit led to storytelling about his experiences observing birds. You can read FAS member Robert Groos’ stories on his website:

Program Description

Join Robert Groos on safari to Zambia. No need to fly all the way to the other side of the world. On this photo and video expedition, you will experience the birds and other wildlife (lions, leopards, elephants, zebra, antelope, of course) of Zambia as if you were sitting by my side in the safari jeep. Enjoy an incredible travel experience, informative as well as entertaining, without leaving the comfort of your own home.

To receive the Zoom link for the meeting, please register here.

General Meeting Speaker Schedule

Following is the schedule for future speakers. This schedule is subject to change due to cancelations. Check the FAS events calendar for the latest information:

Introduction to Birding Classes at the River Center

The Parkway Trust and Fresno Audubon Society have joined forces to offer a birding class that combines instruction, exploration, and fun! Beginning birders will see and learn about local and migratory birds that might be visiting the River Center. New birders will discover easy ways to identify migrating and year-round, local birds. The class will include a walk looking for birds in the various habitats found at the River Center. We will meet at the new picnic shelter on the north side of the center. After learning about using binoculars and various aids in bird identification like guide books and phone apps, we will bird around the property. Bring binoculars, lunch, water and sun protection. Fresno Audubon will have binoculars to loan if you do not have your own. Children are welcome! Rain cancels this event.
Class is held from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m., usually on the third Saturday of each month through May 2023. To register for a class, go to our calendar and click on the class you are interested in taking. You will be directed to a registration page for that event.

Introduction to Birding Class at Intermountain Nursery

Saturday, 25 March 2023

Register Here

Intermountain Nursery will host a birding class given by Fresno Audubon Society on the beautiful nursery grounds.  Beginning birders will see and learn about spring migratory and resident birds in the foothills. Birders will discover easy ways to identify migrating and year-round, local birds. The class will include a walk around the nursery looking for birds.  Bring binoculars, lunch, water and dress in layers.  Fresno Audubon will have binoculars to loan if you do not have your own. Children are welcome. Rain cancels this event.

Here is a map of the location of Intermountain Nursery.


March Field Trips

FIELD TRIP GUIDELINES DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC ⏤ Fresno Audubon Society is offering field trips during the now-endemic COVID-19, subject to the following rules. With the continuing risks of exposure and potential illness, everyone must determine their own level of risk aversion. The CDC has recommended that masks should be optional when outdoors. It has been shown that a well-fitting N95 mask protects the wearer for several hours from an infectious dose of virus, so anyone concerned about exposure can choose to wear a mask near others if they feel at risk. Following are our current guidelines for our field trips.

  1. Participants must pre-register individually using the FAS event registration system.
  2. Participants must self-screen their own temperature before the outing and must not attend if they are feverish.
  3. Participants must consent to Fresno Audubon Society’s Liability Waiver by pre-registering.
  4. Social distancing is encouraged.
  5. Masks are not required, but participants are encouraged to wear a mask whenever they feel the need.
  6. Some field trips meet up at a central point before traveling to the field trip location. Participants may form their own car pools at these meetup points.
  7. Participants must contact their trip leader should they test positive for COVID-19 within three days following the outing so that we can notify others who attended the trip.

Wednesday 8 March 2023 ⏤ The Raptor Trail on The Kings River at Pine Flat Dam with Clayton Dahlen

Join FAS for birding along the Kings River. The trail begins across from the parking lot on the south side of the bridge just below Pine Flat Dam. The trail is basically an easy walk of approximately a mile and a quarter each way, but there is some uneven terrain and river rocks create a cobblestone surface in parts. Some of our target species include Golden Eagles, Bald Eagles, and Osprey.

Participants should bring snacks, lunch (if desired), water, hat, sunscreen, and binoculars, and should dress in layers. Registration is required for this event. If you have any questions, please reach out to either trip leader.

Meet in the parking lot at the south side of the bridge. If you want to look for directions from the eBird map, the Raptor Trail is just across the river from the North Riverside Access Park eBird Hotspot. GPS Coordinates 36.8298592686927, -119.33621274737327.

