Altacal Audubon Society

A California Chapter of the National Audubon Society

Mission: To promote the awareness, appreciation, and protection of native birds and their habitats through education, research, and environmental activities.

Help Wanted!

In all our areas of interest (e.g., Field Trips, Education, Conservation, etc.) we are trying to get things done more efficiently and effectively by asking members to contribute in any way they can by contacting a Committee Chairperson or other Board member and offering to help in some area of interest.  There's no need to sign on for a particular position or office and you can be sure you'd be appreciated.

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED - 15th Annual SNOW GOOSE FESTIVAL of the Pacific Flyway, January 21 - 25, 2015

Altacal Audbon Society plays a huge role in organizing and hosting this wonderful community event. The Altacal board and several members are involved at all levels. Making a difference in our community is what we all strive to do. We are hoping for an even more successful event this year! If you are interested in volunteering please call Jennifer Patten for further information at 345-9356 or

Hobbyist Survey

Dr. Gail Jones from North Carolina University invites Altacal members (and others) to take a Hobbyist Survey at

What is the purpose of this study?
The purpose of this letter is to invite you to participate in a research study “Science Hobbyists” designed to investigate characteristics and educational experiences of people who are active in science hobbies. More and more people are engaging in science hobbies and schools and science centers would like to know more about characteristics of science hobbyists and how organizations might better support hobbyists’ networking and education.  Hobbyists can be a wonderful asset to communities and support for science across the county.

Support us by becoming a member: Membership Application (PDF)

Saw-whet Olw Adoption

Northern Saw-whet Owl project and ADOPT AN OWL!

Altacal Audubon Society is proudly sponsoring Dawn Garcia and her banding crew as they continue researching the migration ecology of the Northern Saw-whet Owl (ageolius acadicus).  Their project was the recent focus of the Greenways Column in the Chico News and Review, (

Dawn also recently launched an "Adopt an Owl" program that will help support the long-term monitoring of the owl. Check out her blog at, to learn more about the owl project and how to ADOPT AN OWL! The package includes a owl certificate, project brochure, and letter of thanks for your tax free donation.

Upcoming Programs

Monday, December 8, 2014 6:30 p.m.
Chico Creek Nature Center
Member's Slide Show

December is a special month and we will celebrate it at the Altacal Program by inviting members and friends to share some photos they have taken over the past year. Our annual Members’ Slide Show is a favorite program for many. There are always some great new, and sometimes old, pictures to see and tales of how they were gotten, to hear. Join in and bring a few of your own photos of birds/wildlife/nature (on disk or memory stick). We will have plenty of time for all who want to participate. Also at this program we will hear about plans for the annual Chico and Oroville Christmas Bird Counts taking place over the following two weekends. Call or email Jennifer Patten, 530 345-9356 ( so we know ahead of time how many will be showing photos.

Wednesday - Sunday, January 21-25, 2015
Annual Snow Goose Festival
of the Pacific Flyway, Wednesday-Sunday,
January 21-25, 2015

Altacal Audubon is having their biggest program of the year! All sorts of wonders are in store for birders and outdoor enthusiasts of all skills and ages at the 16th Annual Snow Goose Festival of the Pacific Flyway, Wednesday-Sunday, January 21-25, 2015.

There are things to do, take a hike, stroll along a river and see a White-tailed Kite. Learn a duck call, view a swan, and hear the cranes calling on and on. Snow Geese Galore, people don’t get bored, when you see thousands take off and soar! Eagles, Hawks, Falcons, and Owls, raptors are what they’re called. With over 60 field trips, workshops and presentation, free family activities, exhibits, vendors, and the amazing Pacific Flyway Art Exhibit at Avenue 9 Gallery, the festival is a great opportunity to spend the day or all five-days learning about the natural wonders of the Pacific  Flyway and its inhabitants.

Our featured speaker at this year’s “Gathering of Wings” Banquet & Silent Auction on Saturday night, will be SCOTT WEIDENSAUL renowned naturalist and author. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for his book “Living on the Wind: Across the Hemisphere With Migratory Birds”, Scott will
explore the wonder and mechanics of bird migration and share his research, experiences, insights and the simple, effective ways we can preserve our feathered friends.

Registration begins in early December. For early notification of our exciting field trip and workshop schedule, be sure you are on our email list and “like” us on Facebook as that is a great source for instant Festival information and updates.
Snow Goose Festival, P. O. Box 1063
Chico, CA 95927

Upcoming Bird Walks and Birding Trips

All of our field trips are open to beginning birders.  Anyone with a sense of wonder is welcome to participate.

November 30, Sunday
Trip Leader: Jennifer Patten

Give your legs a rest and your eyes a treat on this leisurely afternoon at Llano Seco Viewing Platform. Bring your lawn chair, binoculars, and snacks, sit back and relax as the birds come to you. You’ll learn to identify the waterfowl species that frequent this idyllic setting. Then at dusk the waterfowl will fly-out from the ponds to nearby fields to feed at night. As the sky fills with birds, their wing beats and calls are incredible. Meet at Llano Seco Viewing Platform at 4pm. Limited parking, limited to 20 people. To reserve your spot contact trip leader Jennifer Patten,, 530-345-9356 by November 24.

