Posts Tagged ‘Citizen Scientist’

Mute Swans (Cygnus olor) are a species that is growing more and more numerous, and this is a problem.

Mute Swans are the “classic” swan from stories and art. They are large and showy and beautiful and these traits are exactly why they have been introduced to North America. Birds were brought from Europe in the 1800s and released in parks, gardens, etc. as ornamental additions (New York was the original release area). These birds have since reproduced and spread across the continent as far north as New Hampshire, as far south as Florida, and as far as west as California.

Adult male Mute Swan (Cygnus olor). Source: USFWS digital library.

They are becoming problematic for several reasons. One is that they are quite aggressive, and will chase and bite humans if that human trespasses on the swan’s territory. Another is that they consume quite a bit of food. They are big birds reaching up to 25 to 30 pounds, and that means they eat about eight pounds of aquatic vegetation every day. That is food which is then not available to native birds, and it disrupts habitat for native birds, mammals, fish, and other species. And a third reason is that the swans are directly aggressive to other species of bird driving them off nests, breaking eggs, and killing the chicks of other species, and so displacing those other species from areas where they would otherwise live. With habitats becoming ever smaller and more fragmented, this can mean the native species can be left with no where to go.

These problems have all contributed to Mute Swans being added to California’s restricted species list in 2008. This listing means the birds cannot be imported, transported, or possessed in the state without a permit. This has not completely prevented the swans from beginning to become established in California. Small populations can be found in Petaluma and the Suisun Marsh. I suggest that removing this species while the population is still small is the best course of action. There is every reason to suspect that the population will grow, and as it does so, the problems listed above will become more and more apparent. However, control will become more and more difficult.

One interesting thing about Mute Swans in North America is that they do not migrate very much. There are certainly some, relatively short, seasonal movements that occur in some parts of the continent, but not much. Certainly nothing compared to the long migrations that Mute Swans in Europe engage in. The evolution of this behavior in a novel environment illustrates how different geographic regions can cause a species to adapt and change. This behavioral evolution could then lead to the evolution of a new species, if it persists and becomes dramatic enough.

So, what can you do to help native birds and habitats, and prevent Mute Swans from taking over? If you spot a Mute Swan in California, contact the California Department of Fish and Wildlife – Invasive Species Program by sending an email to: invasives@wildlife.ca.gov or calling 886-440-9530. Together, we can act as citizen scientists to gather data that tracks where these birds are and how they move around. This data will help us all make the best and most informed decisions we can about this species.

Thanks for visiting my blog. If you are interested in other ways to connect with me, here are a couple of options:

YouTube – A Birding Naturalist

Instagram – abirdingnaturalist

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Dear Sponsor (I hope!),

About twenty years ago, the Point Reyes Bird Observatory (PRBO) founded a new bird-a-thon team named the Drake’s Beach Sanderlings. The Sanderlings was particularly noteworthy because it was the first youth Bird-a-thon team that PRBO had ever organized. It was an exciting event! I remember, because I was one of the first youth members of the Sanderlings.

In the years since, the Sanderlings (myself included) have continued a very successful tradition of taking to the field every fall to crisscross Marin County, finding as many bird species as possible in twenty-four hours, and raising money for bird research and conservation. This makes the Sanderlings the longest running youth bird-a-thon team I am aware of! It is certainly the longest running such team in California. The team has included a shifting variety of members as our youths have gotten older, moved away, and/or gone to college. Wherever they have spread to, they have carried with them a passion for birds and nature that was, in part, nurtured by the Sanderlings.

Sanderling, adult winter (John C. Avise)

The team’s namesake, a Sanderling

Until his death, the Sanderlings were led by the legendary Rich Stallcup along with former PRBO board member Ellen Blustein. After Rich passed away, I was invited to co-lead the team with Ellen, and I have been honored to do so every year since. This year Ellen has decided to step down as a team leader which marks the latest change in the history of the team. PRBO has changed as well, including a name change to Point Blue Conservation Science.

In this modern age, youth participation in conservation, both globally and locally, has never been more important. However, there is growing concern that birds will not be able to compete with digital sources for the attention of what could be the next generation of conservation leaders. Teams like the Sanderlings help to engage youths with birds and the natural world.

