News and notes about birds and conservation in California

California Condor. Photo: Scott Frier/USFWS

The Black-necked Stilt is all in for wetlands and Measure AA. Measure AA in the Bay Area will raise $500 million for wetland restoration, which is great for birds and everyone who enjoys this beautiful area. Are you in?

There's another California Condor chick in the world

There's another California Condor chick in the world

Yesterday, California Condor pair #79 and #374 welcomed a hatchling.

Owls cuddling

In case you needed another reason to attend the Audubon California Chapter Assembly, here it is: you may see Great Gray Owls cuddling in Yosemite. 

California Gnatcatcher male protects his nest

This video was taken by Sea and Sage Audubon Society member and all around amazing bird photographer, Sandrine Biziaux Scherson. Here's what she had to say, "He and his mate have hatchlings they have to feed all day long. He does't want me to spot the nest, so he just stopped a few feet away from me (out of breeding season he would never stay that close) and started preening until I left. Smart guy :) California Gnatcatcher are listed as Threatened by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service since 1993."

State Senate votes to bar ex parte conversations with Coastal Commission

In response to s series of controversies surrounding the perceived undue influence that developers wield with the California Coastal Commission, the State Senate yesterday voted in favor of a ban on private, ex parte, communications between commissioners and people with business before the powerful appointed body. Audubon California supports the measure, Senate Bill 1190.

This is a photo of what is believed to be the very last California Quail living in San Francisco. It's breeding season, and this fellow has been calling out in the Botanical Gardens in Golden Gate Park but there is no female to respond. Just a reminder to be mindful of your outdoor pets and if you happen to spot this lone male, cherish the moment. Photo shared by Golden Gate Audubon Society and taken by Bob Gunderson.

Salton Sea at the center of new Western water conflict?

Salton Sea hosts a wide diversity of birds. Photo: T Patel

Fascinating piece today in the Los Angeles Times about the growing concern over declining water levels in Lake Mead that, if they continue to fall, could trigger substantial water cuts in Arizona and New Mexico. Because of this pressure is growing on California users to reduce its use of Colorado River Water. You might recall recently that the Imperial Irrigation District, one of the primary users of water from the Colorado River, has said that will be uncomfortable with any agreement regarding Colorado River water unless the major issues of habitat conservation and dust mitigation at the Salton Sea are resolved.

"All the parties are under pressure to reach an agreement by the end of this year, before the current administration leaves office and the process has to start anew with new federal overseers. But the interstate complexities may pale in comparison with the difficulty of working out agreements among water users within each state. California's Imperial Irrigation District, which has the largest entitlement of Colorado River water, has balked at any agreement to preserve water levels in Lake Mead without a parallel agreement to preserve the Salton Sea. That huge inland pond has suffered as a result of earlier multi-billion-dollar deals by which the Imperial Irrigation District transferred water to San Diego, the MWD and other users.

The shrinkage of the sea already is an environmental and public health disaster. Withholding more water in Lake Mead without a rescue plan would be unacceptable, Imperial Irrigation District General Manager Kevin Kelley said recently. "The Salton Sea has always been the elephant in the room in these talks," he told the Desert Sun newspaper."

The small town of Newberry Springs—right off Historic Route 66—is home to more than 700 Tricolored Blackbirds

The small town of Newberry Springs—right off Historic Route 66—is home to more than 700 Tricolored Blackbirds

San Bernardino Valley Audubon Society, Audubon California, and local property owners form a partnership to protect the Tricolored Blackbird

How you can help, right now