"Rapid assessment" spring bird survey of Pixley NWR
- RAPID ASSESSMENT SURVEY OF AN IMPORTANT BIRD AREA - Pixley NWR
Please join Audubon for a spring bird survey of Pixley National Wildlife
Refuge and environs (southern San Joaquin Valley) on Saturday, April 13th.
We will be meeting at the new parking lot at Pixley (recently opened to the
public) at a glorious 5:00 am, and depending on the number of participants,
will split into groups covering several areas to count birds. We will meet
up afterwards for brunch in Delano.
Call or email Dan Cooper, Audubon California, at (323) 254-0252 if you're
interested, or just show up on Saturday morning.
Directions and logistics:
Take Hwy. 99 to the "Earlimart" Exit (Ave. 56)
Head west for about five miles to County Rd. 88 (look for lone tamarisk on
Turn right, and go for about a mile to parking lot on left (just past small
bridge over Deer Ck.)
Pixley is about 2.5 hrs. north of L.A., and 4-5 hrs. from the Bay Area.
We will quickly split into groups at 5:00 am, and survey until around 10:30
when it starts getting warm.
We will meet around 11:00 for brunch in Delano (restaurant to be
There are many motels along Hwy. 99 between Visalia and Bakersfield.
WHO CAN JOIN THE SURVEY? I DON'T KNOW A CROW FROM A CATBIRD!
All are welcome. Audubon is committed to involving birders of all abilities
in meaningful activities in nature. We already have several crack birders
participating who can help others along. The more people that show up, the
more areas we can cover.
WHAT SHOULD I BRING?
Usual Christmas Bird Count gear - binoculars, a field guide, hat, water,
watch, pen, etc. Boots and long pants will be useful (lots of foxtails). It
will probably be around 55F in the morning, and could get up into the 90s by
the end of the count.
WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS?
National Audubon is undertaking an effort to identify and map a network of
"Important Bird Areas" around California to better direct conservation and
management. Over the next few months, this program will result in a book
describing the sites and an integrated conservation plan for working with
chapters, other NGOs and agencies to draw attention to the most needy sites.
One such activity would be occasional, one-day breeding bird surveys
targeted at areas whose avifauna is poorly-known, to provide a "snapshot" of
avian use at key times of year. Modeled after the summer bird count
developed by Bob Barnes at the Kern River Preserve, these have the potential
to greatly increase our knowledge of bird distribution and use of these
WHERE IS THE DATA GOING?
Currently, data from several previous IBA bird surveys is being stored at
National Audubon's Los Angeles office, among other places, and is available
to the public. It has been used by Audubon and others to comment upon
several projects, from clearing riparian vegetation in Los Angeles Flood
Control Basins to managing sagebrush in the Mono Basin.
Several months ago, I put a request out on Calbirds for some suggestions for
potential survey sites. Pixley has lots of local support (from Tulare Co.
Audubon and the Kern National Wildlife Refuge) and seemed particularly
WHAT IS PIXLEY LIKE? WILL I REALLY SEE BIRDS?
Pixley protects a remnant of the eastern shore of the historic Tulare Lake,
a massive complex of natural wetlands formerly fed by San Joaquin Valley
streams out of the southern Sierra. Today, it has been nearly eliminated by
agriculture, but a few significant reserves remain in the area, and these
continue to be expanded and enhanced. It protects grassland, saltbush scrub,
freshwater marsh and (narrow) riparian thickets. Target birds include
Swainson's Hawk, Burrowing Owl, White-faced Ibis, Yellow-breasted Chat and
maybe even Sage Sparrow? Short-eared Owl?
***Tell your non-listserving friends, and feel free to distribute this to
other listserves besides Calbirds***
Daniel S. Cooper
Director of Bird Conservation
6042 Monte Vista St.
Los Angeles, CA