To support and continue to encourage youth engagement in the natural world, I would like to invite you to become a sponsor of the Sanderlings. Your support sends a powerful message that a team like the Sanderlings should continue to be taken seriously and continue to grow. This year, the Sanderlings bird-a-thon will be on September 29th, and if you do choose to become a sponsor, I will be sure to let you know how the day goes.

To become a sponsor, go to: http://pointblue.blueskysweet.com/teampage.asp?fundid=800#.W3xRM-hKi70 and click the DONATE NOW button. I hope you think we are worthy of your support. Please feel free to contact me with any questions you might have.



Drake’s Beach Sanderlings Team Leader






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A friend of mine has been volunteering with the National Park Service to track the nesting activities of raptors in the Presidio in San Francisco, CA for the past twenty years. There are four species of bird of prey that nest in the park. They are Red-tailed Hawk, Red-shouldered Hawk, Cooper’s Hawk, and Great Horned Owl.

Information that has been collected include where these birds nest, how many nest in the park, when stages of nesting (breeding, egg laying, incubation, etc.) occur, how many chick fledge from each nest, etc.

This project has taken a wonderful turn this year with the installation of nest cams! My friend, and others, have been working with the Park Service to get funding to purchase and install nest live-cams on some of the active nests. One of the first such cams has now been installed on a Red-tailed Hawk nest that has been built between the branches of a Blue Gum Eucalyptus Tree. The live-stream of this nest cam can be found on YouTube HERE.

RTHA Nest Cam Capture

Male Red-tailed Hawk in the Presidio, San Francisco, CA incubating the one egg that had been laid at this point. Note thin, black barring that are restricted to near the base of the tail.

The pair of Red-tailed Hawks have laid one white, and lightly speckled egg in the nest as of 3/7/2018. The male and female can be distinguished by a few characteristics. The best is by tail pattern. The male has a few, very thin black bars on its red tail. These bars are limited to the base of the tail. The female, on the other hand, has those thin black bars on the tail that extend just about all the way down to the black subterminal band near the tail tip. Beyond these tail pattern differences, the male and female have different molt patterns on the secondary flight feathers, the male is slightly smaller than the female, and the male is banded!

RTHA Nest Cam Capture F

Female Red-tailed Hawk in the Presidio, San Francisco, CA incubating the one egg that had been laid at this point. Note the thin, black barring that extend all the way to the subterminal tail band.

I have already noticed a few interesting things after only checking in on the nest for a couple of days. One is that when the the male comes to the nest to give the female a break, he sometimes brings nesting materials to add to the nest. He does this even though the nest is complete and an egg has been laid.

So far, about 60 people have been watching the nest at any given time. I am sure that this number will go up, and it will be great to push it as high as possible, since I am also sure that the Park Service will be more inclined to install more live-cams if the public response is positive and strong. So watch the Red-tailed Hawks and see what is going on at  the nest!


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Parasitic Jaeger

Parasitic Jeager. One of the early names that the Drake’s Beach Sanderlings tried out was The Jeagers.

Dear Friend,

For more than 15 years, the Drake’s Beach Sanderlings have participated in the Point Blue Conservation Science Rich Stallcup Bird-a-thon. During that time, dozens of young birders have had the opportunity to learn about birds, bird conservation, and ecosystem stewardship.

The Drake’s Beach Sanderlings was the first youth bird-a-thon team supported by Point Blue Conservation Science. Over the years, this extraordinary team has helped to foster a deep seated passion for wildlife and conservation in young people. These young people have then carried that passion and knowledge into the world with them as they have spread into a wide range of endeavors.

Last year, in 2016, the Drake’s Beach Sanderlings birded for over 14 hours, covered over 100 miles zig-zagging across Marin County, saw a total of 131 species of bird, and raised over $3,000!

This year is going to be the same in some ways, and very different in others. Some of the similarities are that the Sanderlings are going out again, this year on the 23rd of September, to crisscross Marin County. We will be visiting all our favorite spots, and probably a few new ones, to find as many species of bird as we possibly can. One of the biggest differences is going to be that this is not an official Point Blue bird-a-thon! Due to staffing issues, among other things, Point Blue Conservation Science will not be able to support and run the Bird-a-thon. This is only a temporary situation, and Point Blue is fully planning on reinvigorating the bird-a-thon in 2018. However, it means that those of us who are still committed to the bird-a-thon cause are going rogue this year. It also means that we really need your help! With no support from Point Blue, we are on our own conducting outreach, and generating enthusiasm and dollars, for bird research and conservation!

