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Volume 76, Number 1 September/October 2009

WESTERN
TANAGER
a publication of Los Angeles Audubon www.laaudubon.org

Where Have All the Birds Gone?


What You Can Do Before It Is Too Late!
—by Eleanor Osgood
ow much adversity can a usually die of natural causes —preda-

H
Audubon’s publication, Guide to Bird-
population of birds take Friendly Tree and Shrub Trimming tors, disease, physical elements— be-
before its numbers are re- and Removal. This booklet is avail- fore the eggs hatch or the young have
duced to the point of no-return? able in print and online at left the nest. Of those that live to
www.laaudubon.org. leave the nest, as high as 90% will not
Habitat loss and fragmentation due make it through their first year, either
to development, urban sprawl and poor because of predation or the trials of
land/water management, is the number migration, lack of food, or a myriad of
one cause of the decline of bird popu- other reasons. That leaves, on aver-
lations in Los Angeles County. age, only a very small percentage of
the birds hatched in any single year
However, it is easy to ignore or surviving to breed and reproduce in
downplay other factors that contribute order to sustain the population.
to population declines. We go about
our daily lives in ways that cumula- In April, 2009, Los Angeles
tively create a recipe for disaster for County once again won the title of
many of our bird populations. America’s Birdiest County —264
species. Los Angeles County is at a
Window panes without screens or crossroads of many migratory routes,
protective devices attached to them having one of the most diverse habi-
kill millions of birds a year. This in- tat types of any county within the
cludes plate glass windows installed Guide to Bird-Friendly Tree and Shrub
United States.
on residential structures as well as Trimming and Removal
those on larger office buildings. When all species are added up, in-
Domestic outdoor cats are esti- cluding the 120 or so resident species,
Fishing line and hooks that are left mated to kill millions of birds per an additional 80 spring breeders, and
to lie beside or within public lakes, year. When cats live near or are re- another 140 migrants passing through,
ocean piers and streams by non-com- leased into the coastal scrub or chapar- they add up to a total of approximately
mercial fishermen, entangle birds ral of our local mountains, they de- 350 species inhabiting the county dur-
which then die a slow death. stroy the eggs and nests of ground ing any one year. That does not in-
nesting birds. clude a variety of rare migrants and
Trimming trees during the time vagrants that brings the county’s
when most birds nest and raise their An adult bird’s life is strenuous species total to 500 (matched only by
young, (in Los Angeles County this is and a young bird’s life is tenuous. On San Diego County.) Yes, we do live
March through September), only adds average about 50% of a season’s nests in a birding paradise.
to the toll. See Los Angeles fail to produce a fledgling. The chicks
So, one might ask, with such
species diversity, what is the problem? • Keep your cat indoors —the #3
killer of birds are outdoor cats.
The answer has to do with the Yes, that cuddly cat of yours does
health of bird populations (the number have a wild side and will kill
of individuals of each species.) For birds just out of instinct. Get
those of us who have participated in more information from the
The mission of Los Angeles Audubon Society is to the local Christmas Bird Counts year American Bird Conservancy,
promote the enjoyment and protection of birds and
other wildlife through recreation, education,
after year, or have birded the area for www.abc.org; and spread the
conservation and restoration. many years and have read the histori- word to fellow cat owners.
Los Angeles Audubon is a non-profit volunteer
organization of people with a common interest in
cal records, we know that the number • Put screens or other visible
birding and natural history. Los Angeles Audubon of birds frequenting the various habi- items on windows, especially on
maintains offices, a library, and bookstore, the tats has drastically decreased for all large plate glass windows and on
proceeds of which benefit all of its programs.
but a handful of bird species. sliding glass doors, so the birds
Los Angeles Audubon Society can see the glass instead of flying
Audubon House
7377 Santa Monica Blvd., Individual decisions as to where into them. Keep bird feeders
W. Hollywood, CA 90046-6694 we house our domestic cats, where away from windows.
Mailing Address we dispose of our fishing line and • Trim trees and do major
P.O. Box 931057, Los Angeles, CA 90093-1057 hooks, what time of year we prune landscaping removal between
(323) 876-0202 (voice/messages) our trees and shrubs, and even how September and March; educate
(323) 876-7609 (fax) we build our houses, have an effect arborists, landscapers and
LAAS@laaudubon.org (general email)
www.laaudubon.org on bird populations. neighbors as to when to trim trees
or clear brush by passing out Los
Board Officers
President David De Lange As individuals we can make a Angeles Audubon’s Guide to Bird
1st Vice President Garry George
2nd Vice President Paul Fox commitment to changing how we go Friendly Tree and Shrub
Executive Secretary Linda Oberholtzer
Recording Secretary Eleanor Osgood
about living our daily lives. We can Trimming and Removal booklet.
Treasurer
Executive Past President
Lisa Fimiani
Dexter Kelly
also make a commitment to educate The booklet is also available in
our family, neighbors and friends. PDF format on the Los Angeles
Programs & Activities
Conservation Garry George Audubon website:
Field Trips Nick Freeman
Bird Walks Eleanor Osgood Here is how: www.laaudubon.org.
Pelagic Trips Phil Sayre
Membership Meetings Mary Freeman
Ornithology Consultant Kimball Garrett With all of us keeping the needs of
Rare Bird Alert Jon Fisher
Report Rare Birds (323) 874-1318 birds and other wildlife in our scopes,
Volunteer Coordinator Eleanor Osgood
Library Dorothy Schwarz together we can help our local bird
Staff
populations survive.
Executive Director Mary Loquvam
Director of Interpretation Stacey Vigallon
Audubon House Administrator Martha Balkan Eleanor Osgood is a Board Member of the Los
Membership Services Susan Castor Angeles Audubon Society and serves as the
Audubon House Bookstore Recording Secretary. She is also the Volunteer
Orders (888) 522-7428
Fax (323) 876-7609
Coordinator for the organization. Eleanor has
Bookstore Manager (323) 876-0202 been birding since 1988, serving as a sector
Hours Mon-Thurs 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m.
1st Sat. ea. month 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
coordinator for data collection for the Los
Angeles Breeding Bird Atlas, and volunteering
Online Nature Store
www.losangelesaudubon.org/store at the Natural History Museum since 1992,
assisting Kimball Garrett . She served on the
WESTERN TANAGER Los Angeles Audubon Committee which
recently produced the Tree Trimming Guide
Published by
Los Angeles Audubon Society mentioned in this article. The Tree Trimming
Western Tanager is published bi-monthly. For address changes or
Guide is part of a campaign by Los Angeles
subscription problems call (323) 876-0202, or write to Member Audubon to alert the public to the hazards to
Services, Los Angeles Audubon, PO Box 931057, Los Angeles, CA
90093-1057. Submissions are due the 1st of the month, two months birds in urban areas. Much of the data in this
before the date of the issue. Please send submissions as Microsoft
Word or RTF documents, or plain text files, to Linda Oberholtzer at
article was provided in consultation with
westerntanager@laaudubon.org.
Bird Guard, Window Decal Kimball Garrett, the ornithology collections
Editor Linda Oberholtzer Birds fly into windows because they see a reflection manager at the Natural History Museum of
Layout Susan Castor of the sky. The silhouette of this Accipiter Hawk helps
Proofreaders Hanna Hayman, Kimball Garrett
Los Angeles County.
them to avoid the window. Sold at Los Angeles
Printed on Recycled Paper Audubon Society Bookstore for $2.25 each.

