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Articles from The Sierra Wave for September/October, 1997

Volume 16, Number 1

Bishop school kids on a birding outing to Bishop Park, mugging for ESAS volunteer Debby Parker's camera. For an ENLARGED VIEW, click **HERE**, then hit BACK

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Chapter Notes


by Debby Parker

Being a worker bee for the Eastern Sierra AS Education Committee this school year allowed me to spend time with third and fourth graders with the focus being, what else?, Yes, birds. As a volunteer, I visited Pine Street and the Seventh Day Adventist schools to present a bird slide show. Later on we took the classes on birding field trips. To help teachers and students with a handy reference guide for bird identification, each class was given its own copy of the National Geographic Society Field Guide to the Birds of North America. Thanks to an Inyo National Forest partnership program we had eight pairs of new Nikon Travilite 7x22 binoculars to add to our small stash of binoculars for the kids to use. It was gratifying to hear their thrilled exclamations of, I see the bird!.

I am reminded of Mrs. Wilsons class in which the kids got excellent views of a pair of Downy Woodpeckers. On Mrs. Beachs class field trip we visited Finkbeiner Forest (a riparian area west of Brockman Lane) and brought along a number of local ace birders, including John Finkbeiner, to help out. These birders toured their own little group of students through the forest, showing them colorful spring migrants. A student in Penny Ashworths group came up to me later and told me in a very excited voice about the bright red and black bird Penny had shown him. Possibly a spotted towhee, I suggested. This same student went on to describe how he was going to go home and draw a Bullocks Oriole that he had also seen. Chris Howard also led a group with his group getting good looks at a male Western Tanager. His kids had the extra advantage of Chris spotting scope enabeling bird closeups. A student in my group found a wild turkey almost as big as she was (see related story on wild turkey introduction in this newsletter). She followed it back into the rose bushes where it seemingly hid its head in fear, as the once peaceful forest was now filled with little persons, chasing the turkey for a better look. Our student group took over and became tour guides for the turkey show. The kids were thrilled getting to see a live turkey running around with feathers still on it.

Mrs. Cholewas class walked to the Bishop City Park where we saw nesting mallards and resting gulls. I was delighted that at least one student took great interest in learning the difference between the two species of gulls present, Ring-billed and California. (Thats the way to do it, start learning your gulls in the third grade).

The Education Committee, made up of Michael Prather, Leah Kirk and Kathy Duvall, deserves a big pat-on-the-back for creating this program. Cindy Kamler is also part of the program, visiting the classroom with information for the kids about what to do if one finds an injured bird. Cindy does a great service for the community by caring for injured birds in her home. Tom and Jo Heindel provided the bird slides for the slide program. And the Angels who helped us get the bird guides, youve done a great serice. Thank you all. I hope this program grows with classroom visits and fieldtrips expanding into Mono County and the southern part of Inyo County. Additonal pairs of Nikon Travilite binoculars for the students to use would help to ensure a high quality close-up look while spying on our special feathered friends.

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Field Trips

McGee Canyon Audubon Hike-Saturday, June 21, 1997

By Debby Parker

Twenty folks with binoculars met at the trailhead in McGee Canyon, west of Crowley Lake, in the Sierra Nevada ready for a Sierran bird walk. McGee Canyon was overflowing with wildflower gardens and songbird music, so we were happy that a handful of flower experts had come along too. The many different habitats in this lower part of the Canyon make it somewhat unusual and special It turned out that some on the trip had never been up this canyon before and they were thrilled to learn about a new place to explore.

The birding started off with a bang, as in the parking lot, Lazuli Buntings were singing in the Cottonwoods and the group saw this turquoise bird with its rust and white trimmings. There were many more of these neo-tropical migrators to keep us company up the canyon trail. In the sagebrush, across from McGee Creek out of the riparian area, Brewer's Sparrows sang their earsplitting buzzy trill from their scrubby perches. Who would ever guess their nests sit deep down into the heart of the sagebrush and are the intense blue-green of a Caribbean ocean. Jo Heindel calls the Brewer's sparrow one of our most plain and non-descript sparrows. It has a finely streaked crown and plain breast (if you're into sparrow identification that is). Also nesting and singing in the dry scrubby hillsides were the green-tailed towhees - another bubbly singer that sounds similiar to the Fox Sparrow who sings from the dry hillsides also.

