-----------------Naturalist training sessions scheduled for Central Valley-----------------

California Naturalist training will be offered in the central San Joaquin Valley for the first time this spring.

The program uses a science curriculum, hands-on learning and volunteer service to inspire stewardship of the state’s parks, wetlands, coastal areas, mountains, foothills and forests. To become a certified California Naturalist, trainees take 40 hours of classroom and field courses and complete a capstone project.

Sessions will be offered through the Sierra Foothill Conservancy in Fresno County, the UC Merced Vernal Pools and Grassland Preserve at the university and UC Merced Sierra Nevada Institute at Yosemite National Park.

The program with the conservancy begins in March. Classroom sessions are 6 pm. Fridays on March 13, 20, 27, and April 10, 11, 17, and 24. Field sessions will be on each of the following Saturdays.

For details on cost and registration, visit calnat.ucanr.edu.

Partial scholarships are available to graduating high school seniors and college students and to people engaged in work (volunteer or paid) that directly impacts under-served communities. Four units of college credits are available for participants through the US Davis extension.

------------------------------Temperance Flat Plan/Draft EIS------------------------------

We're keeping an eye on developments regarding the plans for a new reservoir, Temperance Flat, on the San Joaquin River, northeast of Fresno. A draft EIS was released the first week of September, with public hearings in Fresno on October 16, 2014.  The public has until October 21, 2014 to comment on the document.  Read more here (Fresno Bee article dated September 5, 2014).

------------------------------The Local is Global------------------------------
Although the Yosemite Area Audubon Society is primarily focused on Mariposa and eastern Madera Counties, and thsurrounding e areas we also acutely recognize that habitat changes in our area can have far-flung effects on populations of birds who migrate through or overwinter. With the goal of identifying potential impacts on birds, their habitat, and other animal species that interact in our ecosystems, we seek not only to protect but also to improve the local habitat.

Why be concerned about events half-way around the globe? It boils down to this: Nature does not observe or respect political boundaries. Since so many bird species are migratory, habitat losses that appear far away can affect the local area. For example, the Swainson’s Hawk that summers here may be the longest traveler in this area, going as far as the tip of South America during our winter. For this species to thrive, habitat on both ends of the migration, as well as flyover areas on the way, must be preserved.

In a similar vein, our area hosts wintering birds from the Arctic, as well as strays from Asia which can be found in the valley floor during the winter months. The summer song birds and hummingbirds we enjoy here spend their winters in Mexico, Central and South America. Loss of habitat at either end imperils those species.

What difference does one species make? Every species counts. The loss of one species can affect a local ecosystem in ways that may not be immediately obvious. Examples of this are keystone species whose habits help support a diversity of other species. In this area of oak savanna habitat, the Acorn Woodpecker and the Northern Flicker are two such keystone species. They are the cavity makers that leave the nesting hold that many other species including the Oak Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatch, Western Bluebird and jays, depend upon for nesting. Cutting the oak savanna reduces the number of bird species that can nest there, and therefore reduces the number of birds in that area.

-------------------What You Can Do ---------------------
Volunteer for local citizen science projects - go on the Raptor Runs, work on the nestbox program or participate in the annual Christmas Bird Counts. Email Lowell Young or Bill Ralph for more information about volunteering for any of these opportunities.

Elected Officials Information

US Senator and Representative Contact Info:

Senator Barbara Boxer

112 Hart Senate Office Building

Washington, DC 20510

(202) 224-3553


Senator Dianne Feinstein

331 Hart Senate Office Building

Washington, DC 20510

(202) 224-3841


Representative Jeff Denham

1605 Longworth HOB

Washington, DC 20515



California State Senator and Representative Contact Information:


Assembly District 25

Kristin Olsen


Capitol Address

State Capitol

Room 2111

Sacramento, CA 94249-0025

(916) 319-2025


District Address
3719 Tully Road Suite C
Modesto, CA 95356
(209) 576-6425


Senate (District 14)

Tom Berryhill


Capitol Address

State Capitol
Room 3076
Sacramento, CA 94248-0001
(916) 651-4014

District Address

4641 Spyres Way Suite 2
Modesto, CA 95356


Help Condors Through Online Observations

The Condor Watch Project is asking for volunteers to participate in condor conservation by viewing online photographs of condors taken while they are feeding.  To learn more, or to volunteer for the project, visit the Condor Watch website.