December 14, Sunday
Trip Leader: Matt Forster

The Feather River Parkway is the wintering grounds of many waterfowl and gulls. We will walk the pathway in search of Common and Barrow’s Goldeneye, Bufflehead, and the occasional rarity. During last years Oroville Christmas Bird Count a female Long-tailed Duck was seen flying down stream! The shallow water also attracts many different types of gulls. Gulls are very hard to distinguish between due to the fact that they have different plumage cycles due specifically to the age of the gull. We will spend time talking about how to distinguish the difference between California, Herring, Ring-billed, Thayer, and Mew Gulls. Anywhere with a concentration of gulls, you should always look for an “out of place” gull that may have drifted in from the coast due to heavy weather. We will also travel down to the Diversion Dam to view a possible wintering Osprey and Hooded Merganser. Rufous-crowned Sparrow and Phainopepla have also been seen during the winter period. Meet at Chico Park & Ride (lot nearest Hwy 99/32) at 9 am. Please bring water, lunch, and binoculars. Matt Forster,, 619-347-2269

January 11, Sunday
Leaders: Matt Forster and Mary Muchowski

We will meet at the parking lot of Llano Seco and view waterfowl aplenty from the first platform, then travel along the short walking trail to the second platform. We will be in search of waterfowl including, Green-winged, Cinnamon, and Blue-winged Teal, Canada, Cackling, Snow and Ross’s Geese, Ring-necked Duck, Bufflehead, grebes and wintering shorebirds. The Llano Seco Refuge is also a proven wintering ground to Sandhill Crane, Great Egret, and Snowy Egret. This field trip will be a leisurely adventure in preparation to the Snow Goose Festival. Please bring water, snacks, and binoculars. There is a restroom at the location. Meet at the parking lot at 9 am. Matt Forster,, 619-347-2269


This year Altacal Audubon Society will participate in the annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count. More than 50,000 observers nation-wide participate each year in this census of early-winter bird populations. The results are compiled into the longest-running database in ornithology, representing over a century of unbroken data of early-winter bird populations across America. AND IT IS FREE!

December 20, Saturday
COMPILER: Mary Muchowski
530-228-0625 or
All levels of birders are welcome. Bring warm clothes, hiking shoes, lunch, bird books and binoculars. You will be assigned an area and spend the day counting birds in this area. RSVPs encouraged!
MEET at 7:30 am Chico Creek Nature Center, 1968 East 8th Street, Chico. COMPILATION DINNER TBA

January 3, Saturday
COMPILER: Karen Scheuermann,
Cottonwood, Tehama Co, CA
530-347-1687 or
Please let Karen know if you plan to join the count

December 28, Sunday
COMPILER: Gaylord Grams
530-533-1624 or

All levels of birders are welcome. Beginners will be paired up with experienced birders. You will be assigned an area and spend the day counting birds in this area. Bring warm clothes, hiking shoes, lunch, bird books and binoculars. To do a half-day, contact Gaylord Grams ahead of time.
MEET at 7:30 am, Butte County Ag Commissioners Office, 316 Nelson Ave, Oroville east of Hwy 70 across from Home Depot. COMPILATION DINNER TBA

Other CBCs in California
Nature Alley -

Uncommon Birds -

Bank Swallow

Altacal Audubon Society has had an exciting opportunity to create an educational brochure to inform landowners along the Sacramento River about Bank Swallows (Riparia riparia), their nesting habitat, and incentive programs to help protect them.    Members Carolyn Short, Raina King and I were awarded a grant to create the brochure and companion website by the Fund for Wild Nature. Go to to learn more about this species population on the Sacramento River.

Image copyright 2006: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Current Newsletter

Newsletter Archives

Board of Directors

Altacal Strategic Plan (2010)

Membership Application (printable PDF)

Gift Contribution (printable PDF)

Trip Reports

National Audubon Society

Audubon California

National List of Audubon Chapters

Central Valley Bird Club

SFSU Sierra Nevada Field Campus bird identification

Neighborhood Habitat Certification Program

Local Birding Sites

Joe Morlan's California Birding

Chico Creek Nature Center

Friends of the River

Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge

Friends of Bidwell Park

Butte Environmental Council

California Wildlife Festival Calendar




eBird California

Local Blogs

North-state Naturalists

Liam Huber's banding experiences

Those Amazing Birds

Dawn Garcia's BirdBling Blog

Submission of Articles

Notices or articles submitted for publication consideration should be sent by e-mail message to the newsletter editor as Microsoft Word (if possible) attachments by the 1st of the month for the next issue of the newsletter (i.e., Jan, Mar, May, Jul, Sep and Nov 1st) - – Thanks.

Attention Libraries!

If you would like to receive the White-tailed Kite for distribution to your patrons, please email to let us know how many copies you'd like.

Altacal Audubon Society PO Box 3671 Chico, California 95927-3671