As the trail meandered up through fields of mule ears, paintbrush and a lovely white columbine, the smallest north American bird, the Calliope Hummingbird, let us have good looks at its purple-red gorget as it patiently waited for us to stop "oohing and aahing" and carry on. It too was enjoying the splendid flowers covering the canyon floor. We eventually came to a small Juniper forest with singing Townsend's Solitaires, a somewhat high elevational bird, and Olive-sided Flycatchers, singing their loud and proud "whip-three-beers" song (no, I don't know what their song means, but sounds good on a hot day). Another neo-tropical songbird, the Warbling Vireo, was warbling up a storm but hard to actually see this bird so most had to take this bird on blind faith. We finally came to rushing McGee Creek (really a river ?), stopped for lunch and called it a day as we didn't bring our swimming suits. As usual the concensus was "Why don't we do this more often ?".

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Local hunters and personnel within the California Dept. of Fish and Game have proposed the introduction of "wild" turkeys for hunting in the Owens Valley. The Eastern Sierra Audubon board, the Bristlecone Chapter of the Calif. Native Plant Society, the Range of Light group of the Sierra Club and Inyo County bird researchers Tom & Jo Heindel have argued against this action. The following two letters contain much of their reasoning on this matter.

10 July, 1997

Ms. Patricia Wolf

CDFG Region 5 Manager

330 Golden Shores #50

Long Beach, CA 90802

Dear Ms. Wolf,

I am writing on behalf of the Eastern Sierra Audubon Society, a 300-member organization dedicated to the appreciation and preservation of wildlife, and native birds in particular. Our board of directors has considered the introduction of turkeys into the Owens Valley, as proposed by John Massie, Region 5 Upland Game Coordinator. We are opposed to this action. We feel that turkeys would compete with native birds for essential food, cover and nesting habitat. These resources are scarce here in the Owens Valley, and are already fully used by our existing fauna.

Our conservation efforts are centered on the recovery of populations of certain birds that have suffered serious declines within the 20th century. Yellow-billed cuckoo, willow flycatcher, Bells vireo, yellow warbler and yellow-breasted chat are all dependent on healthy riparian woodland habitat, and have all almost vanished here in the Owens Valley, compared to their abundance at the turn of the century. It has come to my attention that Mr. Massie feels that turkeys and cuckoos use different portions of the same habitat and likely would coexist quite well. This is an unfounded assumption. I know of no evidence demonstrating that introduction of a bird that eats as much as a turkey would not have a negative effect on cuckoo food resources.

There is no evidence that turkey introduction would not be detrimental to the recovery of all of the aforementioned bird populations. A large bird that consumes a significant mass of seeds, shoots and insects cannot help but compete with birds that depend on these things. Worse yet, it would degrade the riparian habitat that these particular species depend on for survival here. There have been no studies whatsoever to establish the impacts of turkey introduction into high desert riparian woodlands similar to those of the Owens Valley. Surely, such a proposal would not be acted upon without a thorough CEQA analysis of its potentially serious effects. Eastern Sierra Audubon would insist on a full EIR before such a project could go ahead.

Therefore, we urge you to put the turkey introduction project on hold until it can be proven that it will cause no harm to our native birds.


