Founded in 1904

Affiliated with the National Audubon Society

Our Mission: To bring the excitement of birds to our community through birding, education and the conservation of bird habitats

Birding 101 - July 2017


Sponsored by Pasadena Audubon Society and Eaton Canyon Nature Center

Birrding provides enjoyment and challenge throughout life. Birding gets you outdoors in your neighborhood or around the world. Birding increases your ability to observe and appreciate the world around you. And finally, Birding is just gosh darn fun! So, why would you put off learning how to be a better birder any longer?

This class is designed for beginners, but all are welcome. We will cover the basics of identification (sight, sound, behavior), optics, field guides, note-taking, habitats, birding ethics, and many other topics. Or goals are to help class participants become familiar with local birds and to be comfortable on birding field trips. Class size is limited, so don’t delay!

Classroom sessions: Wednesdays July 12, 19, and 26, 2017 beginning at 7:00pm.

Field trips: Saturdays July 15 and 22, 2017 from early morning to early afternoon.

Participants should plan on attending all classes and field trips. Location of the class and field trips will be sent to the class participants.

Cost: $50 for Pasadena Audubon members, $70 for non-members (which will include membership in Pasadena Audubon Society). This fee will cover all three classes and two field trips. Payment is payable to "Pasadena Audubon Society" and is due at the first class session (there are scholarships available for young birders).

For questions or to make reservations, contact leaders

Ron Cyger and Mark Scheel at Birding101@pasadenaaudubon.org.

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Dana Point Pelagic Trip- WAITLIST ONLY


Saturday, September 16, 2017


Price $65.00 (Online price is $67.00 to cover transaction costs).

We are excited to announce our first eight­-hour dedicated pelagic trip! We will depart from Dana Point on the speedy Ocean Explorer and spend most our time at sea in Los Angeles County waters. This longer trip will help us connect with species that are harder to see from just your average whale watch, and chartering the boat will allow us focus specifically on the birds. PAS will be providing expert pelagic tour leaders (Kimball Garrett and Jon Feenstra) for this trip to help pick out interesting species. Birds that might be encountered include a variety of shearwaters, jaegers, phalaropes, alcids, gulls and terns. One of our main targets will be the rafts of storm­-petrels that gather offshore in September, which may include both Black and Least. Uncommon and rare species discovered on similarly timed trips have included: Manx and Flesh­-footed Shearwater, Arctic Tern, Red­-footed and Blue­-footed Booby and Craveri’s Murrelet, among others.

*Please note: All tickets for this trip are now completely sold out. If you would like to be put onto a standby list for this event, please send an email to Kym Buzdygon at Kym.buzdygon@pasadenaaudubon.org Thanks to everyone for such an enthusiastic response, we hope to have more events like this in the future.*

Leader: Luke Tiller

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Birdathon Results


Several teams were out and about on Birdathon weekend, April 28 to 30, attempting to find as many species as possible in order to raise funds for Pasadena Audubon's grants and programs. Here are the results:

The Big Sit - 64 Species
About 20 PAS members converged on Legg Lakes in the Whittier Narrows Recreation Area for the April 29 Big Sit. Trip leaders Mark Hunter and Kat Degner were blessed with nice weather, good company, and over­ the­ top nesting activity. They got most of the way to their eventual 64 species before breaking for lunch, with delicious drinks and desserts, and cool raffle prizes, supplied by PAS. Some non­-sitting activity, walking around the lakes, got them the rest of the way to 64.

Team Audu-Bonn - 74 Species
Team Early Bird morphed into Team Audu­Bonn! The Bonn boys, Calvin, age 11, and his dad, Dan Bonn “got up way too early again this year” (those are dad’s words) and launched head first into their second Birdathon. The most notable birds were an adult Peregrine Falcon and a group of four Wandering Tattlers ­ in breeding plumage!

Team Verdin - 145 Species
Dessi Sieburth, the 2015 ABA Young Birder of the Year and member of the Pasadena Audubon Society Young Birder’s Club, finished his Big Photo Day on April 29th with a new record! Dessi and his Team Verdin photographed as many species of birds as possible in Los Angeles County during daylight hours. This year’s Birdathon was Dessi’s fourth Big Photo Day.

