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How a Parrot Learns its Name in the Wild | Cornell Lab of Ornithology

April 20, 2019

Biologist Karl Berg asks the question, “How do parrots learn their names?” Are they genetically encoded or are the learned from their parents? In this video, Producer Marc Dantzker delves into Karl’s work and explains how this simple question is shedding light on one of nature’s most complex communication systems.

A film from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. If no film or link appears in this email, go to the blog to view it by clicking on the blog title above. If the film stops & starts in an annoying manner, press pause (lower left double bars ||) to let it buffer and get ahead of you. The Lab is a member-supported organization; they welcome your membership and support.  [Chuck Almdale]


Butterbredt Spring Weekend Campout: 27-28 April, 2019, 8:30 a.m.

April 17, 2019
Hoary Bat (R. Seidner 4/27/12)

Hoary Bat in repose (R. Seidner 4/27/12)

On Saturday and Sunday, 27-28 April, we will hold our annual spring camping weekend at the Butterbredt Spring Wildlife Sanctuary and the riparian habitat of Kelso Creek, surrounded by the high desert.   Birds we will see are desert residents – hummingbirds, roadrunners, owls, thrashers, and orioles for example – spring migrants (some years we see all eleven western warblers at the spring –  nine were recently reported), and specialties such as Piñon Jays, LeConte’s Thrasher and Golden Eagles.   Our host reports getting a lot of rain this winter and has some very interesting birds nesting on the property, plus plenty of butterflies, green grass and wildflowers.   Travel will be on graded dirt roads, passable by almost any car. We will camp in a spot close to Kelso Creek and north of Kelso Valley.   Refill your gas tank in Mojave and bring water for cooking and washing.

Family guide: A great camping trip. In fact, we encourage families to attend this camping trip.  This is the desert, so please be careful of common desert hazards and equipment: driving off-road, thorny cacti, loose rock and sand, insufficient water, basic camping and emergency supplies.  We are invited to stay at Sageland Ranch, former home of one of our long-time chapter members.   There will be camping space for all, but in order to reduce demands on our host, please bring water for cooking and washing. Plus your own food, of course, assuming that you wish to eat. Some firewood would be greatly appreciated too.   You can cook on the main campfire or on one of the barbecues.

Sphinx Moth at Beavertail Cactus flower (R. Seidner 4/27/13)

Sphinx Moth at Beavertail Cactus flower
(R. Seidner 4/27/13)

Participants must phone or email the leader to sign-up for this trip.
Leader:  Jean Garrett   (310-472-7209)   <jeangarrett2001[AT]> and Mary Prismon

They may need to sign a release form which will be available at the beginning of the trip.   Leave your name and telephone number with the contact person in case of cancellation due to bad weather.

Links to Trip Reports: April 2015, April 2013, April, 2012, May 2010

The rock admiration society (R. Seidner 11/3/12)

The rock admiration society, Kelso Valley Chapter
(R. Seidner 11/3/12)

[Directions] From Santa Monica:
San Diego Freeway north to Highway 14 which goes east and north through the Antelope Valley to the town of Mojave, where you really should refill your gas tank. From Mojave continue on Highway 14 about 20 miles to the Jawbone Canyon turnoff. Take Jawbone Rd. for 6.2 miles and take the right fork. Go another 5.7 miles, much of it uphill, to the Butterbredt Sign, turn right and go another 0.9 miles to the spring. Travel time is about 2½ – 3 hours from Santa Monica. If you have an FRS radio, bring it along tuned to Channel 11, privacy channel 22.
Meet at the spring at 8:30 a.m.
Late-comers should be able to find us in the vicinity of the main grove until at least 9:00.
[Jean Garrett]
Link to Google Map of probable route

Butterbredt Spring gate (L. Johnson 4/26/13)

In those halcyon days of yore, this was the Butterbredt Spring gate
(L. Johnson 4/26/13)

Snowy Plover & Least Terns Volunteer Monitors Wanted!

April 17, 2019

And now a message from Stacey Vigallon at the Los Angeles County Snowy Plover and Least Tern Master Command Control Center.

Snowy Plover with a rusty crown
(Grace Murayama 3-24-19 Malibu Lagoon)

Hi Snowy Plover Volunteers!

Many thanks to the volunteers who headed out to survey beaches in March! During the March survey, plovers again popped up outside some of their usual roost locations. Plovers were present at Zuma, Malibu Lagoon, Santa Monica, and Hermosa, but skipped their usual Dockweiler roost site near the protective enclosure to again make an appearance at the central Dockweiler beach and Venice instead. Overall, volunteers observed over 140 plovers, which is fewer than were observed in March 2018. We will likely see plover numbers continue to dwindle as we move into late spring and summer. Dogs – both on- and off-leash – continue to be observed at areas with suitable plover habitat, including Malibu Lagoon.

The next plover survey is coming up May 16th-24th! This window is set by USFWS, and unfortunately it only encompasses one weekend this time around. I will be in touch over the next month about beach assignments. If you’re someone who has sat the last few surveys out and you’d like to jump in, please send me an email so I can connect you with a team.

Will plovers nest again in LA County? Help us find out! In 2017 and 2018 plovers started nesting on our beaches in April. Beaches in counties north and south of us have already confirmed the presence of nests for 2019 (take a visit to Coal Oil Point Reserve if you can!). We would love your help with weekly monitoring of key sites to better detect nesting activities and to keep an eye on any nests that are found. If you would like to participate, please let me know, and I will add you to the schedule. For now, sites will be Dockweiler, Santa Monica, and Malibu Lagoon.

We’re also welcoming new volunteers for Least Tern monitoring as well, with upcoming trainings scheduled for April 18th, April 25th, and May 5th. Interested volunteers can contact me directly.


Stacey Vigallon
Los Angeles Audubon
I’m often in the field and/or working with students. Your email correspondence is important to me, but it may take me some time to get back to you. Thanks for your patience!

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