Birding Hot Spot Identification Project

hooded oriole_6

The purpose of this project of the SBAS Conservation Science Committee is to identify local birding “hot spots” based on our citizen-science research and collective observation data and through a letter-writing campaign to the county and cities of Goleta and Santa Barbara, to notify and educate the applicable agencies of our concerns and advocacy for the birds and their habitats.




Creek Setbacks in Goleta

The SBAS Conservation and Science Committee has been monitoring several proposed development projects in Goleta, particularly those projects that are in proximity to creeks and other natural resources that are wildlife habitats and migration corridors. We have reviewed environmental impact reports (EIR), sent comment letters to the City of Goleta recommending mitigation strategies, identifying critical habitats and omissions or errors in reports of biological data, and attending meetings and hearings with developers, City agencies and other environmental advocacy organizations in Santa Barbara and Goleta.

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All the Roadrunning

It’s the title of a great song by Emmylou Harris and Mark Knopfler and it’s also the situation in Ellwood Canyon where a pair of resident Greater Roadrunners have run of the ranch, although the lyrics to the Goleta roadrunners’ song is simpler and more like the Looney Tunes Roadrunner “Meep-Meep” that stirs the hunger and always-failing scientific genius of Wile E. Coyote.

The greater roadrunners are big guys, ranging in size from 18 to 22 inches from tail to beak. They are members of the cuckoo family and can run up to 20 miles per hour and prefer sprinting to flying. The roadrunner is an opportunistic omnivore and dines on insects and small reptiles including lizards and rattlesnakes (I’d like to see that dinner-in-action!), rodents and small mammals, snails, small birds and eggs, fruit and seeds. They forage on the ground and will hunt for prey from under cover. Because they are such quick movers, the roadrunners are one of very few animals that will prey on a rattlesnake. Roadrunners usually live alone or in pairs, are monogamous and may mate for life. Pairs of roadrunners may hold a territory all year, are non-migratory and reside in their breeding area year round and their reproductive season is generally from spring to mid-summer. All the Roadrunning and Happy Summer Solstice!



2014 Santa Barbara County Science Fair Winner of the Audubon Award

Danny Luu_SB Audubon award science fair 2014

The 2014 Santa Barbara County Science Fair was held in March, and one of the judges was Richard Figueroa, SBAS Science Chair who had the honor of presenting the Santa Barbara Audubon Award to this year’s winner, Righetti High School senior, Danny Luu. Danny’s project: “The Effects of Runoff on Salvia Leucantha and Hummingbird Interactions” also won a gold medal and the Best in Fair award. Danny Luu was invited to present his winning science fair project at the April SBAS program, a presentation of Jeff McLoughlin’s film: The Condor’s Shadow held at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. The Santa Barbara Audubon Award is named in honor of founding SBAS member, Joy Parkinson.

Tricolored Blackbird California Survey 2014

Tricolored Blackbird male
Male tricolored blackbird – Photo by Bom Meese

Richard Figueroa, SBAS Science Chair, has been recruiting and coordinating volunteers to monitor and collect survey data for tricolored blackbirds to document their decline in numbers. Our volunteers have surveyed sites in Santa Ynez and Cuyama. The conservation of the species has received increased attention due to the petition to list the species under the protections of the federal and state of California Endangered Species Acts. … Continue Reading

Tree Swallow Monitoring

TreeSwallow 2009-2Jeff Simeon conducted a tree-swallow monitoring training session Saturday, April 5 at Coal Oil Point Reserve for volunteers and interns to learn how to champion this project by scheduling regular monitoring dates, replacing broken nesting boxes, rusty mounting poles and hardware, and cleaning the boxes for the spring nesting season.

White-Tailed Kite Monitoring

Two squabbling juvenile White-tailed Kites. Photo by David Levasheff.
Two squabbling juvenile White-tailed Kites. Photo by David Levasheff.

In April 2014, white-tailed kite volunteers and interns were treated to several kite-sightings on a field trip to Ellwood, Lake Los Carneros and More Mesa. Two nesting sites were spotted and five pairs of kites.