News and notes about birds and conservation in California
California Condor. Photo: Scott Frier/USFWS
Audubon President David Yarnold writes today in the Los Angeles Times about how short-sighted management of water in the arid West is putting birds -- and people -- at risk. Speaking about the shrinking saline lakes -- such as the Salton Sea and the Great Salt Lake -- he notes that birds are incredibly reliant on these ecosystems that have been increasingly destabilized by diversions.
"Because water birds in the West depend on the region’s entire network of salt lakes, these declines could be catastrophic for the global populations of some species. For instance, 99% of the North American population of eared grebes — small waterfowl distinguished by bright red eyes that are framed by sassy tufts of golden feathers — depends on western saline lakes to survive their long migrations. What’s more, dams, diversions, extended drought and water demand along the Colorado River have devastated cottonwood-willow forests and other native river habitat. While this riverbank habitat accounts for less than 5% of the regional landscape, it supports more than 40% of all bird species in the Southwest."
Fascinating story about a rare sighting of a mountain lion taking a deer at the Audubon Starr Ranch Sanctuary.
Some of our staff from Northern California last month took a trip to Audubon properties in Southern California, visiting the Audubon Kern River Preserve, Audubon Starr Ranch Sanctuary, and the Audubon Center at Debs Park. They shot some video and we thought we'd share a bit of that. In this video, you also get to meet some great people -- Reed Tollefson, Sandy DeSimone, and Marcos Trinidad.
Audubon California News comes to your email inbox every month with updates on our activities throughout the state, as well as other important conservation news.