Articles from our Newsletter.

Breeding Bird Study of Santa Barbara County

by Adrian O’Loghlen

[This is the full text article previewed in El Tecolote Vol. 55 No. 1 Sept. – Nov. 2016]

One of the most informative approaches for assessing how the rapid and extensive development of urban and rural lands affects local bird populations is to monitor the breeding activity of species that have historically bred in an area. Furthermore, collecting this type of information is important more generally because it is widely accepted that birds can be indicators and provide insights into the ‘health’ of habitats and ecosystems used by all local wildlife. … Continue Reading

Our Busy Conservation Committee

by Cherie Topper

Have you ever wondered what our Conservation Committee is up to? You may be surprised to discover both the volume and the variety of our activities in the community on SBAS’s behalf. We are fortunate to have experts on this committee who are familiar with all aspects of conservation – botany and native plants, the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), Planning, Engineering, and, of course, Ornithology! In fact, you may be motivated to join this dynamic group of smart and dedicated volunteers who are making an impact on our community. … Continue Reading

The SBAS Tree Swallow Nest Box Project

Air BNB Audubon Style

By Steven Senesac


The Tree Swallow is a cavity nester that naturally nests in tree cavities (often made by woodpeckers). Human development frequently removes many trees and those that remain are often groomed in a way that minimizes dead branches (most appropriate for cavity nests). Such habitat disturbance is the likely reason why tree swallows dropped to the status of being an uncommon breeder around Santa Barbara and Ventura. … Continue Reading

Surprise! The 114th Santa Barbara Christmas Bird Count

Christmas Bird Count 2014 at Rancho Goleta

As compilers, we plan for months to anticipate every possibility on count day: bad weather, lack of rain, too many people, not enough leaders, too many stake out birds, communication problems, problems accessing private property…anything that might throw a wrench into a great count day. But this year, in the weeks leading up to the big day, our biggest challenge was: where are the birds? … Continue Reading

White-tailed Kite Monitoring 2013

Juvenile White-tailed Kite. Photo by David Levasheff
Juvenile White-tailed Kite. Photo by David Levasheff

By Anna Hilliard

Two years ago, an El Tecolote article posed the question: “What might it take to create a formalized local monitoring program for the white-tailed kite?” This September, with the help of dedicated observers and coordinators, the White-tailed Kite Monitoring Project (aka Kite Watch) wrapped up its second successful season of nest and roost site monitoring sponsored by donors to the SB Audubon Society. … Continue Reading

Conservation Committee Update

By Jonathan Appelbaum

It has been a busy summer for the Santa Barbara Audubon Society’s Science and Conservation Committee. Under the guidance of outgoing Conservation Chair, and new SBAS Co-President Steve Ferry, outgoing Science Chair, and new SBAS Education Chair, Andy Lanes, and myself, the newly installed conservation chair, the Committee has been active in a variety of research, policy and advocacy arenas. … Continue Reading

Tree Swallow Nest Box Projects in Santa Barbara

Opportunities to Learn Nesting Biology While Improving Our Environment

By Don Schroeder and Dave Eldridge



In October, 2004, the Santa Barbara Audubon Society (SBAS) hosted a presentation by Jan Wasserman on the Tree Swallow nest box projects at sites around Ventura. She shared her experience with setting up and conducting these projects. She and a small band of volunteers have been able to establish nesting sites for this species which had previously dropped to the status of being a rare breeder in Ventura and SB Counties. … Continue Reading