Sanderlings Team 1

The Drake’s Beach Sanderlings birding Drake’s Beach during the 2016 bird-a-thon.

With the help of sponsors like you, we have helped to raise tens of thousands of dollars for environmental stewardship and conservation of the ecosystems on which we all depend. Your support of the Drake’s Beach Sanderlings encourages young people to go out and engage with birds and the natural world, and work for a better future.

So join us and donate a fixed amount (like $15.00) or an amount per species (like $0.25/species). Your support provides opportunities for young and old to engage in environmental stewardship, experience the rewards of connecting with their environment, and make a real difference in their communities and the world.

And donating is easy! Just mail a check, made out to Point Blue Conservation Science, to me at: 203 Touchstone Pl, West Sacramento, CA 95691

We very much appreciate your support for the Sanderlings Bird-a-thon: The Rogue Year. If you have any questions about The Drake’s Beach Sanderlings, the Rich Stallcup Bird-a-thon, or our any other aspect of this event please e-mail or call me at aaron.haiman@deltaconservancy.ca.gov or 510-289-7239.


Aaron N.K. Haiman

Drake’s Beach Sanderlings Team Co-Leader

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Celebrate the 27th Annual Creek Week 2017

We Are Creeks

The 27th Annual Creek Week splashes off on April 21st with county-wide educational activities, creek tours, and an April 29th cleanup day and volunteer celebration.

The Sacramento Area Creeks Council invites you to participate in cleaning area creeks in conjunction with Creek Week 2017. The fun begins April 21st when Creek Week “splashes off” for a week of county-wide educational activities, creek tours, nature walks, and more! The “Big Day” is on April 29th when volunteers remove tons of trash and invasive plants, as well as conduct water monitoring along area creeks. Then they celebrate their accomplishments later that day at Carmichael Park.

It may seem like a small act of community service, but these local activities have large-scale environmental impacts. Habitat restoration and litter removal improves wildlife habitat and helps filter pollutants before they reach the river.

Also important to note, keeping trash out of streets and waterways helps prevent flooding during rain storms by allowing storm water to flow through unobstructed storm drains and creeks.

Be part of an area-wide volunteer effort to improve and enhance our urban waterways. Trash and invasive plant removal and water quality testing all help support a healthy creek system.

The annual Creek Week event, now in its 27th year, raises awareness about sources of water pollution, and gives participants of all ages and abilities an opportunity to have a great time and feel great about protecting our environment.

Visit http://www.creekweek.net to learn more about how to volunteer and for activity locations and times. Creek clean up locations include:

  • Citrus Heights
  • Carmichael & Arden-Arcade
  • Rio Linda
  • Natomas, North Sacramento, & North Highlands
  • South Sacramento County
  • Rancho Cordova
  • Antelope
  • Folsom
  • The Delta
  • Orangevale

Volunteers must register by Friday, April 28th at http://www.creekweek.net or call one of the numbers indicated on the web site. All volunteers must complete and sign a waiver form.

The Sacramento Area Creeks Council preserves, protects, restores and maintains the natural streams in our urban communities through education, advocacy, financial support and technical expertise. Our goal is to educate the general public on the aesthetic, recreational, educational, and ecological value of our urban creeks.

Connect on Facebook at #creekweek.sac


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PBCS logoOn Saturday, I had the pleasure and privilege of being the MC for the awards celebration at the Point Blue Conservation Science 2016 Bird-a-thon dinner. It was a terrific evening that the staff of Point Blue had put a lot of work into to make run so smoothly.

This was a celebration of the 39th annual Rich Stallcup Bird-a-thon (learn more about it here) which is a fund raiser where teams of birders go out into the county of their choice and bird for a 24 hours period each fall. These teams collect sponsors who donate money to Point Blue in fixed sums or on a per-species basis. It is a great event that gets people out to enjoy the natural world, see a lot of different species of bird (and other wildlife), and raises money for bird research and conservation of birds and of the whole ecosystems in which they, and we, live.