E2 Western Tanager Vol. 76, No. 1


MEMBERship INTRODUCTION TO In Remembrance
BIRD WATCHING CLASS
A special thank you to all the follow- Nellie Gryk passed away on
Los Angeles Audubon will be Friday, July 17, 2009, from a
ing new and renewed Chapter Only
offering a 3 day introduction to bird severe stroke.
members!
watching class, Oct./Nov., 2009 with
instructor Eleanor Osgood. Sessions I'm not
NEW MEMBERS sure if you
are geared towards participants with
Bruce & Carrie Anders, Elizabeth knew Nellie
beginning and low intermediate bird
Ball, Candice Byers, Janine Coyle, Gryk or not.
identification skills. Binoculars and
Kara Donohue, Jim Dunsford, Martha She was a gra-
field guides will be provided; bring
Estus, Edmond Hewlett, Barbara cious lady
your own if you have them. The class
Hogan, Barclay Hudson, James who was one
will include handouts, practice sheets,
Krause, Sud Menon, Barbara Osborn, of our premier
and a Los Angeles Audubon
Bob Parker & Laurie Allen, Denise volunteers for many years, in the Audubon
Bookstore coupon that is good for House Bookstore. Nellie helped get the
Perez, Nancy Popenoe, Emily Jane
10% off on non-sale items, and 5% off orders packaged and shipped out. Nellie
Reed, Jill Roberts, Marsha Rosenberg,
on optics. was well liked by everyone! After many
Marlene Rotblatt, Edmund Segal,
Susan Shemin, Allison Shultz, Susan of our volunteers had moved on to other
Areas to be covered: activities, she remained, helping us once a
J. Vitucci, David Warren, Barbara
• Basic tools needed for bird watching: week until failing health began to take its
Watson, Jack Wax M.D., Crispin
Field Guides and Binoculars toll.
Whittell, Lori Winer-Hecht
• Field Identification: Bird Families,
Field Marks, Habitat, Status and She was a participant in the Southwest
RENEWED MEMBERS
Distribution Bird Study Club's Monday birding
Albert Ackroyd, Gina Albi, Jane adventures, and had joined us on one of
• Conservation & Citizen Science
Anderson & Tess Ayers, Joseph our Los Angeles Audubon's Costa Rica
Andrews, Charles Armstrong, Tours in the early 1980's. Nellie was a
WHEN, HOURS, LOCATION
Nicholas Armstrong, John Bassett, graduate of So. Hadley High School and
Sat., Oct. 31st 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Michele Bigelow, Eric Brazel & Mary the University of the State of NY nursing
Sun., Nov. 1st 8:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Renaker, Katie Brennan & Albert program. She was a registered nurse and a
Sat., Nov. 7th 8:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Gasser, Betty Brown, Allan Compton Veteran of the U.S. Army serving during
& Miriam Tasini, Gloria and Murray WWII in the U.S. and abroad. Nellie
Call Audubon House or check our received an honorable discharge as a 1st
Cooper, Barbara Courtois, Linda
website for updated class locations. Lt. in 1952, and is registered in the
Dunn, Bridget Fitzsimons, Paul &
Carol Fox, Ethan Greenspan, Donna National WWII Memorial for Women in
Limited to 12 participants. Pre- Washington DC. Nellie moved to
Groman, Eric N. Hansen, Melissa
registration is required. Please provide California after the war and worked at the
Haylock, Hanna & Gerald Hayman,
name, address, phone and email. VA hospital for thirty years before retiring.
Annmarie Hunter & Souhail Kaspar,
She enjoyed a full life doing things she
Dr. Kathleen Komar & Ross Shideler,
Fee: loved. She was a long time member of the
Richard Krafsur, Dr & Mrs Emil M
• $30.00 - Chapter Only Members of National Audubon Society, The Southwest
Lichina, John McCoy, Susan Bird Study Club, The Sierra Club, The
Los Angeles Audubon.
Mogilka, Irene Maupin Oppenheim, Loganites, and of course enjoyed her
• $50.00 - Non-members (includes a
Ms Jean Pickus, Bud Plochere, Vivian swimming at the YMCA. She traveled
new Chapter Only
Ramirez, Bernhard Rohrbacher, around the world and had a great love for
membership in Los
Heather Sabin, Mr. & Mrs. Harry nature, birds and the outdoors. Nellie was
Angeles Audubon.)
Santo, Judy & Robert Scharf, Bruce a very independent lady who surrounded
& Joyce Schoppe, David Seay, John herself with friends whom she considered
Write checks to Los Angeles Audubon,
Silvester, Bruce Spring, Laura Tooley, her family. Many families across the U.S.
and mail registration information to:
Becky & Steve Turley, Catherine enjoyed her company and her knowledge.
Los Angeles Audubon – Registration She led by example and has inspired so
Waters, Edward & Susan Wolin
PO Box 931057 many young people to achieve their goals.
Continued on page 9.
Los Angeles, CA 90093-1057
Western Tanager September/October 2009 E3
birds of the season —by Jon Fisher