Jim Parker, Conservation Chair

Dear Ms. Wolf,

We recently attended a meeting in Bishop, CA, where Mr. Dick Noles announced to the audience that he was mounting a major effort to introduce turkeys to the Owens Valley. The stated purpose was to provide sport for hunters. We understood that the local Dept of Fish & Game wasnt in favor of the idea and that it would probably end there. Then a letter from John Massie, CA Dept. of Fish & Game Region 5 Upland Game Director, came to our attention. It obviously didnt end locally as his letter is strongly in favor of the introduction. As a youngster growing up in Pennsylvania in the 1940s I lived for hunting. I understand the passion perhaps better than most. My wife also comes from a family of hunters and fishermen. With that said, we would like to seriously question the wisdom of introducing a bird with the biomass of a turkey into the highly limited riparian habitat that is found in the Mojave-Great Basin desert. There is no fossil or anecdotal evidence to indicate that the turkey was ever native to the Mojave or Great Basin desert. (American Ornithologists Union Checklist of North American Birds 1957:148). History has already taught us this lesson. CA DFG released many thousands of Ring-necked Pheasants into this area. This was a totally failed introduction in spite of the money and energy DFG spent. The pheasant is a bird with less than one-fifth of the biomass of a turkey. John Terres, famous nature writer, notes that a large gobbler will eat one pound of food in one meal. Imagine that. That same food would feed our smaller, native species for days. Turkeys eat many grasshoppers, frogs, toads, lizards and snakes. What about our native species that rely on this existing food base? What will the effect be on our American Kestrel population if turkeys remove much of their prey base. We dont know either but it cant possibly be favorable. Doesnt our wildlife already have a difficult enough time coping with the severity of a desert habitat without throwing this large, demanding biomass into the equation. We could name just about every form of wildlife indigenous to the area and the introduction of the turkey would be negative to that species regardless of whether it is a vertebrate or an invertebrate. It isnt as though there are not plenty of other areas in the state with forest and oak mast habitat that will support turkeys and provide excellent hunting. If this is being done for political reasons, for the enjoyment of southern CA hunters, then why not save our habitat and gas reserves and introduce turkeys in southern CA where the habitat is far more favorable. We in the Owens Valley have extremely limited habitat that might support this large bird but this is already being fully used by many native species. Birds like Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Yellow Warbler, Coopers Hawk, Swainsons Hawk, Northern Harrier, Willow Flycatcher, Yellow-breasted Chat, and Summer Tanager have been listed as needing protection by state and/or federal agencies. We, as part of our research on the status and distribution of the birds of Inyo County, have recorded each of the aforementioned species in the area under consideration for turkey introduction. In fact, we have evidence that all of them breed in this limited Inyo riparian habitat. Their protection under the law should stand strong enough to prevent the further push to introduce turkeys to this fragile habitat and totally upset the ecology of this unique area. Our main concern revolves around the impact that would be felt by existing native species of all classes of vertebrates and invertebrates. DFG has spent a good deal of money studying and protecting Endangered, Threatened and Species of Special Concern. To then spend a good deal of money to introduce an organism that will compete and negatively affect those organisms that youve tried to protect is not only unfathomable, it is unconscionable. It is our hope that reason will return and no more time or energy will be spent on this poorly thought out scheme. sincerely,

Tom and Jo Heindel


by Resource Ecologist Paul Jorgensen

Visitor Guide

Cuyamaca Rancho State Park & Palomar Mountain State Park

Where do we draw the line when defining a "native" versus a "non-native" plant or animal? Is the introduction of "non-natives" ever justifiable (or wise?) For me, these questions can sometimes be complicated to answer. But in the case I'm about to describe, the answers seemed clear. Moreover, unlike many examples, this problem could easily have been avoided.

Wild turkey, Meleagris gallopavo, found across the United States today, was apparently never native to California. It was introduced here from other areas for hunting, beginning more than 50 years ago. Fossil remains of another turkey, Meleagris californicus, have been recovered in California at Rancho La Brea. This pre-historic turkey disappeared some 10,000 years ago and was not very similar to the modern U.S. turkey, being more closely related to the ocellated turkey now found in Mexico.

By classifying turkeys as native, Fish and Game has introduced them as a game bird all over California. In San Diego County they ran into opposition, and so far, they have only been released on private land. Fish and Game calculated that the turkey breed they were using (from Texas) would not disperse more than a few miles from any introduction point and most assuredly, would not disperse through dense chaparral. Within the first year (1993), these Texas turkeys moved into Palomar Mountain, Anza-Borrego Desert and Cuyamaca Rancho State Parks, dispersing distances greater than 20 miles. They moved through the thick chaparral like it was an open meadow.

