Recap, Starr Ranch Sanctuary Field Trip


by Elaine Layne

Feb. 17th, 2018, EDA members were welcomed by Director of Research and Education, Sandy De Simone. The Ranch lies in unincorporated South Orange County, bordered by the Cleveland National Forest. Starr Ranch is used for various types of ecological research. Participants witnessed a special bird banding demonstration given by Ornithologist Kim Geissler. The Hutton Vireo and Lesser Goldfinch were caught, weighed, assessed for fat, age, disease and released. A guided bird walk followed. Thank you Starr Ranch staff for a beautiful day with the birds!

Pictured below, a few of the birds seen on the trip:  Hutton’s Vireo, Lesser Goldfinch, Acorn Woodpecker and a Red-tailed Hawk.  Header photo, Prickly Pear Cactus in bloom.  Photos by Jerry Millett.



Year of the Bird

Celebrating the Year of the Bird
By Mary Parsell

2018 is the Year of the Bird. The National Audubon Society, National Geographic, BirdLife International and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology are joining together in a yearlong celebration of birds in commemoration of the 100year anniversary of the signing of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) . This Act regulates the taking, possession, transportation, sale, purchase, barter, exportation and importation of migratory birds, their parts, nests and eggs. The US Fish and Wildlife Service is responsible for enforcing the MBTA. The 1026 bird species native to the US and its territories are pro-tected.

The MBTA was one of Audubons first major victories. See for complete information.

February Walk at Rancho Los Cerritos Recap

By Carolyn Vance
Another great walk at the Rancho! We started the day with a pair of Ravens flying over the parking lot, calling to each other.  Our next bird was a nice Hermit thrush, followed by a small flock of Cedar waxwings flying over.  A pair of California Scrub jays flashed their blue wings at us as did the Western bluebirds.  A Northern mockingbird stood silent watch over us, unusual for this bird.  Luckily, the Black phoebes and Allen’s hummingbirds weren’t silent as they zipped back and forth across the Rancho.

Our other fly-over birds included three Great Blue herons and 43 California gulls. A Red-shouldered hawk, heard several times, finally landed in the large oak tree for us to see, then took off again, calling.  The best part of the day, for me, was the small group (21) of Bushtits in a low, open bush, feeding.  It looked as though the bush was alive, swarming with birds in constant motion, going branch to branch.   Then leaving it, one-by-one, as Bushtits do, going to their next feeding spot.  The last bird of the day was the California towhee that we had been hearing, but couldn’t find, until he popped up on an open branch of the Toyon tree at the top of the drive.

The most asked question of the day was: Why is that rust-and-green colored hummingbird an Allen’s and not a Rufous?  Simple – Rufous hummers are only seen in this area in migration – spring and fall, so in winter-time you’re seeing Allen’s.  Also, Allen’s have green on their back and Rufous’ don’t.  Okay, okay – about 5% of Rufous’ show a little green on their back, but once again, our walk was in the middle of winter, when Rufous’ are in their wintering grounds.  Check their range map in your favorite field guide for where they are now.

Many, many thanks to Kim Moore, our bug expert; Merryl Edelstein, Rancho Garden Docent; Jerry Millett, member of El Dorado Audubon’s monthly survey here and Rancho Horticulturist Marie Barnidge-McIntyre for all their help! At the end of the walk, we had seen 19 species of bird.  Our next walk will be on Thursday, April 12th, from 8:00 – 9:30 a.m.  Come join us!

(Photo credits: Allen’s Hummingbird & California Towhee by Kim Moore.  Bushtit, Hermit Thrush & Northern Mockingbird by Jerry Millett)

Great Backyard Bird Count!

By Donna Bray

Co-sponsored by the National Audubon Society and Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) is scheduled for February 16th through the 19th. Yes, that is the long President’s Day holiday weekend. But you can participate, staying home in your own backyard, traveling, or just birding wherever you want to go!

Over the years, when I worked on the Friday, I took folks I worked with out to bird in the surrounding neighborhood or to a local park. In fact, we used binoculars that our Chapter members had donated (thanks again!). Other Chapter volunteers have introduced school children and a local Ecology Club group to birding via the GBBC, too. The lists were all entered into the national count at or via eBird ( ). It feels good to be a part of the citizen science effort helping researchers build their data.

This year I’d like to emphasize the value of birding locally, going to a location that is under-birded. At the time of this writing I have accepted the eBird challenge to submit a checklist a day in January. And, I have decided that I’ll bird some of those under-birded parks in my own neighborhood. No, they probably don’t have rarities, though they might, but no one is checking! And in so doing, I am learning increasingly more about eBird and realized that an eBird hotspot doesn’t mean that there are fancy rarities there. It’s a place accessible to anyone, and that helped me decide to ask to have little old, freeway-adjacent Norwalk Park included on the Hotspot list. It caused me to take a pair of compact binoculars with me to Olvera Street, and wow, actually see birds other than pigeons at La Placita! When I submitted the list, I requested it be listed as a Hotspot too. You can see where I am going with this. Any birding you do is valuable. So really make the effort to get out once or all four days of the GBBC and submit your lists. For more information on how, go the website.

Photo below by Cindy Crawford, a Black-throated Gray Warbler recently spotted in her backyard, S/E Long Beach area.