igration almost al- what was around…

M ways delivers a few


surprises. However,
as spring marched toward summer,
Brant are scarce migrants inland,
thus one at Balboa Lake in the
Sepulveda Basin from May 17-
An excellent and serendipitous
find was an Upland Sandpiper
that showed up in the Antelope
vagrant season was shaping up to June 10 was of interest (Mike Valley on June 3 (Jon Feenstra).
be a rather dull one. But even at Stensvold). Coastally, Malibu La- By chance, the observer was mon-
the end of May, the show was far goon hosted seven Brant on May itoring a construction site where
from over. June through early July 17, and two were there through the bird was found— otherwise
produced an array of notable sight- June 14 (Jon Fisher). this spot would never have been
ings and a few exceptional rarities. covered. This is only the county’s
The only other waterfowl of note second Upland Sandpiper and first
In southern California, a push was a lingering male Ring-necked spring record.
of southeastern species included Duck at the Lancaster Sewer
Yellow-throated and White-eyed Ponds on June 13 (Jon Feenstra). A number of shorebird species
Vireos, Northern Parulas and linger through the summer in
Hooded Warblers. All were present Rare but regular in the county was small numbers. A Surfbird near
in above average numbers and that an adult Little Blue Heron that the Ballona channel on June 18
trend spilled over into LA County. was reported frequently at Del (Richard Greer) and three others-
Rey Lagoon and vicinity from there on June 12, fell into this cat-
Each time it seemed things May 31-July 4 (David Moody). egory (Michael Zarky).
might calm down, another good
bird turned up and vagrant passer- A White-faced Ibis, quite uncom- Though rare as migrants, even
ines were still being found as mon as a migrant on the coastal along the immediate coast, Red
southbound Least and Western slope, was along the LA River in Phalaropes occasionally turn up
Sandpipers, Greater Yellowlegs Van Nuys on May 15 (Mike well inland as evidenced by one at
and others were arriving. Stensvold). Also recorded was an the Lancaster Sewer Ponds on
early juvenile ibis on the LA River June 13 (Jon Feenstra).
Despite low rainfall for yet an- in Long Beach on June 28 (Jon
other season, habitat in the San Fisher). Already there are several There was less activity at the Lan-
Gabriel Mountains was in good Glossy Ibis records for California, caster ponds this year than last
condition, with plenty of activity thus it’s prudent to scrutinize any spring—and perhaps they received
through early summer. The com- Plegadis ibis in the county, and of less coverage by birders. Aside
bination of the reopening of the course to be aware of the field from the phalarope, reports were
Angeles Crest Highway and good marks of both. limited to a single Franklin’s Gull
habitat translated into an increase on May 26 (Tom Miko) and five
in birding activity and reports After a number of reports earlier in Bonaparte’s Gulls on June 13
from the mountains. the season, the last migrant Swain- (Jon Feenstra).
son’s Hawk was one over Hansen
It all added up to make for in- Dam on May 16 (Kimball Garrett). Nearby at the Piute Ponds on Ed-
teresting birding. Here’s a look at wards AFB, a single adult Arctic

E4 Western Tanager Vol. 76, No. 1


Tern on July 9 was noteworthy An intriguing find was a Yellow- In addition to the bonanza of
(Mike San Miguel). It’s also of billed Cuckoo along the Rio Bell’s Vireos at Hansen Dam
interest that one was present at the Hondo near South El Monte on this spring, two were at
same location almost exactly two June 28 (Dan Cooper). Formerly Schabarum Park in Rowland
years ago. common in the LA basin, this Heights on May 26 (Dan Cooper)
species vanished long ago as a indicating possible breeding
Always scarce close to shore was a breeding bird due largely to the there. A handful of other Bell’s
Common Murre found literally on destruction of the specialized ri- were on territories along the San
the sand at Venice Beach on May 23 parian habitat it requires. Excit- Gabriel River in Duarte, along
(Dan Cooper). Obviously such birds ing as it is, the occurrence of a the Rio Hondo near South El
are distressed in some way, and this single individual in appropriate Monte and in the Santa Fe Dam
one was feeding on crabs tossed to it habitat may well be an anomaly, basin in Irwindale and no doubt
by beachgoers. though the possibility exists that elsewhere. When assisted by
breeding might once again occur cowbird removal, this species
Remarkable was a Whip-poor-will in one or two riparian pockets . has proven very capable of
discovered high in the San Gabriels recovering where suitable habitat
on June 20 and reported through July The presence of an adult and a ju- still exists.
3 (Nick & Mary Freeman, Chris Tay- venile Red-breasted Sapsucker
lor). This marks the first county along Soledad Canyon Road near Several Red-eyed Vireos were
record in over a decade. Historically Santa Clarita on July 1 (Dan found with birds at the Village
Whip-poor-wills were detected with Cooper, Dave Bell) indicates local Green condos in Los Angeles
some regularity in the Big Pine and breeding. This notable record from June3-4 (Don Sterba), at
Table Mountain area, but even there away from known or expected Lake Balboa in Van Nuys on
they have gone unrecorded for many breeding areas highlights how un- June 10 (Jim Abernathy) and in
years. Lack of observer coverage at explored some of our remaining lower Big Tujunga Canyon on
dusk and just before dawn when riparian corridors are. June 22 (Mike San Miguel).
these birds being calling, is undoubt-
edly a part of the equation. Also quite interesting was a Wil- A Plumbeous Vireo was on the north
low Flycatcher present at Hansen slope of the San Gabriels along Big
Reminding us that autumn migration Dam from June 13-23 (Kimball Rock Creek on June 20 (Kimball
starts very early for some species, Garrett). Vocalizations, plumage Garrett) where this species is known
was a ‘first of fall’ Belted King- and a leg band suggested that this to have bred in past years. It’s likely
fisher at Hansen Dam on July 3 bird belonged to the southwestern that a few pairs continue to do so,
(Kimball Garrett). race extimus and this date was making this the only location in the
outside the spring migration win- county where both Cassin’s and
A Black Swift was observed on sev- dow. This is yet another species Plumbeous Vireos breed side by side.
eral evenings north of Claremont be- that had substantial historical pop-
tween June 28-July 4 (Tom Miko). ulations eliminated by the radical Yellow-throated Vireos were at
With only two known breeding sites destruction of riparian habitat, as Peck Pit in Arcadia from June 21-
in the San Gabriels, one wonders well as severe brood parasitism by 22 (Jon Fisher) and at Hansen
where this bird was roosting and cowbirds. At present there are no Dam on July 3 (Kimball Garrett).
whether it may have been a local known Willow Flycatcher breed- An above average number were
breeder. But since breeding birds are ing sites in the county. recorded in southern California
known to forage widely in search of this spring so it wasn’t surprising
food, it may have been from a loca- A juvenile Say’s Phoebe in the Sepul- that one or two eventually turned
tion many miles away. veda Basin on June 6 was probably the up in LA County. In California
result of local breeding (Jon Fisher). there is a noticeable pattern of
Expected in fall, but less so in This flycatcher has recently been vagrancy in this species with a
spring, was a White-winged recorded breeding at several locations spike in records every eight to
Dove in Lancaster from June 13- on the coastal slope where it was previ- nine years.
14 (Kumaran Arul). ously absent, including Hansen Dam.