Rich Stallcup doing what he loved (photo by Juliet Grable)

The Rich Stallcup Bird-a-thon (named for the late great Rich Stallcup who played a huge roll in founding the Point Reyes Bird Observatory that later became Point Blue Conservation Science and also in inspiring several generations of birders and naturalists) has raised over $3 million over its 39 year history making it the longest running event of its kind in the USA!

The 2016 Bird-a-thon, collectively, saw 266 species of birds, raised more than $82 thousand, and included dozens of teams comprised of several hundred individual counters.

At the awards dinner, we recognized individuals and teams who raised the most money, who competed for the most species seen per county, who competed as green teams (meaning that no fossil fuels were used during the actual count). We also recognized the contributions of the youth teams, of which there were three this year, and one of which I co-led.

In addition to the awards, Wendell Gilgert, the director of the Point Blue Rangeland Watershed Initiative, gave a presentation on the importance of rangelands in protecting biodiversity, reducing greenhouse gas levels, and storing water. It was a fantastic presentation that I think exposed even the most experienced birders in the audience to some new information and a novel way of looking at biodiversity to read the health of a landscape.

It truly was a lovely evening in the company of a bunch of passionate bird nuts, and I am very much looking forward to the 2017 bird-a-thon! I hope you will join us!


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PBCS logoThe Drake’s Beach Sanderlings 

A Point Blue Conservation Science, Rich Stallcup Bird-a-thon Team

Dear Sponsor,

The Drake’s Beach Sanderlings met again this year on the 24th of September for our 17th annual Bird-a-thon. As always, this was a fast paced day with a lot of jumping in and out of cars at sites all over Marin County. This year was another drought year for California with little or no water at many of the sites visited. Additionally, with a light breeze and clear skies for the proceeding several nights, many migrants were able to continue their journeys. This resulted in some very quiet sites. But each quiet site only inspired us to search every bramble, examine every bird, and after a day of fighting for every species, we ended with a lot of birds on our list and had a simply splendid day!


The 2016 Sanderlings group photo (Photo by Cheryl Ishida).

The team, this year was comprised of Ellen Blustein, Aaron Haiman, Catherine Berner, Lyell Nesbitt, Jonah Benningfield, Max Benningfield, John Myles, Eddie Monson, and Connor Cochrane. And the level of enthusiasm on this year’s bird-a-thon was at a particularly high mark which made the day particularly special.

We began at the Bear Valley Visitor Center to try to hear some owls. Under a spectacular starry sky, this was our first indication that we were going to have to work hard for our species. Generally, the Great Horned Owls around Bear Valley, but that morning was silent. We quickly decided to move on and headed to Olema Marsh where Ellen clapped the rails into chorus. Then it was off to Five Brooks Pond where we finally heard Great Horned Owls calling back and forth. After searching for songbirds despite a very mild dawn chorus we began our crisscrossing of Marin from Stinson Beach to the Outer Point to the interior of the county and the east side. Some of the birds and stops that were especially notable included: the Swainson’s Thrushes we heard at Five Brooks; a little flock of Pygmy Nuthatches and a spectacular set of chases by Parasitic Jaegers going after Brown Pelicans or Elegant Terns at Stinson Beach; while the ranches on the Outer Point were pretty empty, we did enjoy the flocks of Tricolored Blackbirds, and at our stop at the Elephant Seal Overlook we were treated to a Black Oystercatcher and a Rock Wren which are both species we usually miss;  at Las Gallinas we picked up a Palm Warbler and a Lesser Scaup! Finally we ended at the Embassy Suites Marsh for a final Ridgeway’s Rail as the sun set!


The Drake’s Beach Sanderlings birding on Drake’s Beach (Photo by Kristin Myles)

After all was said and done, and we had searched Marin County for 14 hours, we spotted a total of 131 bird species (see below) and learned and laughed a lot! It was terrific to be out in the field with such a great group, and we are already looking forward to next year.

Thank you for your support of this amazing team, of Point Blue Conservation Science, and of birds in general. Your donation will be used to help study and protect birds and the ecosystems in which they live against climate change and habitat loss. It also sends an important message that people care about the natural world. We hope you will choose to support us again in the future.