Birds in Art 2017, By Annabelle Rice

“The source of limitless creative inspiration, birds connect us to the rhythms of life. Their migrations mark the shifting seasons, their music heralds each dawn, and their shoreline searches highlight the ebb and flow of the tide.
Avian art resonates and inspires in endlessly novel ways, too. Talented artists from throughout the world push standards ever higher, continually striving to be among those selected for the internationally renowned Birds in Art exhibition.” – Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum.

Following the close of the annual Birds in Art exhibition at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum each fall, 60 of the 100 plus artworks embark on a national tour. I am excited to tell you that, for the third year in a row, the Fullerton Arboretum Nikkei Heritage Museum will host the Birds in Art exhibit from the Woodson. Dates are Dec. 8th, to Jan. 25th. Open: Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays 12pm to 4pm. Having been to the Woodson twice and having seen three of the traveling art exhibits in California, I can say if you love birds, you will love Birds in Art.

Fullerton Arboretum:, (657) 278-3407.

For more info also see venues list and touring exhibitions.

Owl Art Exhibit

There is a bird related exhibit at the Fullerton Arboretum Neikki Museum called “ONLY OWLS.”  This is from the Woodson Museum in Wausau, Wisconsin.

Every year the Woodson does an entire exhibit of bird art, and the following year, they send some pieces to local museums.  This exhibit opened November 19th, and ends January 8th.

Their hours are 12 to 4 on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays only.

Thanks to Anne Belle Rice for the information.

Christmas Bird Count (CBC) on 12/17

How many birds do you see?

We could really use your help on 12/17.  See the events calendar for details.

Note: Counting situations won’t be as intense as the picture, so don’t worry.

An Interesting Find

On our second Sunday bird walk at the El Dorado Nature Center last month, we spied a first year red-tailed hawk.  Nothing usual until we noticed a band with the number 619 on its right leg.  Erin Kellogg (thank you!) looked into it and forwarded the following information:

The USGS Bird Banding Lab reported back that this hawk (CA 619) was banded by the US Department of Agriculture as part of a project that bands raptors relocated from airports.  The lead researcher has not gotten back to me yet, however…

…our friends at South Bay Wildlife rehabilitation are partners in this project!!  In order to avoid bird strikes, the USDA has permits to trap and relocate raptors that patrol airport fields for the many tasty rodents and rabbits that live there as well.  The birds are transported to SBWR where they are examined and cared for until transport can be arranged to somewhere far, far away, with the hopes that the bird will not return.

I contacted South Bay and sure enough, they knew this bird and gave me specific info on it!  The juvenile, male, Red-tailed Hawk was captured from the Joint Forces Training Base in Los Alamitos on September 21st.  South Bay received the bird that day.  it was in good health, but a little bit on the thin side which is not atypical for first-year birds.  he stayed in care, eating well, for 10 days and was then released in Angelus Oaks on October 1st.  Angelus Oaks is in the San Bernardino National Forest, south of Big Bear-over 80 miles away!

Here is the amazing part.  by October 9th, when the bird was spotted at EDNC, it had come back to within 3 miles away from its home territory!  Also, just because it was spotted on the 9th, doesn’t mean it wasn’t in the area even earlier.  Remember, this bird is not even a year old.  This will be important information for the study, so great job guys!  Birds are so cool!!  I will let you know if we hear anything else.

Our next walk is scheduled for this Sunday (11/13) at 8 a.m.

Photo credits to Cindy Crawford.


The 619 is kind of hard to read, but there!


Be on the lookout for scenes like this.  Toyon is a native shrub with clusters of bright red berries that ripen in the fall and winter.  It is becoming increasingly common as a landscape plant in SoCal.  Overwintering Cedar Waxwings, Robins, and Hermit Thrushes rely on them as a food source.  This photo, of a Cedar Waxwing, was taken by Merryl Edelstein at Rancho Los Cerritos.

Vagrant Watch 2016

By Jeff Moore

I thought it would be interesting to “keep score” of vagrant sightings during the fall migration.  I’m focusing on 4 local parks.  Please keep in mind, this list is not comprehensive and some of these sightings may be of the same bird on different days.  I’ll update through mid-November.  Any input with additional information would be appreciated.  The photo shows a Blackpoll Warbler at DeForest Park.  It was found and photographed by Kim Moore and Merryl Edelstein.

  1. DeForest Park: Palm Warbler, Summer Tanager, Virginia’s Warbler (10/1); Blackpoll Warbler (10/4); Black-and-White Warbler (10/6); Tennessee Warbler (10/8).
  2. Huntington Central Park: Northern Waterthrush (9/4); Black-and-White Warbler (9/30); Painted Redstart (10/1); Bobolink (10/2); Palm Warbler (10/4); Female Summer Tanager (10/5); Dusky Warbler (10/8); Male Summer Tanager (10/9).
  3. El Dorado Park: Palm Warbler (10/4); Tropical Kingbird (10/8); Gray Catbird (10/11).
  4. West San Gabriel Parkway Nature Trail: Canada Warbler (9/17); Northern Waterthrush (9/24); Bobolink (10/2); Magnolia Warbler (10/22); Palm Warbler (10/22); Dickcissel (10/23); Gray Catbird (11/2).