Irritable Owl Syndrome -199 Species
On April 30th, team "Irritable Owl Syndrome" covered the vast oceans, damp marshes, grassy parks, majestic mountains, windy deserts, and urban streets of Los Angeles County on a 21-hour birdathon. Their mission: to identify (by sight or sound) as many species of birds as possible in a single day, in Los Angeles County. Darren Dowell, Janet and Mark Scheel ended with 198 ABA species, plus 1 non-ABA birds (Egyptian Goose), for a total of 199 species.

Team Kernville or Bust! - 30 Species
The day was perfect for birding weather-Wise, but the birds were not to be found! Butterbredt spring is usually buzzing with dozens of species. Today it was way too quiet. Only 6 species were observed. Moving on down Kelso Valley Rd., And usual Stops (Kern River Sanctuary, Frog spring) did not reveal any new species!! In Kern Valley most of the usual hot spots are now closed due flooding (great for watershed), Not so good for birding). It was oddly Quiet and empty in Kernville environs. But the lake was very full..!! In the end, only 30 species were observed So Kernville really was a Bust for BIRDATHONing, But that's nature for you! They were likely just resting on This day!

If you want to make a contribution to one of the teams:

  • You can donate online:

    Name of Team/Birder

  • Or click here to download the donation form

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    T-Shirts, Books and Hats


    Pasadena Audubon is happy to announce the winning design from our recent T-Shirt contest. You can purchase the new shirts online, but you will need to pick up your purchase at one of the General Meetings. (3rd Wednesday of each month except June, July, and August)

    If you have any questions please email Kym Buzdygon kym.buzdygon@pasadenaaudubon.org or Deni Sinnott deni.sinnott@pasadenaaudubon.org for more details.

    See Pasadena Birding Guide for more information about the Birds of Pasadena Book.

    Pick up @ General Meetings

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    Christmas Bird Count 2016


    Pasadena / San Gabriel Valley Christmas Bird Count Turns 70

    After a lengthy anticipation, it’s hard to believe that another Christmas Bird Count has come and gone. We’ve now seen the completion of a remarkable seventh decade for the Pasadena CBC. That substantial period of time has generated a great deal of useful data, many good rare birds, and resulted in countless hours in the field. It’s also been a lot of fun for the many participants over the years.

    For an inland count, the Pasadena-San Gabriel Valley does quite well, consistently turning in a species count well into the 160s. This year it was no surprise that we broke the 160 barrier, although not by much (162). Even the Los Angeles CBC, which includes coastal habitats that we lack, doesn’t exceed us by too much.

    The count is traditionally held on the first Saturday of the count period and we’re stuck with whatever weather we get on count day. Even the worst case for the San Gabriel Valley isn’t bad compared to much of the country, but this year we were fortunate. We missed the rain by a day or so and temperatures were pleasantly cool but not cold.

    We know that development and urbanization has had a negative impact on many native species, but in some ways it’s also had a positive one. Ornamental and other non-native plantings have attracted rare wintering flycatchers, warblers and orioles over the years and this count was no exception.

    Irruptive species such Varied Thrushes, Pine Siskins, Red-breasted Nuthatches and Lewis’s Woodpeckers were essentially absent on the 2016 count. Numbers of American Robins were also notably low.

    Waterfowl highlights included a Snow Goose at Lincoln Park and a Cackling Goose, a Ross’s Goose and a Greater White-fronted Goose at Legg Lake. Single Common Goldeneyes- rather rare on the count— were at Peck Road Water Conservation Park in Arcadia and along the San Gabriel River.

    In addition to our usual Ring-billed, California and Western Gulls, both Thayer’s Gulls and Herring Gulls were found along the San Gabriel River on count day. Also of note was a Mew Gull at Legg Lake.

    An early morning start at Legg Lake produced a Least Bittern. This species is regular there, but generally difficult to locate by sight or sound after sunrise.

    Allen’s Hummingbirds were unknown historically on the Pasadena CBC, but in recent decades have expanded inland and are now common in the lowlands throughout the year. As usual, many were recorded on this year’s count.

    During a spell of warm weather just prior to count day, a Common Poorwill was recorded on the Mt. Wilson Toll Road within the count week period.