Checklist: binoculars, scope, field guide, snacks, lunch, water, sunscreen, hat, warm clothes

Registration is required for this event.

Clayton Dahlen

(559) 593-2367


Register Here.

Saturday 18 March 2023 ⏤ Saturday Bird Walk at Lost Lake with Lynda Schafhauser

Registration is required for this event.

Register Here

Location: Lost Lake , Fresno County Park

                  Lost Lake Rd, Friant, CA 93626

Date and Meeting time: 8:30 am , March 28th

Meeting location in park: Audubon Trailhead at the west end (down stream end) of the park. There is a small parking area at the trailhead, and a larger one a few hundred yards further into the park.

Duration of walk: 8:30 am – 12 pm

Special instructions: on weekends the park entrance fee is usually enforced. Fee is $5. Please follow instructions at the entry kiosk if there is no attendant at the kiosk. 

What to bring: Binoculars, check weather report for comfortable clothing, (this is the month of March, almost any weather is possible), walking shoes, sunscreen / hat, water, snacks ( or lunch if staying beyond noon), free downloads of Audubon and/or Merlin Apps are very useful, western bird identification field guides are also useful. Be advised , there may be insects such as mosquitos, gnats etc. 

Walk Description: walking on mostly flat park grass, or on paved park road, from west ( at the trailhead) to east ( toward Friant Dam and the park campground). We will bird river, river lined grass/ shrub and oak tree habitat, and on the upper road the grassland leading into the park, using binoculars but also using the Merlin Sound ID app as an enhanced identification tool. In the park, there are picnic benches for rest stops, and the restrooms are usually open.

Possible birds: Egrets (several species), Cedar Waxwing, Hawks (several species) Varied Thrush, Bald Eagle,  Common Merganser , Acorn Woodpecker, Canada Goose, Ring- necked Duck, Anna’s Hummingbird, Great Blue Heron, Wood Duck, Phainopepla, Black Phoebe, and many others.

Other possible sightings…Coyotes, Bobcats…on the other side of the river.

Registration is required for this walk.

Hard Rain cancels this walk.

Trip Leader: Lynda Schafhauser

Contact information: cell for voicemail or text: 559-474-0651



Register Here

Wednesday 22 March 2023 ⏤ Sycamore Island with George Folsom

Registration is required for this event.

Register Here

Meeting location:  Sycamore Island (36.8590560, -119.8230324)

Meeting time: 7:45 AM

End time:  Noon, or you may stay and have lunch with the group 

Sycamore Island, part of the San Joaquin River Parkway, is along the San Joaquin River in Madera County downstream from River West open space. It offers a variety of habitats:  river, ponds, riparian, grasslands, and wetlands.  We can expect ducks, raptors, herons, egrets, owls. woodpeckers, finches, swallows, sparrows among many others. 


This is a large property and we will do a combination of driving and  walking.  Walking distance will be 1 to 2 miles but those who don’t care to walk can drive to most of the areas.  There are picnic shelters with tables for lunch and restrooms on the property. 


Participants should bring snacks, lunch (if desired), water, hat, sunscreen, and binoculars, and should dress in layers.  


Registration is required for this event. If you have any questions, please reach out to trip leader at 559-435-9374 or

Register Here

Field Trip Schedule

This schedule is subject to change due to cancelations. Check the FAS events calendar for the latest information:

January & February Field Trip Reports

28 January 2023⏤River West by Susan Estep

Twenty one birders enjoyed a chilly start to a day that became sunny and seasonably warm. There were lots of new faces that we were happy to have join us in a reliably birdy area. We hope they will join us on another walk again soon! There should be a lot of ducks appearing on the ponds soon.
Forty seven species were observed, with a few standards that were missing – no Great Blue Heron?! No Snowy Egret?! Highlights included the surprise appearance of a Rock Wren and a flyover by an Osprey, as well as a flock of American Pipits. The species list follows.
40 Canada Goose
8 Northern Shoveler
30 Mallard
20 Common Goldeneye
1 Hooded Merganser
1 Common Merganser
14 Ruddy Duck
5 Pied-billed Grebe
3 Mourning Dove
3 White-throated Swift
6 Anna’s Hummingbird
70 American Coot
5 Killdeer
2 Greater Yellowlegs
4 Ring-billed Gull
40 California Gull
200 gull sp.
4 Double-crested Cormorant
1 American White Pelican
4 Great Egret
13 Black-crowned Night-Heron
12 Turkey Vulture
1 Osprey
2 Cooper’s Hawk
3 Red-tailed Hawk
2 Nuttall’s Woodpecker
8 Northern Flicker
2 American Kestrel
5 Black Phoebe
3 Say’s Phoebe
1 Loggerhead Shrike
4 California Scrub-Jay
2 Common Raven
12 Tree Swallow
8 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
1 Rock Wren
5 European Starling
2 Northern Mockingbird
4 Western Bluebird
1 American Robin
12 American Pipit
8 House Finch
30 White-crowned Sparrow
4 Savannah Sparrow
2 Song Sparrow
2 Spotted Towhee
1 Western Meadowlark
20 Yellow-rumped Warbler

1 February 2023 ⏤ River West Madera by John McDaniel

I am pleased to report a very productive outing along the north side of the San Joaquin River on 1 February 2023. The weather cooperated nicely following a chilly and foggy start, quickly evolving into a very clear and pleasant day for birding. Fifteen participants logged in a total of 57 species, including a pair of Great Horned Owls and a juvenile Golden Eagle in the nearly four hour and three and one-half mile walk. Special thanks to Greg Estep for managing the eBird data and Mike Smith for his guidance on the Golden Eagle identification. A copy of the bird list is appended below.

John McDaniel

River West Madera, Madera, California, US
Feb 1, 2023 8:12 AM – 12:06 PM
Protocol: Traveling
3.511 mile(s)
Checklist Comments:     Fresno Audubon Weds walk. Sunny 35-55f.
57 species

Canada Goose  6
Northern Shoveler  2
Gadwall  22
American Wigeon  2
Mallard  6
Bufflehead  1
Common Goldeneye  4
Hooded Merganser  4
Common Merganser  4
Pied-billed Grebe  5
Mourning Dove  3
Anna’s Hummingbird  7
American Coot  62
Killdeer  10
Double-crested Cormorant  8
American White Pelican  2
Great Blue Heron  4
Great Egret  2
Snowy Egret  1
Black-crowned Night-Heron  16
Turkey Vulture  5
Golden Eagle  1     Juvenile.
Cooper’s Hawk  1
Red-tailed Hawk  5
Great Horned Owl  2
Belted Kingfisher  2
Acorn Woodpecker  5
Downy Woodpecker  1
Nuttall’s Woodpecker  8
Northern Flicker  13
American Kestrel  1
Black Phoebe  7
Say’s Phoebe  2
California Scrub-Jay  15
Common Raven  5
Tree Swallow  7
Bushtit  10
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  8
House Wren  1
Bewick’s Wren  1
European Starling  29
Northern Mockingbird  3
Western Bluebird  12
Hermit Thrush  1
American Robin  1
Phainopepla  8
House Finch  7
Lesser Goldfinch  1
American Goldfinch  20
White-crowned Sparrow  26
Golden-crowned Sparrow  2
Song Sparrow  1
Spotted Towhee  9
Western Meadowlark  10
Red-winged Blackbird  17
Brown-headed Cowbird  2
Yellow-rumped Warbler  12

Fresno-Madera Birds

by Jeff Davis
Including reports for the period of
January 16, 2023 to February 15, 2023

A Eurasian Wigeon along the Madera Canal January 26 (ph. RS), January 27 (ph. GF), and February 5 (ph. GW) was the first for Madera County since one was found also along the canal in March 2021.

Eurasian Widgeon by Gary Woods

Madera County’s first White-winged Scoter discovered at Bass Lake December 29 continued through the period (ph. m.ob.).

White-winged Scoter by Gary Woods

About 200 Mountain Plovers southwest of Tranquility February 7 (ph. JM) was among the largest flocks ever reported in Fresno County.

Mountain Plover by Gary Woods

Seven Iceland Gulls at Ave 21 just west of Hwy 99 January 22 (ph. GW) was the largest number ever reported in Madera County.