We have no way of knowing what impacts turkeys may cause. They may out-compete other ground nesting native birds like quail or meadowlarks or they may feed on rare plants. All of science cannot predict the effect of turkeys on Cuyamaca. Turkeys eat acorns off the ground - LOTS of acorns. What effect will this have on deer, acorn woodpeckers or band-tailed pigeons who all depend on the acorn crop?

We are now the stewards of "wild" turkey in our parks. The population sizes are unknown but sightings are frequent. The Fish and Game staff has responded quickly to our request to trap out accessible flocks. 22 were removed at Cuyamaca Headquarters last Thanksgiving, after six weeks of preparation and trap sitting. Unfortunately. the cost in staff time, to both the Departments of Fish and Game and Parks and Recreation is exorbitant, and the logistics of trapping are ponderous.

Many will note that turkeys from former introductions were here before this recent introduction; but sightings were rare, none being reported in our parks for years. It has been said that the turkey breed that was planted here before wasn't tough enough to make it for long in the wild but this new one is different. It's more adaptable. "Now you've got turkeys in your parks forever."



By Mike Prather

A Victory!

After 25 years of litigation and negotiations, the restoration of over 60 miles of Owens River and many additional Owens Valley habitats can finally commence. After nearly 90 years of destructive water practices in the Owens Valley by the City of Los Angeles, a huge restoration of a western arid land environment is set to begin. An historic memorandum of understanding between Inyo County, Los Angeles, two state agencies and two local environmental groups has led to the acceptance of the Long-term Groundwater Management Agreement between Inyo County and Los Angeles by the Third District Court of Appeal in Sacramento. This MOU has resolved the disagreements that the Sierra Club and the Owens Valley Committee had with the 1991 environmental impact report written for the Long-term Groundwater Management Agreement.

Both groups have been supportive of the long-term agreement on water pumping and practices which contained protection for groundwater and vegetation, but neither group could accept the flaws and omissions of the accompanying environmental document. Now that settlement has been reached, a series of timetables begins that will lead to implementation of the various components of the MOU and the Long-term Groundwater Management Agreement.

The Memorandum of Understanding calls for a number of projects and studies to benefit the environment of the Owens Valley:

1.) Lower Owens River Project- By the year 2003 the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) will begin releasing water along over 60 miles of the Owens River north of Owens Lake. Goals, schedules and commitments of minimum and maximum flows of water have been set. Riparian habitat will be created using bird indicator species to measure success. A waterfowl area of 1500 acres near Blackrock Springs and 325 acres at the Owens River delta will be created. An EIR and a management plan will be prepared for this project.

2.) Yellow-billed cuckoo habitat- By the year 2000 two critical habitats for cuckoos - Hogback Creek and Baker Creek - will be evaluated and enhancement plans will be developed.

3.) Biological inventories- By the year 2000 plant and animal species at remaining seeps and springs will be thoroughly inventoried.

4.) Owens Valley Management Plans- The LADWP will develop management plans for lands where there are problems caused by grazing or other uses. Priority will be given to riparian areas and sensitive habitats. These plans must begin by 2002 and be completed by the year 2007. Los Angeles has NEVER had management plans for its thousands of acres of land in the Owens Valley nor has it EVER complied with the California Environmental Quality Act - always claiming an exemption.

5.) Aerial photos- A study of the use of aerial photos and remote sensing for water and vegetation management purposes will be completed by 2000.

6.) Additional mitigations- By the year 2000 LADWP will supply 1600 acre feet of water to restore or establish and maintain several wetland sites in the valley that have been negatively impacted by the Department of Water and Power over the years.

The Long-term Groundwater Management Agreement provisions consist of:

1.) Joint management of groundwater pumping by Inyo County and Los Angeles by prohibiting groundwater mining and long-term damage to vegetation that is groundwater dependent.