With Gratitude,

The Drake’s Beach Sanderlings


Total Species List 2016:


Red-throated Loon, Pacific Loon, Common Loon, Pied-billed Grebe, Western Grebe, American White Pelican, Brown Pelican, Double-Crested Cormorant, Brandt’s Cormorant, Pelagic Cormorant, Great-Blue Heron, Green Heron, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Snowy Egret, Great Egret, Canada Goose, Wood Duck, Green-winged Teal, Cinnamon Teal, Northern Shoveler, Mallard, Northern Pintail, Gadwall, American Wigeon, Lesser Scaup, Surf Scoter, Red-breasted Merganser, Turkey Vulture, Osprey, White-tailed Kite, Northern Harrier, Cooper’s Hawk, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Red-shouldered Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, American Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon, California Quail, Ridgeway’s Rail, Virginia Rail, Sora, Common Gallinule, American Coot, Black-bellied Plover, Killdeer, Black Oystercatcher, Black-necked Stilt, American Avocet, Greater Yellowlegs, Willet, Spotted Sandpiper, Long-billed Curlew, Marbled Godwit, Least Sandpiper, Long-billed Dowitcher, Parasitic Jaeger, Heermann’s Gull, Ring-billed Gull, California Gull, Herring Gull, Western Gull, Glacous-winged Gull, Elegant Tern, Forester’s Tern, Common Murre, Pigeon Guillemot, Mourning Dove, Band-tailed Pigeon, Barn Owl, Great Horned Owl, Vaux’s Swift, Anna’s Hummingbird, Belted Kingfisher, Acorn Woodpecker, Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Pileated Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Pacific Slope Flycatcher, Black Phoebe, Say’s Phoebe, Barn Swallow, Steller’s Jay, California Scrub-Jay, American Crow, Common Raven, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Oak Titmouse, Bushtit, White-breasted Nuthatch, Pygmy Nuthatch, Brown Creeper, Rock Wren, Bewick’s Wren, Pacific Wren, Marsh Wren, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Western Bluebird, Swainson’s Thrush, American Robin, Wrentit, Northern Mockingbird, Hutton’s Vireo, Warbling Vireo, Yellow Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Black-throated Gray Warbler, Townsend’s Warbler, Palm Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Spotted Towhee, California Towhee, Savannah Sparrow, Fox Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Golden-crowned Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, Red-winged Blackbird, Tricolored Blackbird, Brewer’s Blackbird, Great-tailed Grackle, Brown-headed Cowbird, House Finch, Lesser Goldfinch, American Goldfinch, Mute Swan, Wild Turkey, Rock Pigeon, Eurasian Collard-Dove, European Starling, House Sparrow


Stripped Skunk, Coyote, Raccoon, Mule Deer, Humpback Whale, Harbor Seal, Sonoma Chipmunk, River Otter, Grey Fox


Monarch, Western Tiger-Swallowtail, Green Darner, Black Saddlebags, Vivid Dancer


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It was late summer of 2000 when I received a phone call from Ellen Blustein. I knew Ellen from birding on the hawkwatching team she led for the Golden Gate Raptor Observatory, from helping on her South San Rafael Christmas Bird Count, and other shared bird walks over the years. The reason for this particular phone call was that earlier that year, Leica Sports Optik made a contribution to, then, PRBO to sponsor the creation of a youth bird-a-thon team. Rich Stallcup and Ellen had agreed to organize and lead the team that fall. Going off our birding history together, Ellen wanted to know if I might be interested in being one of the youths. Of course I was delighted to be invited and said yes right away. Ellen also asked if my brother, Joshua Haiman, and two close friends, Christopher Berner and Frazer Meacham, who were also serious young birders, would join the team as well. All agreed, and the youth bird-a-thon team had its founding members.