    Owling efforts tallied a small number of Western Screech-Owls and Great Horned Owls. The real prize however was a Northern Saw- Whet Owl in Big Santa Anita Canyon. They are probably present in the circle every winter, but it requires determination and a bit of luck to find them.

    The release of non-native species both here and elsewhere has resulted in well-established local populations. A variety of parrots and parakeets thrive today in the San Gabriel Valley and environs. Whichever camp you’re in as far as the desirability of these introduced birds, they appear to be here to stay... and of course we count all of them. We recorded five species of parrots and parakeets this year. Red-crowned Parrot, Yellow-chevroned Parakeet, White-winged Parakeet, Mitred Parakeet and Blue-crowned Parakeet.

    Fairly common as a spring migrant but rare in winter was a Hammond's Flycatcher at the Huntington Gardens in San Marino.

    Moist foothill canyons with tangled undergrowth are great places to look for Pacific Wrens, yet they are scarce and often missed on the count. This year we were fortunate that one turned up in Monrovia Canyon.

    The continuing Black-and-white Warbler was present at Legg Lake on count day. In a departure from most recent counts, this was the only unusual warbler recorded.

    Sparrows of interest included a Vesper Sparrow at Santa Fe Dam, a White-throated Sparrow at Legg Lake and a rare for us "Red" Fox Sparrow at Hahamongna Watershed Park.

    All too often missed on count day was a Northern Cardinal at Whittier Narrows. One would think the bright red males at least would be hard to overlook, but when not singing they can be difficult to find.

    Wrapping things up was a pair of rare in winter Hooded Orioles and a scarce but more expected Bullock’s Oriole at the Huntington Gardens in San Marino. These birds are generally attracted to the various flowering plants found at the north end of the desert garden.

    It was another rewarding count, though we were a few species below the recent average. Each year we miss a few expected birds, but this year the misses were few. Mountain Quail, Pine Siskin and Wilson’s Warbler were about it.

    For now there’s a great bird year to enjoy before the next count, with spring migration for some species already underway. At our latitude migration is nearly a year round phenomenon. One intriguing aspect of this is that it’s hard to predict what changes we’ll see throughout the year and of course by next December, but that is part of
    the fun of birding and the CBC.

    Thank you to all who participated and helped make it such a success. I hope to see everyone back for the 2017 count as well as a few new faces.

    (Article written by Jon Fisher)

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    Peck Road Water Conservation Park


    Peck Road Water Conservation Park
    Sunday, April 2nd
    8 AM - 12 PM

    The heavy rains this winter have been great for the drought, but not so great for one of our favorite birding spot at Peck Road Water Conservation Park. A lot of trash has washed down and needs to be removed to make the area safer and healthier for birds and other wildlife. We'll start with a bird walk at 8 AM and finish with a pizza lunch. Gloves and tools provided. Bring a friend! Please email Kym (kym.buzdygon@pasadenaaudubon.org) to sign up.

    *Note: We are still working on getting approval for volunteers under the age of 18 to join us- let Kym know if you want to be updated on this.*

    (posted for Kym Buzdygon)

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    Rubio Canyon Surveys


    Volunteers from the Pasadena Audubon Society conducted a series of approximately weekly bird surveys on the Rubio Canyon property acquired by the Arroyos & Foothills Conservancy (AFC) from April 7 to June 26, 2016. The purpose of the surveys was to determine species using the property, define breeding birds vs. migrants, determine diversity of species and check for use by any Special Status species. The surveys were coordinated by Lance Benner and Kym Buzdygon (Pasadena Audubon).

    85 different species were found. Common birds like Mourning Dove, Anna’s Hummingbird, California Scrub-jay, Common Raven, Wrentit, California Thrasher, Northern Mockingbird, California Towhee, and Spotted Towhee were found on all surveys. Unusual species include Swainson's Hawk, Peregrine Falcon, Mountain Quail, Hairy Woodpecker, Steller's Jay, Violet-Green Swallow, Olive-sided Flycatcher, and Cedar Waxwing.

    Download report here

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    Polystyrene Ban Update-Victory!


    Brders! We did it! May 9, the Pasadena City Council voted unanimously to ban polystyrene takeout containers, cups, and single-use ice chests. Hip hip hooray!

    Got to Conservation for more.

    Thank you for all you do!

    Good birding,

    Posted for Laura Garret

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