Times are uncertain… but please submit avian breeding activity

Santa Barbara Audubon Society, in accordance with direction from local, national and international public health authorities regarding slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), regretfully has had to take the following actions:

  • April & May field trips and Friday bird walks are canceled
  • March program is canceled
  • May program is currently still scheduled
  • As updates may occur at any time, check back here regularly

These actions have been taken with the health and well-being of our community, volunteers and board of directors as our top priority.

As we are now in breeding season...

We encourage our members to take notice of avian breeding activity in your yard and on your walks in nature. Please submit your breeding activity sightings to the Breeding Bird Study HERE. The Breeding Bird Study is still gathering records despite the shutdown of Google Fusion Tables. (The BBS team is working on a new way to display SB County Breeding Bird data.) Records are coming in but we are lagging behind last year for several species.

Stay well and good birding

Ken Rosenberg lecture written up in Montecito Journal

Check out Joanne Calitri’s article on page 30 of the March 2020 issue of the Montecito Journal! It’s about Ken Rosenberg’s “Three Billion Birds Lost..” lecture, co-presented by the S.B. Museum of Natural History, UCSB Arts & Lectures Thematic Learning Initiative, and Santa Barbara Audubon Society! Thank you, Joanne and MJ! Here is a link to the issue of the Montecito Journal: https://issuu.com/santabarbarasentinel/docs/mj_12_26_full/1…

Once you have clicked on the link, click on the arrows at the right of the screen until you get to page 30.

Program, Field Trip, and Bird Walk Updates

Dear Audubon Members and Community,

In light of Governor Newsom’s March 11th announcement (excerpts cited below), Santa Barbara Audubon Society will postpone our March 25th program as well as cancel our March 14th field trip and March 20th Friday bird walk.

“Governor Gavin Newsom announced that California public health officials this evening issued an updated policy on gatherings to protect public health and slow the spread of COVID-19. The state’s public health experts have determined that gatherings should be postponed or canceled across the state until at least the end of March. Non-essential gatherings must be limited to no more than 250 people, while smaller events can proceed only if the organizers can implement social distancing of 6 feet per person.”


“The state’s updated policy defines a ‘gathering’ as any event or convening that brings together people in a single room or single space at the same time, such as an auditorium, stadium, arena, large conference room, meeting hall, cafeteria, or any other indoor or outdoor space.”


Also it states: “This guidance applies to all non-essential professional, social and community gatherings regardless of their sponsor.”

The entire announcement, along with a link to the full policy, can be found HERE:

Please continue to monitor our website for any changes to bird walks and field trips scheduled in April and beyond. We still plan to hold our May evening program. If that changes we will post updates on our website.

This is not a decision that SBAS makes lightly, but we feel strongly that SBAS must do its part to keep our community healthy and safe.

Thank you for your understanding.

Katherine Emery, Ph.D.
Executive Director,
Santa Barbara Audubon Society
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El Tecolote Spring 2020

Santa Barbara Audubon’s Spring issue of El Tecolote is now available. In this issue read about:
  • Our results of the 120 Christmas Bird Count
  • The highlights of the 6th Annual Winter Bird Count for Kids
  • Executive Director highlights
  • Meet our student representative
  • Science and conservation news
  • Report on the Strauss Wind Project
  • West coast survey of the Brown Pelican
  • Upcoming Field Trips, Friday Bird Walks & Programs
To download the pdf file, click the thumbnail image to the right.

  El Tecolote Staff:
  • Joyce Carasa – Editor
  • Alex Loos – Layout

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.

… Continue Reading

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!

… Continue Reading


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.

… Continue Reading

“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!

… Continue Reading

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.

Current Projects & Goals

From the desk of Katherine Emery Executive DirectorFebruary 20, 2020

This Executive Director column communicates to existing and prospective members the projects SBAS is actively working on related to our three main focus areas: education, conservation, and science.  This column will be updated regularly with current projects and goals.  Recent highlights are exciting events SBAS members and volunteers just led. Current projects are an overview and not all-inclusive.  Likewise, the goals summarize what each SBAS committee is working towards with occasional opportunities for existing (or potential new) members to become more involved.

El Tecolote Fall 2019

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

In this issue read about:

  • The June Annual Meeting
  • The Board summer retreat
  • Meet new Executive Director
  • Meet our new Education co-chairperson
  • The Strauss Wind Energy Project
  • New Members & Donor thank you
  • Premier trip to Point Mugu
  • Upcoming Field Trips, Friday Bird Walks and Programs for the fall

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