Establishing the third record for Fresno County, a Red-throated Loon spent time at Avocado Lake January 18 (ph. JM, m.ob.) through January 21 (ph. m.ob.).

Red-throated Loon, juvenile, Clayton Dahlen

We average about one Hammond’s Flycatcher every two winters, so one in northeast Fresno near Herndon and Millbrook avenues January 19 (LY) fit the pattern.

Hammond's Flycatcher by Gary Woods

A Northern Rough-winged Swallow at River West January 25 (ph. GF) was presumably an early migrant, appearing about two weeks ahead of normal arrival time.

Northern Rough-winged Swallow by Rachel Clark

Two Barn Swallows at Ledger Island January 20 (GF) followed two earlier occurrences this winter.

Barn Swallow by Gary Woods

Our first Cliff Swallows of the season, right on schedule, were four at the Fresno Wastewater Treatment Plant February 1 (ph. GW).

Cliff Swallow by Gary Woods

Cited Observers: George Folsom, Josh McLaughlin, Rick Saxton, Lowell Young, 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 eBird, the Fresno County Birders e-mail list, or Jeff Davis (

Member Photographs

We have made a few changes in the photos submission process. Please note the items in red.
If you would like to share your bird photos with other Fresno Audubon Society members, submit up to 5 of your best to Clayton Dahlen at By submitting you give us permission to use your photo on our website, in our emails and on our social media platforms.
Please submit your pictures with a width of 1024 pixels and a resolution of 72 dpi. The height of the picture is not important. Thank you for your understanding.

Larry Cusick

Downy Woodpecker, Larry Cusick

Jim Curnyn

Cedar Waxwing, Jim Curnyn
American Goldfinch, Jim Curnyn
Yellow-rumped Warbler, Jim Curnyn

Clayton Dahlen

Lesser Scaup, Clayton Dahlen
Wood Duck couple, Clayton Dahlen

George Folsom

Horned Lark, George Folsom
Short-eared Owl, George Folsom

Bob Groos

Leucitic Red-tailed Hawk, Bob Groos

Susan Joy

Blue-footed Booby, Susan Joy
Brown Pelican, Susan Joy
Costa's Hummingbird, Susan Joy
Crested Caracara, Susan Joy
Northern Cardinal, Susan Joy

Richard Sexty

American Robins bathing, Rick Sexty
Eurasian Coot, Park Bouzaise, Beaune, France, Rick Sexty
Juvenile Great Horned Owl, Rick Sexty
Australian White Ibis, Sidney, AU, Rick Sexty

Thomas Snow

Birds in the News

Links to Recent Articles on Birds

BirdFlow software anticipates migratory patterns of birds

Swainson’s Hawk. Photo by David Mundy

Computer scientists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, in collaboration with biologists at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, recently announced in the journal Methods in Ecology and Evolution a new, predictive model that is capable of accurately forecasting where a migratory bird will go next — one of the most difficult tasks in biology. The model is called BirdFlow, and while it is still being perfected, it should be available to scientists within the year and will eventually make its way to the general public.


On routine house call, pest control finds 700 pounds of acorns in the walls

Nick Castro and the acorn hoard. (Nick Castro)

Late last month, Castro, 42, shared photos of his acorn discovery on Facebook, where his small company’s page received hundreds of likes and comments. Since he began working in pest control in high school, Castro said, he has watched many animals outmaneuver people to enter their homes and access their food. He once caught about 60 rats that scurried through a drain and chewed through a floor to reach a dog’s food bowl, he said. Around Dec. 15, Castro said, a customer complained that maggots and mealworms were emerging from the wall in their Glen Ellen, Calif., home. Castro figured the service would be typical: He would remove a dead animal and fix the hole it entered. After arriving at the house around 8 a.m. with two colleagues, Castro used a drywall knife to create a 4-by-4-inch hole in a second-floor bedroom’s wall. Acorns rushed out of the pocket. Castro said the pile stood about 20 feet high.