Western Tanager September/October 2009 E5


An excellent find was a White- and another at the Village Green Now, in mid-August shore-
eyed Vireo at DeForest Park in Condominiums in Los Angeles bird migration is in full stride.
Long Beach which was present on June 25 (Don Sterba). All the usual spots will be well-
from July 2-4 (Karen Gilbert, Jeff covered by birders— the lower
Boyd). That this bird was discov- Three Black-and-white Warblers LA River, Piute Ponds, Malibu
ered is remarkable, given the fact turned up during the period. One Lagoon and Playa del Rey. Sort-
that it was not singing. This sight- was in Rolling Hills Estates on the ing through thousands of peeps
ing would represent only the third PVP on May 25 (Robb Hamilton), and others requires patience, but
accepted county record. another was at El Dorado Park in can offer rewards. These areas
Long Beach on May 31 (Kevin Al- will produce a number of good
Eleven Horned Larks seen flying caino) and a third was at Eaton birds this summer and fall. But
in off the ocean at Leo Carillo Canyon in Pasadena from June 18- rarities or not, the occurrence of
State Beach on June 27 (Kimball 21 (John Garrett). large numbers of shorebirds, es-
Garrett) were undoubtedly early pecially on the easily accessible
fall migrants. Although a lack of The lone American Redstart of LA River, is a spectacle that
suitable habitat makes this species the spring was at the Ballona should not be missed.
rather rare on our coastal slope, a Freshwater Marsh on June 22
number of them certainly occur as (Denise Perez, Mary Staff). Southbound passerines will
undetected ‘flyovers’. lag behind shorebirds and will be
A Hooded Warbler was at the evident by mid August. Many
Vagrant warblers were generally Loyola Marymount University will be moving through the
in short supply this spring. The Campus in Westchester on June mountains and taking advantage
exception was a wave of North- 10 (Dan Cooper). Others were of cooler temperatures and food
ern Parulas with at least nine in- in San Pedro on June 13 (Bob resources when the lowlands are
dividuals reported. With so many Beckler) and at Hahamongna especially dry and hot.
birds showing up, it became hard Watershed Park in Pasadena on
to keep track of which were new June 14 (Sue Horton). August and September are
and which were continuing birds. months to try and beat the heat,
The first two reports came on May A Summer Tanager was on the but it’s also a time when any
27 from the Ballona Freshwater USC Campus on June 2 (Tom patch of wet or green in the
Marsh (Don Sterba) and the Vil- Miko), while two were along deserts can be worth checking
lage Green Condos in Los Angeles Soledad Canyon Road July 1-4 for migrants. Of course they can
(Kimball Garrett). (Dan Cooper, Dave Bell). The also be found coastally and in
upper Santa Clara River drainage any number of city and county
A subsequent record of note is one of only two locations in parks.
came from the Village Green the county where this species is
Condominiums with a male and a known to breed regularly, the Looking ahead, there are in-
female there from June 25-July 7 other being near Valyermo. dications that we may be headed
(Don Sterba). Interactions ob- for an El Niño event this year—
served between these two birds Three Rose-breasted Grosbeaks the first in nearly a decade.
indicated possible breeding at were recorded, with one at El Do- Even an average season of rain-
this location. As counterintu- rado Park in Long Beach on May fall would be welcome at this
itive as it seems, this southeast- 28-31 (Karen Gilbert), another in point.
ern species is not only a vagrant Zuma Canyon on June 6 (Kimball
but also occasionally breeds in Garrett) and one in Long Beach
the county. on June 13 (Brian Daniels).

Two Tennessee Warblers were A male Indigo Bunting near Cabrillo


reported, with one in Long Beach in San Pedro on June 1 was the
Beach on June 13 (Sam Stewart) only one reported (David Ellsworth).