2.) Control of salt cedar beginning with $750,000 funded by Los Angeles the first three years and $50,000 for every year thereafter. Tamarisk (salt cedar) is an exotic weed invader that displaces native vegetation and uses scarce desert water.

3.) Revegetation of lands most severely impacted by LADWPs water pumping in the past.

4.) Dispute resolution.

5.) $2.3M funding of the Inyo County Water Department by Los Angeles in order that the county can independently monitor the management of the valleys water and vegetation.

6.) Additional money to Inyo County for its general fund and for parks.

The Future

Now that a settlement has been reached, a time line of scheduled studies and projects extending over 10 years has started. As volunteers we have worked tirelessly on many environmental campaigns, but this one truly is the largest and most complex. There will be many reports to review and comment on. Of course there will be meetings to attend. Audubon members and other environmental groups must be kept informed with field trips and programs that deal will the rewatering of the Lower Owens River, the waterfowl projects and the other habitat restoration efforts. Just imagine 60 miles of rewatered river with rich riparian vegetation filled with bird song each springtime dawn. If you would like to be kept informed about the progress of restoration in the Owens Valley and if you would like to help with our efforts, please write:

Restore the Owens Valley

Drawer D

Lone Pine, CA 93545


All the details, including the complete texts of the documents mentioned, can be found at the following internet URL:

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Editor's Note: Following is an article from the SF Chronicle forwarded to the Wave by Denyse Racine of the CA Dept of Fish and Game in Bishop. Thanks Denyse.

Thursday, July 24, 1997.

San Francisco Chronicle

Bird-Watching Gets Serious

Grassland and stream-side birds have been vanishing in California

Paul McHugh, Chronicle Staff Writer

The era of the activist bird-watcher has dawned. News that bird-watchers are in revolt may invoke fantasies of grannies in sun hats, swinging camera tripods at the knees of recalcitrant legislators. The truth is, "birders" are of all ages and professions, with their ranks widening at an astonishing rate. Their tactics are politically, fiscally and ecologically astute. They pursue one big, no-nonsense goal: to reverse environmental trends having a negative effect on the songbird population.

Travis Longcore, 27, a vice-president of the Los Angeles Audubon Society chapter, says emerging militancy is a long-needed option. "We must inject ourselves into the political process at all levels to protect birds and their habitat," Longcore states.

"That may create tension with those who prefer a 'weekend hobby' type of thing. But it's a big tent; there's room for both. It's crucial to have politically active people to deal with threats."

In California, birder groups have waded into fights over the threatened "gnatcatcher" songbirds and their habitat on the urban south coast; stalled the transfer of a Long Beach Navy facility to a Chinese shipping firm because of a black-crowned night heron rookery, and battled a state bill to permit ferrets as pets - since these varmints would wreak havoc on birds if they escaped into the wild.

On international issues, bird-watchers are holding the Clinton administration's feet to the fire on re-interpreting the 1918 Migratory Bird Treaty Act; they successfully challenged pesticide use in Argentina to protect migrating Swainson's hawks; and they have distributed millions of dollars in grants to bird conservation projects across the Western Hemisphere.

Political and economic power emanates from "birder" cohorts who now number 63 million Americans. They spend $5.2 billion annually on goods and services related to birding. A 1995 National Recreation Survey showed that bird-watching was one of the country's fastest-growing outdoor activities, well ahead of hiking and downhill skiing. In the U.S., there were five birding festivals in 1985; in 1997, more than 60. How hooked are these people on observing the flutters of their feathered pals? A Fortune magazine survey showed twice as many Americans preferred bird-watching to playing golf on vacations.

But while birding ranks have grown, some plumed objects of their affections have plummeted out of the skies. Of the world's 9,000 species of birds, two-thirds suffer falling numbers, and about 900 are threatened with extinction according to the Point Reyes Bird Observatory (PRBO).