In late September of 2000, the six of us met, with my mom, Ann Kositsky, along as the responsible adult for the teens, and piled into a rented van for the first Leica/PRBO Youth Bird-a-thon. We had an amazing day with beautiful weather, terrific companions, a disturbing amount of food (remember that there were four teenage boys in that van), and a total of 157 species seen. Some of the highlights that I still remember included hearing Spotted and Saw-whet Owls at the Bear Valley Visitor Center, finding a Black Rail in the marshes of Pine Gulch, seeing my first Pomarine Jaeger off Stinson Beach, and finding a Chestnut-sided Warbler and a Yellow-headed Blackbird while stopping at the Outer Point. That first youth bird-a-thon was such a great success that almost every year since, in late September or early October, the youth team has continued to meet. The only year we did not take to the field was 2012 when Rich’s health was declining.

Sanderling, adult winter (John C. Avise)

A Sanderling in basic plumage (Photo by John C. Avise)

Over the last 15+ years, we have gone through a few name changes as sponsors have come and gone and PRBO became PRBO Conservation Science and now Point Blue Conservation Science. A few years in, we settled on ‘The Drake’s Beach Sanderlings’ for our official team name and it has really stuck. Our membership has also changed as new, passionate young birders have joined our team and our older members have dispersed to colleges, other bird-a-thon teams, and other pursuits. We have had over 30 youth members and all are still passionate about the natural world. Many have gone on to pursue careers in biology in one form or another. Our total species counts for our bird-a-thon have ranged from 132 to 170 species including lifers for all our members.

One of the features that I have been struck by, as our members and former members have moved out into the world, is the diverse paths that this set of young people are taking. From psychology to computer programing, the people who have participated in the youth bird-a-thon are spreading across the globe. But all share a love and passion for birds, nature, and wildness. This is the passion that the youth bird-a-thon aims at fostering, and they are carrying this passion out into the world with them. As one of the founding youth members of the Youth Bird-a-thon team in 2000, and having been a participant almost every year since, I have witnessed this amazing process first hand. Every year it has been a special honor to participate. Being able to spend a day birding at the side of birders such as Ellen Bluestein and Rich Stallcup guaranteed that I would gain knowledge; and wisdom as well. With wonderful birds to see, special parts of Marin County to explore, and terrific team members to share and learn with, the PBCS Youth Bird-a-thon is one of the highlights of my year. I am very excited to now be co-leading the team and experiencing the bird-a-thon in a whole new way.


Wrentit (2015 Bird-a-thon logo)

Year after year, the youth members, from the age of 5 years old and up, have shown that ‘adulthood’ is not a required component for serious birding, and also that kids can play an important and significant role in birding culture and conservation as a whole. Hard work, energy, and enthusiasm have earned these kids the respect of their peers, and each stands as a reminder of what young people can accomplish when given the opportunity. By making a donation in support of the Drake’s Beach Sanderlings, or any other youth team, you are supporting the next generation of birders and conservationists; you are supporting the future of birding. So, this year, I hope you decide to do just that.

To donate and support the Drake’s Beach Sanderlings, follow this link, and click on the ‘Donate’ button on the right side of the page.

See you in the field!

Aaron N.K. Haiman



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Dear Friends,


Wrentit (2015 PBCS Bird-a-thon mascot)

Over fifteen years ago, I was one of the founding youth members of a youth bird-a-thon team. The team was organized and lead by birding greats Rich Stallcup and Ellen Blustein as the first youth team for what was then, the Point Reyes Bird Observatory and what is now Point Blue Conservation Science (PBCS). It was an amazing experience, and has turned into a recurring amazing experience every year since. We are now preparing for the youth bird-a-thon, again, and this year is looking like another spectacular one.

Over the past 15+ years, this team has taken to the field alongside so many amazing birds as they get restless and begin to move on their fall migration. For the birds, fall migration has been happening almost exactly the same way for millions of years, and it is still a feat that boggles the human imagination. For our bird-a-thon team, the Drake’s Beach Sanderlings, fall migration has come to include this exhilarating day to witnesses the birds as they move through central California.

Each year many bird-a-thon teams ready themselves for the fall. These teams pick a day in mid-fall and go in search of the avian wanderers as they pass by; keeping tallies of who stops to visit. On September 24th 2016, the Drake’s Beach Sanderlings will be doing just that, and we are lining up another great group of youths (in age and spirit) to find all those birds!