E6 Western Tanager Vol. 76, No. 1


Volunteer Corner — Message from Eleanor Osgood and Stacey Vigallon
n this issue we would like to President, Docents-in-the-Park; Nick Christian Alvez, Leili Azizi, Ned Bader,

I acknowledge the kindred spirits


of Los Angeles Audubon who
volunteered their energy and knowledge
Freeman, Field Trips Coordinator,
Compiler for the Lancaster Christmas Bird
Count, Board member. Docents-in-the-
Tamara Ball, Michelle Black, Maureen
Bohler, Hank Borenstein, Clea
Bowdery, Allison Brandin, R.C. Brody,
to help further the mission of Los Angeles Park, Field Trip Leader; Kimball Garrett, Rocky Brown, Martin Byhower, Clara
Audubon Society. Those acknowledged Breeding Bird Atlas Committee, L.A. Cartwright, Guy Commeau, Dan
on this page have volunteered at events, County Birds of Special Concern Cooper, Barbara Courtois, Annie
participated on committees, helped with Committee, Ornithological Consultant, Daly, Tracy Drake, Gianna Dryer,
publications and with the operations of Field Trip leader; Garry George, JoAnn, David and Maegan Fellner,
our chapter between September, 2008 Conservation Committee Chair, Lisa Fimiani, Sally Garcia, Garry
and July, 2009. Nominations Committee, Board Member; George, Candy Groat, Jessica Hall,
Margot Griswald, habitat restoration in Tyler Hallman, Robb Hamilton, Cindy
N EW VOLUNTEERS Baldwin Hills; Dexter Kelly, Executive and Jonathan Hardin, Tommye Hite,
Rocky Baisden, Digital Scanning; Paul Past President, Publicity, Outreach, Field April House, Karin Howard, Judy
Caplan-Bennett, Baldwin Hills Overlook, Trips Leader; Walter Lamb, Publicity Howell, Shirley Imsand, Meighan
Docents-in-the-Park, Publicity Committee; Committee, Docents-in-the-Park, Outreach Jackson-Dietenhofer, Robert Jeffers,
Kara Donahue and her husband, Eddie, Committee; Mary Loquvam, Green House Jim Jennings, Laurel Jones, Allan
L.A. River Event, Tree Trimming Guide; Internship Program; Linda Navroth, Tree Kotin, Anne Laval, Nan Lehnert and
Elizabeth Isenberg, Publicity Committee; Trimming Guide, Conservation Committee, Family, Kiersten Lo, Amber Lomet and
Theresa Kim, Audubon House Bookstore; Outreach; Linda Oberholtzer, Editor of Family, Mary Loquvam, Chris Lord,
Georgie Pettis, Outreach; Sophie Robinson, Western Tanager, Outreach, Board member; Miguel Luna, Karen Martin, Ron
Docents-in-the-Park, Publicity Committee; Eleanor Osgood, Bird Walks coordinator Melin, Richard Montijo, David Moody,
Heather Sabin, Facebook Administrator, and leader, Docents-in-the Park, Volunteer Jess Morton, Julie Naylor, Margery
Publicity Committee; Bill Slaton, Baldwin Coordinator, Tree Trimming Guide, Board Nicolson, Don Nierlich, Mary O’Neill
Hills Overlook, Docents-in-the-Park; Cat member; Antonio Paiz, Outreach; and Family, Kris Ohlenkamp, Eleanor
Waters, Centennial Committee, Elizabeth A. Rinnander, Outreach; Judith Osgood, Lu Pauzoles, Ann Perkins,
Nominations Committee Ruskin, Bird walk leader and Conservation Christy Pierce, Lauren Platt, Marian
Committee; Tom Ryan, L.A. County Bird Porter, Mary Prismon, Calin Rusti,
S EASONED VOLUNTEERS Species of Special Concern Committee; Thomas Ryan, Laurel Scott,
Hanna Hayman, Audubon House Jose Santillan, Docents-in-the-Park, Christopher Taylor, Vic Warren, Ken
Bookstore & Membership, Dorothy Outreach; Don Sterba, Bird walk leader, Wheelan, Shin-Yee Yau, Dr. Joan
Schwarz, Audubon House Librarian; Larry Docent-in-the-Park; Rich Waters, Hackeling, Dr. Meredith Leonard, Dr.
Allen, Breeding Bird Atlas Committee, L.A. Outreach; Irwin Woldman, Field trip leader; Jonathan Campbell, and their classes at
County Birds Species of Special Concern, Dick Barnes, Dick Barth, Todd Battey, Los Angeles Valley and Santa Monica
Compiler for Malibu Christmas Bird Count, Jean Brandt, Eric and Ann Brooks, Stan Colleges, Employees of the Toyota
Field Trip leader; Olga Clarke, Gray, Fred Heath, Howard King, Kris Corporate Office in Torrance, The
International Trips Chair, Hospitality, Ohlenkamp, Ray Schep, Robert Shanman Dorsey High School Eco-club, and
Bookstore, Board Member; Dan Cooper, and Irwin Wolman, have volunteered their Leo Politi Elementary School.
L.A. County Bird Species of Special time to lead field trips. Jon Feenstra, Wes
Concern Committee, Compiler of the Los Fritz, Terry Hunefeld, Todd McGrath, We look forward to your renewed
Angeles Christmas Bird Count; David De Millie Newton, David Pereksta, and Phil commitments as well as to seeing new
Lange, Board officer and Acting President; Sayre, have assisted in organizing and faces. Because of your energy and
Lisa Fimiani, Green House Internship leading the pelagic trips. your time commitments, Los Angeles
Program, Baldwin Hills Overlook, Finance Audubon is able to have the
Committee Chair, Board member, S NOWY P LOVER AND environmental and conservation
Outreach; Jon Fisher, “Birds of the L EAST T ERN V OLUNTEERS impact that we have, and able to offer
Season” in the Western Tanager, Rare Bird Greg Ainsworth, Aurelio Albaisa, the programs and events that we do.
Report tape; Paul Fox, Data base support, Sandra Albers, Alma Alegria, Jenny You are Los Angeles Audubon!
Board member; Mary Freeman, Programs Aleman-Zometa, Larry Allen, Chuck
Chair, Field Trip Leader, Board Member- Almdale, Lillian Johnson Almdale, Thank you all for your support.

