Pasadena Audubon’s First Bird walk

Pasadena Audubon (PAS) was founded as a reaction to the wholesale slaughtering of birds by hunters. Conservation of bird-life and interesting children in bird studies was the focus. Meetings, usually in someone’s home, consisted of a lecture or study about a particular bird together with refreshments and music.

The modern concept of birding was not part of the picture. In fact, although founded in 1904, PAS did not even have a meeting outdoors until April 17, 1909. This occurred in the Arroyo Seco. 22 bird species were seen, the most notable of which was the russet-backed (Swainson’s) thrush.

With the development in the early 20th century of binoculars suitable for birding, and of appropriate pocketable guidebooks, birding as a pleasurable pursuit became possible.

On May 26, 1911, PAS had its first actual bird-walk –7 years after it was founded. PAS member Mrs. H. W. Myers invited all interested to join her in a bird “ramble” (i.e. a walk taken for pleasure). 35 people went on this trip. No record of where this took place or of birds found is known to exist, possibly due to the loss of PAS records in the 1993 Eaton Canyon fire. However, we have Laura B. Daniels, PAS member and Curator of the Pasadena Historical Society, to thank for what information we have. In 1938 she made a summary of the first 25 years of PAS which she read to the Society on August 25, 1938. Also thanks to the estate of the late Don Rogers for saving this summary for us.