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Help TNC by eBirding in California’s Central Valley

Least Sandpiper by Brian Sullivan.

The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and the California Rice Commission are working with rice farmers to provide habitat for migrating and wintering shorebirds in the Sacramento Valley in February and March 2014. This pilot program, called ‘BirdReturns’ provides farmers with incentives for maintaining flooded fields with 2”-4” of water for shorebirds. Over 40 rice farms are participating and providing nearly 10,000 acres of habitat for shorebirds. We are asking eBirders to help by providing shorebird checklists from publicly-accessible areas in the Sacramento Valley during and after this time period. eBird data from the surrounding areas can help us understand and improve the impact of habitat enhancement programs like BirdReturns.

Monterey Bay Birding Festival

Seabird Trip by Andrea Jones.

The Monterey Bay Birding Festival, September 13-16, is honored to present ‘The Big Year’ birder Greg Miller as the keynote speaker Sept. 15 at the Watsonville Civic Plaza. Greg Miller is portrayed by actor Jack Black in the new comedy movie “The Big Year” about the world of competitive birding. For full festival information: http://www.montereybaybirding.org/.

Restoring streams helps songbirds survive the winter in CA’s Central Valley

Song Sparrow photo by Tom Grey

A new study by PRBO Conservation Science (PRBO) and the National Aviary finds that restoring floodplain forests in the Central Valley of California helps songbirds survive through the winter, a finding previously substantiated only for summer nesting birds. The floodplain of California’s Central Valley is rich with streamside forests of willows, cottonwoods, oaks, and sycamores. Each summer, these forests are alive with the sounds of singing songbirds, but what may be surprising to some is that these same forests help migratory songbirds survive the winter. Birds from Alaska and Canada fly about 2,400 miles each year to winter in the forests of the Central Valley. Their survival is dependent upon having enough healthy habitats available.

Sacramento Valley Rice Farmers Flock to Save Birds

Black-necked Stilt. Photo by Stuart MacKay.

More than 165 California rice growers have signed up for an innovative program to enhance bird habitat on their land. The Sacramento Valley farmers recently enrolled in a new Natural Resources Conservation Service program, operated in conjunction with conservation groups, that offers almost $3 million in incentives to the growers to manage their properties in […]