Western Tanager September/October 2009 E7


I n t e r p r e t i n g N at u r e
—By Stacey Vigallon,
Director of Interpretation
On June 10, 2009 students participating in the Baldwin Hills Greenhouse Program presented their
research at the Los Angeles Audubon general meeting. Interns conducted their projects during their
junior or senior year of high school, and their projects addressed real-world habitat restoration
issues. The information obtained through this work will be used by Dr. Margot Griswold,
Restoration Ecologist, for the in-progress restoration of the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook State
Park. Reprinted here are project abstracts…

Baldwin Hills Greenhouse Program Interns from the 2008-2009 school year (from left to right):
Chris Simmons, Jesus Macias, Fonda Williams, Wanda Carter, Emily Cobar.

Non-irrigated Versus Irrigated treatments as well as the gallon non- Program is to reintroduce native
Nassella pulchra: Who Will Be irrigated treatment. It was plants and animals to the Baldwin
The Last Plant Standing? interesting to find that although Hills area of Los Angeles,
On November 25, 2008, I gallon plants had a better overall California. My project dealt with the
planted 72 Nassella pulchra plants survival rate, the difference between Cactus Wren, a native bird whose
on a hillside in the Baldwin Hills to gallon and plug survival was only numbers are declining in Los
test the survival of irrigated vs. non- 14%, not drastic. I am interested to Angeles. I have designed and created
irrigated plants, for gallon pots and know if the survival rate would have a nesting structure to mimic the
2-inch plug plant sizes. By the end been the same had the experiment natural nesting sites composed of the
of the six months of my experiment been conducted during the summer. Prickly Pear Cactus (Opuntia
the total survival did not fall below —Wanda Carter littoralis), a California native plant. I
75% for any of the three irrigation combined artistic and ecological
treatments (no irrigation, one-time Design of an Aesthetically Pleasing ideals to develop my sculpture. My
irrigation, regular irrigation), and Cactus Wren Nesting Structure sculpture had to meet the nesting
was as high as 100% for both 2-inch The objective of the Baldwin requirements of the Cactus Wren: 5ft
and gallon regular irrigation Hills Greenhouse Internship tall, 7ft wide, providing protection

E8 Western Tanager Vol. 76, No. 1


and support for the nest itself. I also Wrens rely on O. littoralis as a nesting Member Acknowledgements
developed a survey comparing my structure and ecologists want to restore cont’d. from page 3.
sculpture with a pre-existing similar this native cactus species to this parkland
structure created by the Irvine Ranch within the industrialized landscape of Lifetime Membership
Conservancy (IRC). The survey was Los Angeles. This cactus species has a Amy Worell & Bob Walden
one page with 10 questions and germination rate of 13%. I studied the
included photos of my sculpture, the germination rate for O. littoralis seeds Donors
nesting structure developed by IRC, that were leached and non-leached under 41 Pounds.org
and an image of a standard garden 3 water treatments: 1500mL/week, Joe Church
trellis as a control. The survey was 150mL/week, and control (no water). Clif Bar Family Foundation
created with the idea that people After a trial period of 89 days of Robbin & Don Close, in memory of
have their own opinions about watering and monitoring, not one of the
Esther Shorr
aesthetics, conservation, and 898 seeds germinated. Future
Brian M Collier
recycling. Respondents to the survey researchers might be interested in
William Cullen
deemed my structure to be more exposing seeds in acid to get a higher
Norine Dresser, in memory of Jane
aesthetically pleasing as well as germination rate or possibly working
Dicker Jones
better able to fulfill the nesting with broken cactus pads.
Edmond Hewlett
requirements of the Cactus Wren. —Emily Cobar
Arthur Langton
—Jesus Macias
Kurt Leuschner
Growth Rate and Root Formation
Linda Navroth
Do Fuel Types Affect of Opuntia littoralis
Margery Nicolson
Opuntia littoralis Germination? November 2008 to April 2009 I
Eleanor Osgood
From November 2008 to April conducted research on Opuntia littoralis
2009 we measured the germination in the Baldwin Hills area of Los Larry Pasquali
rates for Opuntia littoralis seeds Angeles, California to find a more Judy Gragg Scharf
exposed to fires fueled by native and efficient way to grow O.littoralis. I Janice Schwegler
non-native plants in the Baldwin observed the growth and root formation David Seay
Hills area of Southern California. O. rate among three different treatments: Caryol Ann Smith
littoralis is often used as nesting pre-rooted plants from gallon pots, Lori Winer-Hecht
sites for the Cactus Wren calloused cuttings placed directly in the
(Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus), soil (planted) and calloused cuttings
however, O. littoralis has an low placed directly on the ground (surface). Los Angeles Audubon
germination rate (13%). In our study This is to help reestablish the Cactus
is able to accommodate
we had 0% germination in all Wren (Campylorhynchus
all forms of planned
treatments including control. Future brunneicapillus) in the Baldwin Hills
giving including wills and
researchers and conservationists area or other areas prone to their
should consider more research on the settlement. Out of 180 cactus plants
trusts, annuities, and
results of seeds bathed in acid and 100% (n=18) of those I extracted from property donations. If
those obtained from mature surface and planted treatments had you are thinking of
O.littoralis fruits. These treatments rooted within six months. Pre-rooted leaving a legacy to local
may yield a higher germination rate cactus plants maintained the largest pad conservation of birds and
than seeds exposed to fire. width among the three treatments. their habitat, you might
—Chris Simmons Considering time and cost, using surface be able to reap the
cactus cuttings would be a more benefits now of planning
Germination of Opuntia littoralis Seeds efficient treatment when trying to for later.
in Three Water Treatments restore native habitats, although all Contact:
From January-April 2009, I treatments had root growth. Annual maryloquvam@laaudubon.org
examined the germination rate of rainfall should also be taken into with any questions regarding
Opuntia littoralis in a greenhouse setting consideration for any long-term projects. planned giving to Los
at the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook —Fonda Williams Angeles Audubon.
State Park in Southern California. Cactus

