Category: Birding Summary

Big Move to the Lone Star State and Meeting the Neighborhood Birds

This past year has been a whirlwind of hustle as I worked to finish up the last two years of my bachelor’s degree. After just over a year at UC Irvine, I finished my schooling and set my sights on what comes next: rejoining the workforce. Just as I was wrapping up my final quarter of school, Mubark landed a job offer in San Antonio, Texas. We tied up all of our loose ends in California, sold all of our bulky items, and hit the road toward the lone star state with anything we could cram into our cars.

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Counting Brown Pelicans with Audubon California

This past weekend brought many organized birding events to the city of Los Angeles. Audubon chapters from around LA coordinated the second annual Bird Day LA: a slew of bird/nature walks, photography classes, and a bar meet-up, all aimed to get the public excited about bird watching, nature, and conservation. Coincidentally, Audubon California decided to hold the first-ever Brown Pelican Survey on the same day. Due to my hectic school and work schedule, I decided to focus my time on attending this important bird count.

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Christmas Bird Count in Los Angeles at Limekiln Canyon

The Christmas Bird Count has been an annual tradition for the past 115 years, since 1900, taking place of the annual “side hunt” that men would go on each year to hunt as many birds as possible. This is my third year participating in the event, last year I counted with Dan Cooper at Ballona Wetlands, and the year prior at Sepulveda Basin with Kris Ohlenkamp. This year I counted at Limekiln Canyon Park with Rose Leibowitz, President of the San Fernando Valley Audubon Society and three other participants.

Christmas Bird Counts are are officially organized through the National Audubon Society and conducted by local chapters or groups that have signed up.

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Birding at the LA River

Saturday brought an annual birding trip to the lower LA River with the Pasadena Audubon. This trip was timed to take advantage of the birds returning for the winter and for the migrating birds passing through. Little did I know that we would be spotting a rare bird that had been recently reported in the area, read on to find out what bird we saw.

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Birding at Rancho Sierra Vista

Last weekend I had the pleasure of going on an annual birding trip to Rancho Sierra Vista / Satiwa led by Richard (Dick) Barth. Rancho is one of the last intact ranches from the middle of the 20th century and is nestled near the Santa Monica Mountains. This bird walk was organized by the San Fernando Valley Audubon.

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Bird Banding in Zuma Canyon

Today brought the opportunity to participate in my first wild bird banding experience. My friend, Dinuk, was invited to help with the banding and was able to invite me along!

I woke up early at 5:30AM and headed over to Zuma Canyon next to Malibu, CA. It is important to get started as early as possible for any bird studies. Birds are very active in the morning when they are searching for water and food. The banding station was ran today from 7AM to noon.

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Search for the Red-Whiskered Bulbul

I first learned of the Red-Whiskered Bulbul while searching for cool-looking birds on YouTube. My task at the time was to create GIF sets of pretty birds to share on the because birds Tumblr. I came across this Bulbul and was enticed by its striking plumage and cute red cheeks.

After a few weeks of anticipation, the planned day had finally arrived and we made our way to the Huntington Botanical Gardens to see the Red-whisked Bulbul.

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Sepulveda Basin – Birding Summary

Birds are starting to get more and more colorful as spring gets closer.

I went birding Saturday morning at the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve in the San Fernando Valley. The bird walk was led by Kris Ohlenkamp, the man who organized and oversaw the Christmas Bird Count for the area.

Our plan was to meet the group there at 8AM to begin, we arrived about five after 8 and as we got out of the car, we realized that when we gathered our things before we left, the camera was left at the house!

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Aerial Feeding of The Gulls and other birds spotted around the park

During my morning trip to the nearby Lake Balboa, the sun was shining and the place was alive with birds of all sorts: Red-wing Blackbirds, American Coots, House Finches, Mallards, Sparrows, Grackles, you get the idea.

They are all hungry for food, most find their own breakfast, but some birds are really aggressive and pandering to get handouts from people— those birds are Ring-Billed Gulls.

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Participating in the Christmas Bird Count

December is coming to a close, and some of you may have participated in one or more “Christmas Bird Counts.” What is a Christmas Bird Count, you may ask? Well, it is an annual “bird census” that is performed by volunteers mainly in North America during the month of December. Over 100 years ago people used to go on what were known as “Side Hunts” where they shot and killed as many birds as possible, trying to kill more than their peers. They recklessly did this every year without regard for bird species or rarity. In the year 1900 Frank Chapman suggested to do a bird count rather than a hunting contest (go conservation!), thus the Christmas Bird Count was born.

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