Finding a Silver Lining and a Call to Action – The 120th Christmas Bird Count

By Rebecca Coulter, Liz Muraoka, Joan Murdoch, & Libby Patten

Let’s just get this on the table: North American birds are in trouble. In late January, Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Dr. Kenneth Rosenberg spoke at the Museum of Natural History about the Decline of the North American Avifauna, his recent article and its message of three billion birds lost since 1970, which fell upon the national birding scene like a ton of bricks. As a community of birders and conservationists, we—like Rosenberg—have been astonished at the extremes evident in the data.

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Santa Barbara Audubon Society – Nest Box Program

By Steve Senesac – Science Chair

Brief History

In 2004, Jan Wasserman presented the Tree Swallow Nest Box Program that she was doing in Ventura.  This ignited the interest of some our members at that time, David Kissner, Dave Eldridge, and Don Schroeder.  Dave Eldridge was instrumental in building many of the boxes and Don Schroeder developed a scientific methodology for monitoring the boxes, as well as the basic training materials that we still use. In time, the reins passed on to Andy Lanes and Richard Figueroa, who involved students from UCSB and evolved our basic training program.  Elaine Tan, Peter Thompson, Betsy Moony, Jayne Wamsley, Diane and Leah Vasquez, and again, Don Schroeder have been the mainstay of the program these past several years, as well as a continued interest from UCSB.  Recently Conor McMahon has started a UCSB chapter of Audubon and is injecting new vigor into our UCSB connection, and the program overall.  David Kissner came back into the larger picture a couple of years ago, developing a parallel program at La Cumbre Country Club.  Lots of activity!

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By Steve Ferry, Project Leader

The Strauss Wind Energy Project is a wind farm slated to be built on 3,000 acres of range land about four miles south of the city of Lompoc. The project will comprise 29 wind turbine generators (WTGs), most about 500 feet tall, near the end of San Miguelito Road. Strauss will be built by a German company called BayWa on the same site where a previous project, the Lompoc Wind Energy Project, was proposed about 12 years ago.

The Strauss site has an exceptional bird diversity, particularly raptors.  In fact, the site has one of the highest raptor concentrations in Santa Barbara County.  Red-tailed hawks are abundant and Golden eagles are seen nearly every day.  Other raptors seen regularly include White-tailed Kites, Northern Harriers, Cooper’s Hawks, Peregrine Falcons, Prairie Falcons, American Kestrels, and Ferruginous Hawks.  Strauss presents a significant risk of harm to these raptors – 60% of raptors observed in surveys were within the rotor-swept zone of the WTGs.

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“3 Billion Birds Lost” Lecture: From “What If?” to Full House!

By Janice Levasheff, Membership Chair

We feel fortunate that we were able to bring Dr. Kenneth Rosenberg here, from Lori Gaskin’s “what if” idea, to Katherine Emery’s reaching out to a fellow Cornell alum with the enticement of a January visit to sunny Santa Barbara, to UCSB Arts & Lectures arranging his trip and talk as part of their Thematic Learning Initiative, and to the S.B. Museum of Natural History graciously providing their recently renovated Fleischmann Auditorium as the venue for his talk. This was truly the happy result of a successful collaboration among our three organizations!

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Projects & Goals Update

Our Executive Director, Katherine Emery, had provided updates to our projects and goals page. You can view it at by clicking HERE. You can also access it via the News menu above and selecting the ‘Current Projects & Goals’ item.

El Tecolote Winter 2019-20

Santa Barbara Audubon’s Winter issue of El Tecolote is now available.

In this issue read about:

  • Cornell Labs Study on the Decline of North American Avifauna
  • The up coming 120th CBCs
  • 6th Annual Winter Bird Count 4 Kids
  • Revitalized Meet Your Wild Neighbor
  • Kenneth Rosenberg Speaking at SBMNH, a collaboration of UCSB Arts & Lectures, SBMNH and SBAS
  • Effects of Rodent Poison
  • Up coming Field Trips, Friday Bird Walks and Programs for the winter

To download the pdf file, click the thumbnail image to the right.

A big Thank You to Trent Watanabe of Montecito Journal and SB Sentinel for the layout of El Tecolote

Sadly this is Trent’s last issue. We will truly miss him. If you know anyone with layout skills we would surely like to hear from them.