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The importance of the LA urban forest to resident and migratory birds, with Dr. Eric Wood – Evening Meeting Reminder: Tuesday, November 13, 7:30 p.m.

November 9, 2018

Black-throated Gray Warbler (Eric Wood 5-3-11)

How does the Los Angeles urban forest affect our resident and migrant birds? How do they use it? Do they use native and exotic trees differently? Do the trees lining our public street actually benefit our birds? These are just a few of the topics Dr. Wood will address. What patterns of tree cover and diversity occur in our urban forest, especially in our public street trees? What are the patterns of public street tree preferences by birds, especially when it comes to the question of the benefits of native vs. exotic trees? How do our socioeconomic differences shape our urban forest and its bird communities? All this and more.

Dr. Wood, in the field

Dr. Eric Wood is an Assistant Professor of Ecology in the Biological Sciences Department at California State University Los Angeles. His lab research centers on terrestrial ecosystems and avian communities. They use field and citizen science data, spatial analyses, and quantitative approaches to explore questions that focus on avian ecology, urban ecosystems, and conservation. Go here to find out what the Wood Lab of Avian Ecology and Conservation is up to.

Our meetings are at Christine Emerson Reed Park, 1133 7th Street. (between 7th St. & Lincoln Blvd., California Ave. & Wilshire Blvd.), Santa Monica. Previously known as Lincoln Park. If coming from outside Santa Monica, exit the #10 Fwy at Lincoln Blvd., turn north and drive 5 blocks north to Wilshire Blvd.

Date Change: We’re meeting on the 2ND TUESDAY this month only to avoid the voting rush a week earlier.

Link to Google Map

Meeting Room: Mid-park in Joslyn Hall, accessible from Lincoln Blvd, California Ave. and 7th St.  Its glass wall faces north towards St. Monica Church on California St. If you’re walking from Lincoln Blvd., it’s located directly behind (west) of the large Miles Playhouse building. Not accessible directly from Wilshire Blvd.

Meetings begin at 7:30 sharp with a little business, and then our main presentation. Refreshments are served afterward. Please leave your coyotes at home, however much they whine to come.

Yellow-rumped Warbler (Eric Wood 4-30-11)

Parking: The entire block between Wilshire Blvd. and California Ave, 7th St. and Lincoln Blvd., on the sides closest to the park, is metered. $2/hour meter enforcement (except on Wilshire) ends at 6PM, so free parking for the meeting! However, the local natives are engaged in a survival-of-the-fittest scramble for free parking, so the after-6pm free parking spaces disappear quickly.  We suggest that you arrive no later than 7:15 pm.

If all those spaces are filled, we found free parking as follows:
California Ave. between 6th and 7th
9th St. north of Wilshire Blvd.
10th St. north of California Ave.
Washington Ave. (next street north of and parallel to California)

If that fails, go south of Wilshire, not north of the park, as resident-only permit parking zones abound to the north. The east side of Lincoln Blvd. across from the park is by permit parking only. Spaces are more available on 7th St. or Lincoln south of Wilshire. Some of those are “until 9PM” meters also. You may need a flashlight to read & operate the meter. Wherever you park, please read parking signs carefully and avoid a big fat $40+ parking ticket.   [Chuck Almdale]


President’s Annual Appeal for 2018

November 8, 2018

Photo: Grace Murayama 7-23-17

It is again that time of year when we ask our fellow members and friends for their support. Remember, this is our only fund raising effort. Your help allows our all-volunteer group to accomplish much each year. Your donations are used to further our mission “to be a center for wildlife education, habitat protection, and conservation issues that involve birds.”

These efforts are of increasing importance in view of the decreasing support for environmental issues coming from the Federal Administration

You can DONATE four different ways:

  • With the self-addressed envelope enclosed with the annual appeal letter (sent to those already on our membership rolls)
  • Send a check to our mailing address: SMBAS, PO Box 35, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272
  • With PayPal using the PayPal Widget located on the right side bar of the blog
  • With a Credit Card using the same PayPal Widget located on the right side bar of the blog.  You do not have to join PayPal to donate, just have your credit card “standing by.”

Please take a moment and make a donation today.

We continue our strong backing of all things bird, habitat, native plants, the environment and conservation through education, field trips, bird monitoring, speakers and grants to students and conservation groups.

Please take a minute to read the annual appeal letter below and see what we have been doing this year.

Thank you,

Adrian Douglas

Now is the time of year – and the only time of year – when we ask our fellow members and followers for their annual support.  Remember, this is our only fund raising effort by our all-volunteer group.  Your donation is needed now more than ever to continue the strong SMBAS support of all things bird, habitat, native plants, natural environment, and conservation.

SMBAS makes particular effort to focus on:


  • We continue our support of the Student Conservation Association which provides hands-on conservation service and training in the Santa Monica Mountains and/or Butterbredt Spring area, the site of our annual Christmas Count.
  • For the Audubon Education Program at Ballona Wetlands, this year we funded ten bus scholarships to help elementary school students visit Ballona Wetlands for field trips that – for many – is their first glimpse of a natural area.
  • In memory of our Education and Conservation Chair, Laurel Hoctor Jones, we sent a young birder to Camp Avocet in Delaware, sponsored by the American Birding Association.
  • In February, we will again offer the very popular field class designed to improve birding skills of beginning and intermediate birders, and to learn to identify and observe the birds of the Los Angeles region.

