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, October 20, 2014 6:30 p.m.
Chico Creek Nature Center
NorCal Naturalist Journal and Calendar
Presented by SCOTT HUBER, Altacal Past President

Scott Huber began journaling in 1979 while on a three month trek in New Zealand. Since that time he has kept a field journal of almost every major adventure he has undertaken. With the introduction of computer based blogging Scott began journaling electronically, beginning with a three week bird-watching trip to Nome Alaska in 2008. While working at the Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserves from 2011 through 2014, Scott used Facebook to record his observations. Through the years Scott has found that a paper field journal enables him to take quick notes on what he’s seen, allowing him to expand those notes into longer-form recollections and stories upon returning home.

Scott’s publication: The NorCal Naturalist Journal and Calendar was based in part on the holy grail of desk calendars – the Sierra Club Engagement Calendar. Scott’s mother asked for and received a Sierra Club Desk Calendar each Christmas for many years and religiously wrote in it each day, and those journals now serve as a documentary of her golden years. With that in mind he decided to customize the desk calendar format specifically to northern California. The journal is designed to fit in a back pocket, enabling a user to easily take it into the field if desired or keep it on a desk to use as a day-planner. Every right hand page features a seven day calendar page which is dated without days-of-the-week, so that it can be used over multiple years. Scott’s personal field notes from many seasons of nature observation were expanded into one-page essays then condensed into forty-eight short stories opposite the calendar pages. Interspersed among the calendars and stories are twenty-four photos taken throughout the region by Scott and his son, Liam. Subject matter of the stories and photos include birds, flowers, reptiles, amphibians, fish and more. The publication  will be available in limited quantities in local bookstores in time for the holidays. Our October presentation will include the reading of essays from The NorCal Naturalist Journal and Calendar as well as a photo slide-show accompanied by the stories behind many of the photos. Signed copies of the journal will be available to purchase at the end of the meeting.

Monday, November 17, 2014 6:30 p.m.
Chico Creek Nature Center
of Northern California
Presented by LARRY JORDAN

Larry Jordan, Wintu Audubon Society webmaster, will be sharing his experience with local cavity nesting birds of the northstate. Larry was introduced to birding after moving to northern California where he was overwhelmed by the local wildlife, forcing him to buy his first field guide just to be able to identify all the species visiting his yard. Building birdhouses and putting up feeders brought the ever increasing diversity of avian fauna even closer and he was hooked. Being the Shasta County Coordinator for the California Bluebird Recovery Program he monitors three Bluebird Trails with over 30 nest boxes for cavity nesting birds. Using photography and video imagery we will peek into the nesting behavior of these amazing bird species and learn how to make our backyards bird magnets.

Larry enjoys sharing his passion for birds and conservation through his blog, “The Birder’s Report” which he started in September of 2007. He is also the West Coast Beat Writer for the popular 10000 Birds blog. As habitat manager for the Burrowing Owl Conservation Network his recent focus has been on bringing the Western Burrowing Owl back to life in California. Larry is now co-founder of a movement to create a new revenue stream for our National Wildlife Refuges with the Wildlife Conservation Stamp Project.

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.

October 5, Sunday
Trip Leader: Matt Forster

We will be joining John Sterling and Todd Easterla, once again, out of Monterey to try our luck on a Monterey Seabird Trip. Our last trip on August 24 turned up some amazing birds, including 5 species of Shearwater, Pomarine and Parisitic Jaegers, Red-necked and Red Phalarope, Black-footed Albatross and many other great birds that you will only be able to see miles off the coast. Orcas, whales and dolphins will also be searched for! We had the opportunity to successfully help out a fur seal who had been entangled in a fishing net on the last trip! I’m sure there will be other exciting sites and sounds this time around, as well! (see full report on page 8 of the October / November newsletter).

They have far-and-away the best boat captain in the region, Richard Ternullo; an amazing naturalist with a degree in biology and several decades of experience in Monterey Bay. His knack for getting the boat aligned in the water to allow the best looks at birds and marine mammals is legendary. All trips feature excellent, knowledgeable, highly-experienced and friendly leaders. Read about their trip leaders at

We will be driving down on Saturday and will be camping so make sure to bring appropriate attire and gear. We will be returning Sunday, after the trip is completed. The price is $130 per person and goes from 7:30am -3pm. This trip is limited occupancy, so if interested, please contact immediately. Matt Forster,, 619-347-2269

October 26, Sunday
Trip Leader: Matt Forster

We will get a personal and upclose view of the winter waterfowl migration at the Oxidation Ponds Wildlife Sanctuary at the Waste Water Treatment Plant, west of Chico. We’ll have a first had look at the returning birds from Alaska and Canada, Northern Pintail, Mallard, Cinnamon Teal, Green-winged and Blue-winged Teal and possibly some unexpected migrants. The walk is under 2 miles and about 3 hours. For shorter, you can walk out to the viewing blind. The walk is flat and pretty easy going.

Meet at the Oxidation Pond parking area at 3 pm. Afternoon keeps the sun at our back. We should be back to the lot by 6 pm. To get to the Oxidation Ponds, go west on W 5th St from Hwy 32 in Chico. Follow W 5th St, which becomes Chico River Rd, for 3.9 miles. The wildlife viewing parking area is 300 yards past the main entrance to the water treatment plant, on the left. Bring binoculars, spotting scopes, water, walking shoes and proper clothing for the expected weather conditions. There is a chemical toilet on the way out to the viewing area. Rain cancels. Matthew Forster,

November 15, Saturday
Trip Leaders: Gaylord Grams & Kathy Trevino

Join Altacal for a walking tour at Gray Lodge. We will walk the two-mile trail that includes the bird blinds after scoping the pond by parking lot #14. Fall migration should be well underway. We will meet at the Chico Park & Ride (lot closest to freeway) at 8 am sharp, carpool from there, and return by 3 pm. If you would prefer, meet us at Gray Lodge (parking lot #14) at 9 am. Bring a lunch, water, $4 per person entry fee, binoculars, and a scope if you have one. For more information contact Kathy Trevino at or 530-520-2872, or Gaylord Grams at 530-533-1624.

November 16, Sunday
Trip Leaders: Matt Forster and Mary Muchowski

Join us in our search for Raptors in Butte County! We will be traveling by car to Cottonwood Rd and Nelson Ave to view the returning hawks, eagles, falcons, and owls. Cottonwood Road boasts one of the best landscapes in Northern California for raptors. Ferruginous and Rough-legged Hawks are regular visitors and Peregrine and Prairie Falcons can be seen perched on the surrounding power poles. While viewing a soaring Golden Eagle last year, I was pleasantly surprised by a beautiful Mountain Bluebird that flew within 20 feet of my car! Breathtaking! We will then travel to Richvale and check out the fields for Swans, Geese, and Ducks! Maybe we’ll get lucky and be able to find Trumpeter Swans, that infrequently visit us! Bring binoculars, spotting scopes, water, walking shoes and proper clothing for the expected weather conditions. Light rain will not cancel. We will meet at the first parking area at the Chico Park & Ride at 8 am. The trip will be 5-6 hours, so plan accordingly! Matthew Forster,, 619-347-2269.

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.

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

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 bird identification

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