December 10, 2018

Bird counts are a great way to help and learn about local nature.

For birders, December is the month of Christmas bird counts. These volunteer bird surveys are a form of citizen science — projects that enlist the efforts of non-professionals to collect data and sometimes to aid in its analysis. Broad public participation allows more data to be gathered, across wider areas and over a longer time period than would be possible by other means. This information enriches our collective scientific understanding of the world. But there’s also a personal payoff: projects like these offer some of the best ways to learn about local nature. They are a free passport to decades of accumulated local wisdom, patient and personalized teaching, and vast troves of newly democratized knowledge.

Posted on December 10, 2018 11:01 AM by biohexx1 biohexx1 | 0 comments | Leave a comment

119th annual Christmas Bird Count hosted by Tahoe Institute for Natural Science.

Each of the citizen scientists who annually take part in the Christmas Bird Count (CBC) makes a valuable contribution to conservation. Participants collect critical data on bird population trends, and over the years, these volunteers have built a database unmatched by any other wildlife census. The Audubon Society and other organizations use the CBC database to assess the health of bird populations — and to help guide conservation action.

Posted on December 10, 2018 07:16 AM by biohexx1 biohexx1 | 0 comments | Leave a comment

Two more California condors were released to the wild above San Simeon.

Since 2015, 18 juvenile California condors have been released from an enormous fly pen in the rugged, bouldered mountains high above San Simeon. The latest releases of these endangered birds include Minerva (female) and Pigwidgeon (male), who were set free on Nov. 13.

Of the 18 released birds, 15 have survived, according to Joe Burnett, senior wildlife biologist with the Ventana Wildlife Society (VWS) in Big Sur. One of the lost birds’ demise is attributed to lead poisoning; the other is due to drowning in a large uncovered water tank while trying to get a drink. The third bird’s death is not yet understood.

Posted on December 10, 2018 07:10 AM by biohexx1 biohexx1 | 0 comments | Leave a comment

December 06, 2018

Interior Secretary Zinke to Slash Sage-grouse Protections in Seven Western States.

The Bureau of Land Management’s proposed changes to resource-management plans in Colorado, northeastern California, Nevada, Oregon, Idaho, Utah and Wyoming would unravel greater sage-grouse protections put in place just three years ago. In 2015 western states and federal officials approved plans to reverse the bird’s decline and prevent the need to list it as endangered.

Posted on December 06, 2018 09:09 PM by biohexx1 biohexx1 | 0 comments | Leave a comment

December 05, 2018

Yosemite Area Audubon Society Announces Christmas Bird Count Schedule.

The Mariposa CBC will occur Saturday, December 15. Contact Len McKenzie at (209) 769-0566 or for more information and to get instructions and assignments to specific zones within the Mariposa count circle. (Please note that participants will not assemble in town for a pre-count meeting that morning, as in previous years, but rather will go directly to their assigned areas to meet their party leaders.)

The Yosemite CBC, started in 1932, is slated for the following day, Sunday, December 16. Prospective counters should contact Sarah Stock,, to register and receive zone assignments for the Yosemite count.

The Lost Lake CBC in Fresno County will be held Saturday, December 29. Visit for details.

The Merced National Wildlife Refuge CBC will occur on Thursday, January 3, 2019. Contact Larry Parmeter,, for additional information and instructions.

The Oakhurst CBC will take place Saturday, January 5, 2019. Participants should meet at the Burger King in Oakhurst at 7:00 a.m. that day for instructions and zone assignments. Call (559) 760-6327 or email Vernon Johnson at for more information.

Posted on December 05, 2018 12:04 PM by biohexx1 biohexx1 | 0 comments | Leave a comment

December 04, 2018

Joshua Tree Christmas Bird Count

Birdwatchers are needed to help with the Joshua Tree National Park Christmas Bird Count. This year's
count will mark the 51st Christmas Bird Count held at the park. Christmas Count data is used in many scientific studies and constitutes the
world's largest body of information about wintering bird populations.

✔ When: Friday, January 4, 2019, 7:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
✔ Where: Group 1, Indian Cove Ranger Station
Group 2, West Entrance Station
✔ What to bring: Lunch, something to drink, binoculars, field guides,
warm clothing (you will be in the field all day)

For more information, contact:
Joe Zarki at

Posted on December 04, 2018 10:32 AM by biohexx1 biohexx1 | 0 comments | Leave a comment

Why do roadrunners disappear from the desert each winter? This ecologist has a guess.

“How fast can a roadrunner run?” is a question I am often asked. The top speed given in the literature is 18 miles per hour. I put the top speed closer to 20 based on a roadrunner running alongside my vehicle for a short distance. In either case, a roadrunner’s speed is less than half that of a race horse. Winning Brew reached nearly 44 mph at the 2008 Penn National Race Course in Grantville, Penn. A roadrunner’s top speed is also less than a human sprinter. Usain Bolt, the Olympic gold medalist from Jamaica, was once clocked at 27 miles per hour.

Posted on December 04, 2018 03:20 AM by biohexx1 biohexx1 | 0 comments | Leave a comment

December 03, 2018

Join in on Audubon’s Winter Bird Counts.

This year the bird-count dates are: Groveland, December 14; Sonora, December 15; and Calaveras, December 29. The Groveland and Sonora counts’ group leader is Steve Umland,; and the Calaveras leaders are Keith and Sandra Maurer, Seasoned as well as novice birders are welcome in each group, so people with less experience have a great opportunity for learning. To learn more about Audubon’s Christmas Bird Count, visit

Posted on December 03, 2018 10:27 AM by biohexx1 biohexx1 | 0 comments | Leave a comment

December 02, 2018

My Word: Hundreds of bird species imperiled in North America.

Many birds that might normally feed primarily on seeds or fruit, feed their young almost exclusively on the larval form of the insects butterflies and moths — caterpillars. Caterpillars are soft, very digestible, and protein rich. Tallamy then pointed out that insects, such as butterflies and moths, have co-evolved with native plants and trees, so much so that they rely almost 100 percent on native plants and trees for food. Insects virtually cannot and do not feed on non-native plants and trees.

Posted on December 02, 2018 10:15 AM by biohexx1 biohexx1 | 0 comments | Leave a comment

December 01, 2018

Bald Eagle Taken Into Custody.

An injured bald eagle was taken into custody by Yurok Tribal Police and a California Department of Fish and Wildlife Warden .

Posted on December 01, 2018 11:50 AM by biohexx1 biohexx1 | 0 comments | Leave a comment