Public Outreach

  • Our evening speaker programs are diverse and insightful. They are held the first Tuesday of October through May, except January. We meet in Santa Monica; locations vary, so keep in touch via the BLOG or or Twitter at
  • Our monthly Malibu Lagoon walks (fourth Sunday, 8:30 a.m.) and our special family walks (same day) at 10 a.m. continue to be popular and productive. We also offer a different field trip on the second Saturday of the month. A complete field trip calendar is enclosed. Please verify times and locations before you venture out to join us, contact information is    By signing up to receive email notifications via our BLOG,, you will always be on top of upcoming trips and meetings. These trips are rich in opportunities and information for the beginning birder as well as the experienced.
  • We are looking for new board members. It involves only a couple of hours a month.

Bird Monitoring

  • 2018 again saw breeding Snowy Plovers (a Threatened species) at Malibu Lagoon for the second time in 70 years. We continue to monitor this exciting event.  Our support for this effort (and for the Endangered Least Terns) into subsequent years is imperative in collaboration with State, Federal, and local agencies.  We continue our monthly Snowy Plover counts at Malibu Lagoon, Santa Monica Beach, and Zuma Beach.  Check out our Snowy Plover page and slideshow on the blog.
  • To support the Snowy Plovers, we help fund the cost of fencing at Santa Monica beach and a plover/tern volunteer coordinator for Los Angeles County. We also send a representative to the Rangewide Snowy Plover Conference.

Habitat Conservation and Research

  • We offer small, but essential, research grants to Santa Monica College, UCLA and Loyola Marymount students. Follow the occasional blogs about local PhD students at Loyola Marymount and UCLA and their projects and impacts on the bay and birds.
  • We also support Friends of Big Morongo, Endangered Habitats League, American Bird Conservancy, and Birder’s Exchange.

This is your chapter and we hope you will join us in many of these activities.  We welcome your input to this diverse program of events.  If you wish to receive or continue to receive our bi-monthly, single sheet paper news update/calendar, please indicate on the enclosed remittance envelope.  (You need not donate to receive the print version.). Please remember all contributions are fully tax deductible and will be used exclusively in direct support of our programs.  We hope you will consider the solid positive impact of our group and make a contribution.

Thank you in advance for your generosity.  Your critical support matters to the environment and to the birds.

Adrian Douglas

The Only Animal That Weeps | PBS Science Video

November 12, 2018

Why do we cry? It’s weird. Humans leak water out of their faces when they get sad. Are we the only animals that do this? What does it mean? What is it for? Here’s the science of human tears!

This is an installment of the PBS – It’s OK to be Smart series. 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.  [Chuck Almdale]

Three-way-hybrid American Wood Warbler Found in Pennsylvania

November 10, 2018

Please note that this is not an April Fool’s Day report.

I’ll say only than the hybrid’s mother seems to be a “Brewsters” Warbler, which is itself a hybrid between Blue-winged (Vermivora cyanoptera) and Golden-winged (Vermivora chrysoptera) Warblers. The father is a third species of warbler. Get out your field guide and read the fascinating article, including many photos, by GrrlScientist.

[Chuck Almdale]

Huntington Central Park – A Little Rain: Oct. 13, 2018 Field Trip

November 9, 2018

A rare rainy day seemed an inauspicious time for a bird walk, but five of us were willing to dampen our shoes and get rain spots on our binoculars. In spite of the concurrent Boy Scout Jamboree, which spread over even more of the park than last year and was very noisy, we saw quite a good number of birds.

White-faced Ibis (Ray Juncosa)

Fortunately, “bird whisperer” Chris Lord was along, and found and identified most of the birds. Much of the water was covered with green algae, which may have kept the ducks away. Most of what was swimming were American Coots, but there were Mallards, plus a few Gadwalls and American Wigeons. Egrets and herons were well represented, including a beautiful Green Heron, and one White-faced Ibis seemed to find a lot to eat. Seven peeps, too far away to identify, were pecking in the shallow water. A Belted Kingfisher swooped around.

Yellow-rumped Warbler (Ray Juncosa)

Warblers were mostly of the Yellow-rumped persuasion, but we also found Orange-crowned and Townsend’s Warblers and Common Yellowthroats. Raptors showed up also: a Cooper’s Hawk blended perfectly into a tree; we had also a Kestrel and a Red-shouldered Hawk. A pair of Northern Flickers, whom we heard early on, finally showed up on the ground between some dense trees.

Townsend’s Warbler (Ray Juncosa)

Happily, the Scaly-breasted Munia, beautiful and well adapted immigrants, and a good reason for birding this park, were found early on. The flower garden boasted a few Hummingbirds, including Anna’s and Allen’s.

Hermit Thrust (Ray Juncosa)

A few Hermit Thrushes skulked in the undergrowth. All in all, 42 species was more than we thought we would see!    [Elizabeth Galton]

Adult Red-shouldered Hawk in fine form (Ray Juncosa)

Huntington Central Park Bird List – Oct. 13, 2018
Egyptian Goose Black Phoebe
Gadwall American Crow
American Wigeon Common Raven
Double-crested Cormorant Bushtit
Great Egret House Wren
Snowy Egret Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Great Blue Heron Hermit Thrush
Green Heron American Robin
Black-crowned Night-Heron Black-throated Gray Warbler
White-faced Ibis Orange-crowned Warbler
Cooper’s Hawk Townsend’s Warbler
Red-shouldered Hawk Yellow-rumped Warbler
American Kestrel Common Yellowthroat
American Coot California Towhee
Peeps (too far to ID) Song Sparrow
Anna’s Hummingbird White-crowned Sparrow
Allen’s Hummingbird Western Tanager
Belted Kingfisher Brewer’s Blackbird
Downy Woodpecker House Finch
Northern Flicker Lesser Goldfinch
Pacific-slope Flycatcher Scaly-breasted Munia
Compiled by Jean Garrett Total Species – 42
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