You might not have guessed that from a New York Times headline last month: "Something to Sing About: Songbirds Aren't in Decline." However, a far different headline in the Christian Science Monitor read: "Requiem for the Songbird: Perilous Decline Puzzles Scientists."

Oddly, both stories cited the same source: a recently completed BBS (breeding bird survey) for North America that crunches 30 years of data. What's the real truth behind such a "Our glass stands half- full!" vs. "No, it's half empty!" debate?

"The New York Times did a disservice by incredibly oversimplifying a portion of the data," says PRBO's director, Dan Evans. "That headline doesn't even reflect the true tone of their story, just as their story doesn't reflect the true tone of the breeding bird survey."

According to Evans and other naturalists, a sidebar that ran with the Times feature conveyed a more accurate impression. It showed that while 19 species of forest-dependant songbird populations were stable or increasing, 15 species dependent on grasslands and stream-side zones had suffered population declines that ranged from 25 to 71 percent.

In California, it is precisely grassland and stream-side birds that have been vanishing, primarily because of habitat degradation and loss. Some of these birds are residents; many are "NTMB," neotropical migratory songbirds, which nest here, then winter in the tropics.

"After some research field trips, I grew amazed at the number of common species missing from refuges in the Central Valley," says PRBO biologist Geoff Geupel. "The name of the species might be on the preserve's birding list, but when you go out and look for them, you find they are no longer there.

"Song sparrows, warbling vireos, yellow warblers, blue grosbeaks - we like to think these birds are common in the Central Valley. Actually they're disappearing rapidly. And you can't blame it all on damage to the wintering grounds in Latin America. Conditions for healthy populations are not being met on the breeding grounds, right here," Geupel says.

As one example, the stream-side (or "riparian") thickets and forests in the Central Valley are reckoned at below five percent of the historic acreage. As such habitat shrinks, it invites other impacts. Parasitic cowbirds can fly in to take over low-cup nests, then insert their own eggs for songbirds to hatch and raise.

But just as nature-lovers rallied when Rachel Carson published her "Silent Spring" volume in 1962, and banned the pesticide DDT in the U.S. just in time to save the bald eagle (and many other creatures), so, too, birders of today are flocking to efforts to enhance the survival chances of avian species.

The PRBO, with its cadre of biologists and volunteers, represents the scientific wing of the struggle: people who gather needed data on bird populations, habitat and behavior. The Audubon Society and its many chapters can be seen as the "church militant," lobbying for public policy and land-use changes, while putting its own money behind action plans. There are now nine Audubon sanctuaries in California, preserving 11,400 acres of various types of threatened habitat.

Of course, bird-watchers are not the first to hatch plans for preserves for migrating birds. Hunter-conservationists have put $5 billion dollars into waterfowl refuges and enhancement efforts across North America since 1900.

These days, another force is also weighing in: the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), a Reagan-era creation. Established to match federal funds to private monies through challenge grants, the foundation's lean staff of 40 has disbursed more than $200 million to worthy projects since inception. So many projects occur in California, a NFWF office was just set up in Sacramento oversee them. A "Partners-in-Flight" program the NFWF started now involves timber companies and cattle ranchers in bird habitat preservation work.

"Our main point," says Evans of the PRBO, "is that, looking at trends and human population growth, we find all wildlife is threatened in one way or another. We should critically examine every piece of habitat that exists, and ask ourselves how we can make it more friendly - not just to birds - but all wildlife."

Editor's Addendum: Some additional economic tidbits, from "The 1991 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation conducted by the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the US bureau of the Census"; note especially the much greater economic impact of "non-consumptive use" vs. hunting:

About 25 million US residents observed, photographed or fed birds; 3 million people hunted migratory birds.

Economic output from spending by "bird enthusiasts" : Non-consumptive Use - $15.9 billion; Hunting - $3.6 billion.

Recreational enjoyment of birds supported 234,230 jobs (Non-consumptive Use - 191,000 jobs; Hunting - 43,230 jobs).

In California, retail sales to these bird enthusiasts amounted to $725 million in 1991.