Western Tanager September/October 2009 E9


Saturday, September 26 Center. Meet E of the kiosk at 8:00 a.m.
Field Trips Piute Ponds Bring a lunch. Send $15 fee to LAAS’s PO
Leader: Jim Moore. A good mix of Box 931057, Los Angeles CA 90093-1057.
Field trips often require more time or shorebirds and early waterfowl, with a
effort than do Bird Walks. They delve more chance at LeConte’s Thrasher and Sunday, November 1
deeply into identification, natural histories Pectoral Sandpiper. Possible extension to Oxnard Plain
and interactions observed in the field. No Lancaster sewage ponds or Apollo Park Leader: Mary & Nick Freeman. Meet at
pets or small children, please. Contact afterwards. Carpool at Denny's (Roxford the Hueneme sod fields at 8:00 a.m. to look
information will be released for & I-5), leaving at 7 a.m., or meet at the over the American Pipits for the Red-
carpooling unless requested otherwise. Avenue C gate at 7:45 a.m. Directions: throated variety, as well as longspurs.
More details are available online at Take Hwy 14 N to Avenue D, head E to Golden-Plovers are also possible. There
www.laaudubon.org Sierra Hwy, head N to Avenue C, and go may be eastern vagrants to chase. Mugu
a block E to the end. Bring lunch, water estuary, Sycamore Canyon, and local
Friday, August 28 and sunblock. Expect hot weather, and tamarisk stands are also possibilities.
Point Mugu NWS afternoon wind. High clearance vehicles Directions: From the 101 N, drive S on
Tentative trip cancelled due to may be a plus. No cameras on base! This Rice Avenue to the end, then turn Rt. on
scheduling difficulties. is a joint trip with SFVAS. To reserve call Hueneme Rd. Meet on the N (Rt) side of
Audubon House (323) 876-0202 by Hueneme Rd. a few blocks west of this
Sunday, September 13 September 23 with name, phone number, turn, and just before Casper Rd. Scopes
Ventura County Game Preserve and e-mail address. Limited sign-up of 15. helpful. Bring lunch and bird 'till we drop.
Tentative trip cancelled due to No drop-ins. Nominal donation to LAAS is suggested,
scheduling difficulties. envelopes will be provided.
Saturday, October 3
September 19 & 20 Malibu to McGrath Field Trip Saturday, November 7
Galileo Hills and California City Leader Barbara Johnson. Late Lake Perris Area
Leaders: Nick & Mary Freeman. Galileo passerines and shorebirds should be Leader: Howard King. The Little Gulls,
is arguably the best fall migrant trap in the moving through coastal migration Ruddy Ground Dove, and Least and
state. Western warblers and flycatchers spots, mixed with early wintering Vermilion flycatchers of past years may
should headline. Reptiles may be birds. Possibly 100 species. not be back, but surely something will take
encountered! Directions: Take Hwy 14 Directions: Take PCH N over the their places! Last year, TWO Lesser
about 4 miles past Mojave, then turn right bridge in Malibu, and turn right on Black-backed Gulls! Directions:Take the
on California City Blvd. Drive through Cross Creek Road for free parking 10 or 60 Fwy E to the 215 Fwy S, exit E
town about a mile past the shops, turn left along the road (and Starbucks), or turn at Ramona Expressway, continue E just
past the golf course on Randsburg-Mojave left into the fee lot. Cross PCH, and past Perris Blvd., and meet at the Farmer
Rd., and veer right on 20 Mule Team Rd. meet at the kiosk by the lagoon at 7:30 Boys Restaurant on the S side of the road.
Turn left on Rutgers Rd. at the Silver a.m. for a full day of birding. There Leave from here at 8:00 a.m.. Bring lunch,
Saddle sign before the hill, take your first may be one or two access fees at warm clothing and footwear for possible
paved right, your first right again, into the McGrath, elsewhere. Bring lunch. mud. Possible entrance fee.
Silver Saddle Country Club, followed by No sign-up or fee for the trip.
two paved lefts into the lot in front of the Saturday, December 19
building. Park by the pond. A little over Lancaster Christmas Bird Count
Saturday, October 10
2 hrs driving time from L.A. Bring Contact compiler Nick Freeman at:
San Diego Area Field Trip (818) 247-6172 or
lunches, sun block. Reserve a room in Leaders: Nick & Mary Freeman. A good
Mojave, or inquire with Silver Saddle mnfreeman@earthlink.net
portion of the morning will probably be to be placed on a team or be given an
Ranch & Club, (760) 373-8617 for spent at Pt. Loma. Some odd birds have
present weekend policy. Meet at 7:00 a.m. area.
been known to pop up here during late
on Saturday, and bird all day, and bird until migration. Other possible areas include the
3-4 p.m. Sunday. Nominal donation to Sunday, December 20
Tijuana River marsh and nearby farm Malibu Christmas Bird Count
Los Angeles Audubon is suggested; fields. Directions: Take the 5 Fwy S about
envelopes will be provided. Call Audubon Contact compiler Larry Allen at:
three miles past Route 52 to the Clairemont (626) 288-2701 or
House (323) 876-0202 to reserve. 12 max. Drive offramp and head W into the small
larryallen@earlymusicla.org
lot adjacent to the Mission Bay Information to participate.
E10 Western Tanager Vol. 76, No. 1
Before setting out on any event, please call the LAAS bird tape at (323) 874-1318, Option #4,
for special instructions or possible cancellations that may have occurred.
TO RESERVE MAIL SASE & FEE TO: Los Angeles Audubon, PO Box 931057 Los Angeles, CA 90093-1057

Leaders: Ann and Eric Brooks;