Read more…

Pigeons and Computers Have One Surprising Thing in Common, Study Reveals

Ridwan Supriadi / 500px/500Px Plus/Getty Image

Time and time again, artificial intelligence is heralded for its impressive feats. Computers have beaten humans in dozens of games, crafted essays instantaneously, and even detected cancerwith stunning accuracy. In many ways, AI might seem to surpass the intelligence of humans. But what about pigeons? The birds’ primary learning strategy is nearly identical to machine learning algorithms on a basic level, according to a new study published in the journal Current Biology.

Read more…

Dinosaurs of the Sky: Consummate 19th-Century Scottish Natural History Illustrations of Birds


Birds populate our metaphors, our poems, and our children’s books, entrance our imagination with their song and their chromatically ecstatic plumage, transport us on their tender wings back to the time of the dinosaurs they evolved from. But birds are a time machine in another way, too — not only evolutionarily but culturally: While the birth of photography revolutionized many sciences, birds remained as elusive as ever, difficult to capture with lens and shutter, so that natural history illustration has remained the most expressive medium for their study and celebration.

Read more…

Feds propose Wood Stork delisting

Wood Stork in flight at Brandon, Florida. Photo by Jonathan Hoiles

On Tuesday, February 14, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced a proposal to remove the Wood Stork from the federal list of endangered and threatened wildlife. The bird is the only species of stork breeding in the United States.

Read more…

Why Are Purple Martins Declining in the United States?

Purple martins perch on a branch in the Brazilian Amazon. Ramiro Dário Melinski

Climate change, urbanization drive major declines in L.A.’s birds

Photo retakes for Sutter Buttes (Sutter County) showing the change in land use. The upper image shows a 1931 photo of Sutter Buttes in the middle of the Central Valley west of Marysville, which was surveyed for birds by Joseph Grinnell and colleagues at the time. Photo taken by Jean M. Linsdale and provided with permission of the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, University of California, Berkeley. The lower image shows a photo of Sutter Buttes in 2016 when bird resurveys were conducted. Young walnut trees compose the foreground, illustrating the expansion of agriculture into the former grassland area. Photo taken by Sarah A. MacLean and provided with permission of the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, University of California, Berkeley. Credit: University of California, Berkeley

Climate change isn’t the only threat facing California’s birds. Over the course of the 20th century, urban sprawl and agricultural development have dramatically changed the landscape of the state, forcing many native species to adapt to new and unfamiliar habitats. In a new study, biologists at the University of California, Berkeley, use current and historical bird surveys to reveal how has amplified—and in some cases mitigated—the impacts of change on bird populations in Los Angeles and the Central Valley.

Read more…

These little ceramic huts are helping endangered penguins and their chicks

These new homes for African Penguins could help the species bounce back

A new form of real estate is popping up along the beaches of South Africa and on the dry, barren islands off its coast – tiny white beach huts. With good ventilation and a sea view, they are just big enough to fit a family of African penguins. Their unique selling point: a safe and cool place for penguins to breed African penguins, unlike their relatives that live in snow and ice, thrive in the cold currents of the South Atlantic Ocean. But when they come to land, their thick black coat absorbs the heat, and they desperately look for cover – both for themselves and their fragile eggs.

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Fresno Audubons (FAS) annual membership year runs from September 1st through August 31. Thank you to all of you who generously support Fresno Audubon by paying annual membership dues. Your support makes it possible for FAS to host outstanding speakers on our Zoom General Meetings, maintain our website, conduct guided field trips, teach introductory birding classes, maintain the bird feeding station at the River Center, conduct multiple bird surveys, and advocate for regional and local bird-related issues. To learn more about our work, download our 2020 Annual Report.

FAS members also have exclusive access to the FAS Birding Resource Guide, an online compilation of Central Valley birding resources, and new members receive a FAS sticker that displays the Fresno Audubon logo and website.

Fresno Audubon Society membership levels are:

$15 Student

$25 Individual

$35 Family

$1000 Golden Eagle (Life)

Those with PayPal accounts can join or renew their memberships on the FAS website here or download a membership form here and mail it along with your check to:

Fresno Audubon Society

PO Box 3315

Fresno, CA 93650

Thank you for your continuing support of Fresno Audubon Society!

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