Penguin Watch Citizen Science

Another citizen science opportunity you can do from your computer.  Online volunteers are being asked to classify images of penguin families to help monitor the health of penguin colonies in Antarctica.

Learn more here.

Birds and Conservation in the News

Vulnerable grassland birds abandon mating sites near wind turbines.  Read more (Science Daily May 6, 2015)

Reminder to clean your feeders to help prevent salmonella outbreaks among birds Read more (Santa Cruz Sentinel March 15, 2015)

Snow geese illness in Idaho - avian cholera Read more (Aljazeera  America March 17, 2015)

California leads way in reducing use of rodenticide, protecting wildlife Read more (Aljazeera America February 16, 2015)

Human behaviors affecting bird communities in residential areas Read more (Science Daily January 7, 2015)

Exotic mange outbreak among California eagle population  Read more (American Veterinary Medical Association Journal)

Condor cams, scientists use video to study condors  Read more (Los Angeles Times)

Bird species seen at backyard feeders changing, probably due to climate change  Read more (Science Daily)

The perilous migration of the Sooty Shearwater Read more (Truth out)

USGS study of beak deformity possibly caused by virus  Read more (Truth out)

Birds follow areas of plant growth - the "green wave" during their migrations.  Read more (Science Daily)

Climate science helped by contributions of citizen scientists  Read more (Science Daily)
August 11, 2014 Wildlife Conservation Society study shows ravens in Idaho select artificial nest substrates (cell towers, etc) more often than do hawks.  Read more (Science Daily)
August 8, 2014 Clapper Rail renamed, is now Ridgway's Rail.  Read more (SF Gate)

August 7, 2014 Galapagos Hawks and Lice Read more (Science Daily)

August 2, 2014 How Dinosaurs "Shrank" to Become Birds.  Read more (BBC Nature)

June 27, 2014 New family of passerines identified in China.  Read more (Focusing on Wildlife)

June 26, 2014 Snowmelt affects timing of breeding for arctic birds.  Read more (Science Daily)

June 23, 2014 Habitat loss better explains population decline in grassland birds.  Read more (Penn State University)

June 13, 2014 Tar sends development adversely affecting bird populations.  Read more (Think Progress)

May 21, 2014 Migrant songbird populations negatively affected by conventional oil and gas development.  Read more (Science Daily)

May 19, 2014 eBird data submitted by citizen scientists help map flyways of North American birds.  Read more (Science News Online)

May 14, 2014 Wind conditions during spring migration apparent predictor of survival and timing of breeding in yellow warblers.  Read more (Science Daily)

May 13 2014 Ingestion of plastic a big threat for seabirds.  Read more (Science Daily)

May 9, 2014 Cattle Egrets are an invasive species that, in our area, pose a major predation threat to Tri-colored Blackbird populations.  Read about studies on the colonization process in Brazil by these birds.  (Science Daily)

May 8, 2014 Electromagnetic interference disrupts orientation in migratory birds.  Read more (Science Daily)

May 8, 2014 Study on timing of juvenile bird deaths - most just after leaving the next.  Read more (Science Daily)

April 28, 2014 Urban river pollutants study finds wild bird development suppressed.  Read more (Science Daily)

April 24, 2014 Golden eagle genome sequenced - results highlight eagle vision and smell.  Read more (Purdue University)
April 23, 2014 Finnish study confirms northern species rapidly retreating northward.  Read more (Science Daily)
Drug approved in EU that could spell trouble for vultures.  Read more (The Independent)
Irrigated agriculture and long-billed curlews, study by Point Blue Conservation Science and Audubon California.  Read more (Science Daily)
Chris Packham, nature program presenter for the BBC, criticized Malta for bird slaughter.  Read more (The Independent)
April 10, 2014 Scientists publish world's first rankings of evolutionary distinct under threat of extinction, the bird species that have the fewest relatives.  Read more (Science Daily)
April 10, 2014 Several Adirondack bird species are in trouble, due to climate change and habitat loss.  Read more (Science Daily)
See the Conservation Archive Page for previous news items