International Bird Walks Eleanor Osgood This trip covers
landscaped parkland,lake and native
Birding Tours Bird Walks are appropriate for young coastal scrub habitats and is paced for
bird watchers age 6 years and older. beginning birders. Binoculars
Patagonia, Argentina Carpooling is encouraged. provided. If you wish to carpool, or
Oct. 23 - Nov. 7, 2009 Binoculars are provided on some for more information, contact Eleanor
Pre & Post Extensions to walks as noted below. NO sign-up, Osgood at volunteer@laaudubon.org
Northwest Argentina & Iguazu Falls NO fees, just show up! More detailed or (310)-839-5420.
This southern-most tip of the South descriptions are vailable online at
American continent, has such diverse www.laaudubon.org Ballona Wetlands Bird Walk
habitats as arid steppes, southern Sunday, September 20, 2009
beech forests and sea shores of the Topanga State Park Birdwalk Sunday, October 18, 2009
Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. A unique Sunday, September 6, 2009 3 rd Sunday of the month
opportunity to bird in superb Sunday, October 4, 2009 (except for December)
destinations, framed by incredible 1 st Sunday of every month Leaders: Bob Shanman and Friends
landscapes, such as the Perito Moreno Time: 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Time: 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 P.M.
Glacier, the Beagle Channel and the An ideal trip for a beginning birder Contact: Bob (310) 326-2473;
steppes of Patagonia. or someone new to the area. wildbirdbob@cs.com
Ecuador: Best of the Andes Leaders: Ken Wheeland
Dec. 26, 2009 - Jan. 9, 2010 (310) 455-1401, ksafarri@aol.com Complete descriptions and directions for
with Galapagos Extension and Chris Tosdevin (310) 455-1270 each bird walk are available on our website
Jan. 8 - 13, 2010 www.laaudubon.org. Please call the contact
Upper Franklin Canyon number for additional assistance.
Ecuador may be one of South
(Sooky Goldman Nature Center)
America's smallest countries, but for
Sunday, September 13, 2009
phenomenal birding and spectacular
Leader: Eleanor Osgood
scenery, its extreme biodiversity
Sunday October 11, 2009
cannot be imagined. Visit seven
Leader: Irwin Woldman
Pelagic Trips
zones of different regions on this
2nd Sunday of every month
serious but friendly excursion, Pelagic Trip reservations are made by mailing
Time: 8:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. in your check and SASE, or by calling and
accompanied by a local expert guide.
Join us as we take a casual walk paying with your credit card. Detailed
around the ponds and trails of this information about each pelagic trip can be
urban oak woodland nature preserve. found online at www.laaudubon.org. Call
(323) 874-1318, Option 4, for special
Meet in the parking lot of the Sooky instructions or last minute cancellations that
Goldman Nature Center and bird for a may have occurred.
few hours in the cool of native trees
and a pond. Binoculars provided. Saturday, September 26, 2009
If you wish to carpool, or for more Around the Northern Channel
information, contact Eleanor Osgood Islands for rare Shearwaters
at volunteer@laaudubon.org or call Departs 7:30 a.m. Santa Barbara Harbor
For information and itinerary on (310) 839-5420. This 8 hour trip departs from the Santa
International Birding Tours, contact: Barbara Harbor at 7:30 a.m. on the
Olga Clarke oclarketravel@earthlink.net Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area catamaran Condor Express.. There is a
Los Angeles Audubon, Travel Director Saturday, September 19, 2009 complete galley that serves breakfast and
2027 El Arbolita Dr. Saturday, October 17, 2009 lunch. Leaders: Terry Hunefeld, Todd
Glendale, CA 91208-1805
3rd Saturday of the month McGrath and David Pereksta. $115
Ph/Fax: (818) 249-9511
Time: 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Western Tanager September/October 2009 E11
mONTHLY pROGRAMS
Meet at 7:30 PM in the Community Building in Plummer Park
7377 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood, CA 90046

"Nick Freeman holding a Yellow-breasted Chat at


"Dave Weeshoff with Kings" Photo by Dave Weeshoff.
Zuma Canyon" Photo by Mary Freeman.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009 Wednesday, October 14th, 2009


"Birds, Bergs and Beasts: "15 years of bird banding in the Santa
A Southern Ocean Experience" Monica Mountains: What have we
learned?"
Dave Weeshoff, San Fernando Valley Audubon
Society Board Member, will present photos and quips of Walt Sakai has been banding birds in Zuma
his recent travels to the Antarctic Peninsula, South Canyon the past 15 years. This chaparral-covered
Georgia and the Falkland Islands. Included will be canyon attracts many resident and migrant bird
penguins, albatrosses, petrels, whales, cute seal pups, sea species. It has chaparral-covered hillsides, and
lions, and other rascally creatures, as well as amazing sycamore and oak trees dotting the canyon bottom.
icebergs and landscapes of phenomenal beauty. Come What have been some of the more unusual birds
help him identify some of the mystery birds in his found? Do our chaparral species seem to be doing
photos. Dave is on the Board of Directors of the well in this "typical" coastal chaparral canyon?
International Bird Rescue Research Center and the San Are exotic parrots becoming more prevalent here?
Fernando Valley Audubon Society, and is a frequent Walt conducts regular monthly banding runs and
guest speaker on environmental issues for Heal the Bay, tonight, he will discuss the findings and trends of
an organization concerned with improving the water the species found in this wonderful canyon.
quality off the Southern California coast, and the
Algalita Marine Research Foundation, concerned with
the plague of plastic in the oceans.

AUDUBON HOUSE HOURS


Hours: Monday - Thursday 9:30a.m.-4:00 p.m.
Closed: Friday, Saturday, Sunday.
Closed: Mon., September 7th Labor Day
Open: 1st Saturday of the month, September 5th and October 3rd 10 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
Open: 2nd Wednesday of the month, we are open 9:30 a.m until 9:45 p.m for those attending the Membership Program.