As in past years, this is not only an opportunity to see beautiful birds, learn as much about migration patterns and identification as possible, and spend time in great company. It is also a time to give. The PBCS is a recognized leader in conservation of avian biodiversity, the ecosystems that they, and we, depend upon, and climate change science. To continue to be such an influential leader requires money. It takes money to keep the banding stations running as they monitor avian population trends. It takes money to assess the loss of habitat that urban development causes. It takes money to set aside critical habitat and so insure that future fall migrations will continue this millions-of-years tradition. Funding is often hard to come by, and so we ask you, birders, environmentalists, friends, to become sponsors of our team and PBCS. Now, don’t think we won’t work for those donations. You can pledge a fixed sum, or you can tell us that you will give a small amount for every species we see. That way we will have a large incentive indeed to try our hardest to find every last species we can. In the past we have seen around 150 species, so a pledge of $0.20 per species will mean a total donation of around $30. Any amount that you can give will be valuable and tremendously appreciated, and donating is easy. Just go to: http://birdathon.kintera.org/faf/search/searchTeamPart.asp?ievent=1164352&lis=0&kntae1164352=3E274B2B05C54EDE984F8053552EF68D&team=6822398

and click on the ‘Donate Now’ button on the right side of the page. In this time of epic drought in California, the conservation of habitat and bird populations is all the more challenging and critical. Your donation will aid the cause of bird conservation throughout the western hemisphere, and you will join a long tradition of helping to inspire the birding leaders of tomorrow!

Thank you for your support,

The members of the Drake’s Beach Sanderlings

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Wrentit (the 2015 Bird-a-thon mascot)

Dear Friends,

For over 15 years, The Drake’s Beach Sanderlings have participated in the Point Blue Conservation Science Rich Stallcup Bird-a-thon, and in so doing provided dozens of young birders the opportunity learn about birds, bird conservation, and ecosystem stewardship.

Planning for the 2016 Rich Stallcup Bird-a-thon is underway now and your help is needed for this event’s continued success! Sponsor support has provided thousands of dollars towards environmental stewardship and conservation of the ecosystems on which we all depend. Further, your support of the Drake’s Beach Sanderlings encourages young people to go out and engage with birds, the birding community, and the natural world as a whole.

We can meet the challenges that the future is presenting, but it will only be possible with the generous contributions of our sponsors.

The Drake’s Beach Sanderlings take pride in their tradition of providing education and stewardship for young and old. Participants learn how to protect the environment and the avian creatures we love so much. We also visit a wide range of locations and habitats and so gain a better understanding of the range of biodiversity that exists in Marin County.

PBCS logoThe Drake’s Beach Sanderlings was the first youth bird-a-thon team supported by Point Blue Conservation Science. Over the years, the extraordinary efforts conducted by members of this team have helped to foster a deep seated passion for wildlife and conservation in young people. These young people have then carried that passion and knowledge into the world with them as they have expanded and spread to a wide range of endeavors.

I am excited to report that in the 2015 Bird-a-thon, the Drake’s Beach Sanderlings:

  • Birded for over 14 hours, beginning at 5:30am.
  • Covered over 100 miles, zig-zagging across Marin County.
  • Saw a total of 142 species of bird.

As we prepare for the 2016 Drake’s Beach Sanderlings Bird-a-thon, we know the time and support of our team members is priceless, but the financial support from you and others like you is what makes it possible for the bird-a-thon and Point Blue to grow and improve year after year.

So stand out as a leader! Donate $15.00 or whatever you can as a sponsor of the Drake’s Beach Sanderlings. Your support provides opportunities for young and old to demonstrate environmental stewardship, experience the rewards of connecting with their environment, and make a real difference in their communities and the world. And donating is easy! Just go to our team website: http://birdathon.kintera.org/faf/search/searchTeamPart.asp?ievent=1164352&lis=0&kntae1164352=3E274B2B05C54EDE984F8053552EF68D&team=6822398 and click on the “Donate” button.

We very much appreciate your support. If you have any questions about The Drake’s Beach Sanderlings, the Rich Stallcup Bird-a-thon, or our any other aspect of this event please e-mail or call me at aaron.haiman@deltaconservancy.ca.gov or 510-289-7239.


Aaron N.K. Haiman

Drake’s Beach Sanderlings Team Co-Leader




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