Federal and state tax revenues generated by bird enthusiasts: Non-consumptive Use - $896 million; Hunting - $178 million.


Young birds, close to fledging, often find themselves out of their nest just a little too soon. The lucky ones are uninjured and rescued before a predator finds them. Cindy Kamler, local wildlife rehabilitator and Audubon member, received a number of calls this season about just such birds. "Its always preferable to have the parents raise the youngster if at all possible, Kamler said. If the bird is not injured, I ask if the finder can put the bird back in its nest. Too often the nest is inaccessible or the exact location is not known. If not too much time has elapsed and the parent birds are still in the area, Kamler goes to the site. An artificial nest box is prepared and wired securely to a tree as close to the nest site as possible. Usually the parents are around, squawking and screaming, long before the youngster is in the artifical nest. Either I or the rescuer watch to make sure the parents know their baby is there. Ravens, crows, and a kingbird were all returned to parental care by means of an artifical nest. The young birds must be well-feathered and able to regulate their body temperature. The site for the artificial nest needs protection from sun and possible rain. Kamler sounded a note of caution: This doesnt work for all species; the parents must be around and still caring for other chicks.


By Tom & Jo Heindel

From dawn until almost dusk thirty observers covered the Owens Valley and the eastern Sierra canyons searching for all the birds they could find.The goal of the day was to have as much fun as possible which according to reports was successful but the information garnered surprised all who took part. Some interesting statistics: 165 different species were found totaling over 6300 individual birds; of the 165 species 127 were neotropical migrants, that is, birds who spend the winter in Mexico, Central and South America and the Caribbean and migrate north to breed in Alaska, Canada, and North America; most common bird was the American Coot (460) followed too closely by the European Starling (368); and almost 250 observer hours were recorded. Each of these statistics set a new record because nothing like this had ever been attempted. Each town had a team and each town turned up some interesting birds that none of the other teams had. The Lone Pine team, made up of Judy Wickman, Mike Prather, Bob & Barb Toth, Pat & Carl Boyer, and Shawn Morrison, had a Common Moorhen, Northern Pygmy-Owl, White-headed Woodpecker, Pinyon Jay, Summer Tanager, and a Harris Sparrow that no other team saw. The Independence team, made up of Leah & Andrew Kirk and Larry Nahm, were the only ones to find a Green Heron, Blue Grouse, Lesser Nighthawks, Olive-sided Flycatcher, and a Le Contes Thrasher. The Big Pine team, made up of Jo & Tom Heindel, Earl & Carolyn Gann, Penny Ashworth, Stan Kleinman, and Sam Glasser, were the only ones to see Western & Clarks Grebes, Double-crested Cormorants, a Bufflehead, Golden Eagle, Snowy Plover,Least Sandpiper,Greater Roadrunner,Calliope Hummingbirds, Red-naped Sapsucker, Dusky Flycatchers, White-breasted Nuthatch, Brown Creeper, American Dipper, Sage Thrasher, and a dozen Solitary Vireos. The Bishop team, made up of Jim & Debby Parker, Larry & Ruth Blakely, John & Dee Finkbeiner, Chris Howard, Barry & Bonnie Howard, and Kathy Duvall were the only ones to find Snowy Egrets, Wood Ducks, Ring-necked Ducks, Black Tern, Downy Woodpeckers, Hammonds Flycatcher, Bank Swallow, Canyon Wrens, Black-and-white Warbler, and aVesper Sparrow. The bad news is that we found 176 Brown-headed Cowbirds. Some quick math. If half were females and each female lays 30 eggs this season (the accepted average) 2,640 cowbird eggs were laid. Assuming some cowbird mortality, although it seems to be lower than one could hope for, 2,600 passerines like Willow Flycatcher, Yellow Warbler, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Yellow-breasted Chat, etc. were not raised this year. How many more years can this go on? All the participants are ready to do it again next year. Why dont you plan on joining us and have one of the most enjoyable and exhausting days of your life!

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