Late one winter when we lived in Colorado, a female American Kestrel had roosted for several weeks on a ledge above our neighbors’ garage.  Thinking perhaps she might consider breeding there, my husband built a nestbox for the neighbors to install.  Alas, she moved on.  But a month or so later, a pair of Northern…

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Walking past the sage-scrub open space in the pre-dawn winter twilight, I heard a number of birds singing loudly.  Some sounded like Song Sparrows improvising a different intro and jazzier closing notes—maybe a different song for winter than summer?  Others made me think of extremely musical Spotted Towhees, although Spotteds (and most songbirds) don’t sing…

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Christmas Bird Count 2018, Anstine Audubon Preserve in Vista. Our small group climbs a hill and checks for birds. Craning my neck, I mutter, “I hear Cedar Waxwings.”  We all start scanning the tops of trees, the sky, in all directions. Nowhere to be seen. As the enumerator, I could just mark down “1” and…

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Buena Vista Audubon Society and Preserve Calavera are sponsoring the 9th annual Endangered Species Day and Open House at the Buena Vista Nature Center (2202 S. Coast Hwy, Oceanside) on Saturday, May 18 from 10-2 pm.  This is a free family event with lots of activities for children of all ages – nature journals to…

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When I set out to write about a species, I start with “What is interesting about this species?”  With hummingbirds, though, what isn’t interesting about them?  The smallest of all birds, most of the hummingbirds seen in California weigh between 0.1 and 0.3 ounces (~2.5 – 4 grams) or less than 5 original M&Ms.  Probably…

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Fee odi-odi zeeee-zaaaa-zoooo.  Nope.  Seee zreee chidli-chidli chi-chi-chi.  Not that either.  See sitli-sitli ti-ti-ti-ti-zrrrr.  Good grief, not even close.  Let’s face it.  Humans really can’t recreate this avian song on paper—a sorry statement about our language limitations rather than a reflection of this lilting song.   Generally in early to mid-November, this familiar song—a long,…

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Call a despicable person “pond scum” and I take offense on behalf of pond scum everywhere.  Scoop up a handful of pond scum and you might actually be looking at diminutive, individual aquatic plants or even blue-green algae such as spirulina, which some health food fans herald.  Think someone is, um, “bat-guano crazy?”  Bats the…

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At best, it’s a bit confusing and startling.  Some people even use emotion-laden words such as “heart-breaking” or “sad.”  No telling how you might feel the first time you see a small bird such as a Song Sparrow working like crazy to feed a begging cowbird youngster more than twice its size.  But one thing…

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Birders have been known to keep all sorts of birding lists—species ever seen; those seen this year; seen in this state, this county, this park, this yard—even lists such as “birds I’ve ID’d on television,” “birds I’ve seen on a wire,” or “birds I’ve found dead in my yard.”  (Some birders are darker than others.)…

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A recently-released, in-depth report by the National Audubon Society shows that global warming poses a serious threat to a majority of North American bird species. In California, the report concludes that global warming threatens the survival of 170 bird species in the coming decades. This includes iconic California birds such as the brown pelican, Allen’s…

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