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

Program Meetings for the general community are normally held on the third Monday of each month at 6:30 p.m., at the Chico Creek Nature Center, 1968 E. 8th St. 

In December the meeting is held on the second Monday and in
July and August there are no Program Meetings. 

  June - Pot Luck

Monday, June 16, 2014 6:30 p.m., Chico Creek Nature Center

Come join us and celebrate friendships and our common love for birds and the natural world at our annual potluck dinner, Monday, June 16, 6:30 p.m. at Chico Creek Nature Center. We’ll have a chance to visit with old friends and new ones; talk about birds and birding and share stories of recent and future adventures and travels.

It’s been another remarkable year for Altacal Audubon and this will be our last chance to get together as a group until our next program in September. Remember, there are no programs during July and August so you don’t want to miss this one. Bring a dish to share, a beverage for yourself or to share, a plate and fork, and a chair if you like.

It’s also time for nominations to the Altacal Board of Directors. Elections for a two year term will be held at our Annual Meeting in September. Please submit your nomination for President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer to one of our three Nominating Committee Board Members: Kathryn, Mike, or Kate. The slate of nominations put forward by the Nominating Committee is:
  • President - Steve Overlock Vice President - Open
  • Secretary - Open Treasurer - LeAnn McConnell
For more information contact Board Member, Steve Overlock. Thank you.

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.

June 6 - 8, Friday - Sunday
Trip Leader: Mac McCormick

This trip covers a variety of mountain habitats. We will bird the marshes and open fields at the headwaters of the Feather River, the sagebrush lowlands of the Sierra Valley, the conifer woodlands of Yuba Pass and we’ll take a short trip to the Lakes Basin area (Sand Pond Boardwalk). This trip always gives us a good variety of birds. We will meet at our campground on Friday afternoon/evening and camp out on Friday and Saturday nights. The campground will be Wild Plum Campground in Sierra City. The weather should be nice this time of year, but rain or snow could cancel this trip. For more information and to reserve a space on this trip, contact Jennifer Patten at 530-345-9356 or

June 22, Sunday
Trip leader: Matthew Forster

Enjoy a leisurely Sunday afternoon exploring Butte Meadows and Colby Meadows for mountain birds. Birds of interest will be Evening Grosbeak, Townsend’s Solitaire, Pileated Woodpecker, White-headed Woodpecker, Pacific Wren and Mountain Chickadee. There will also be a chance to see Mountain Quail and American Dipper along the way. We will meet at the Chico Park & Ride on Hwy 32 in Chico at 8 am. Please pack a lunch as we won’t be heading back to Chico until 2-3 pm.

Contact Matthew Forster: or 619-347-2269 for more information.

June 27 - 29, Friday - Sunday
Trip Leader: Steve King

We have enjoyed the birding and camping at the Lost Creek Group Campground in Lassen VNP over the years and we’ll be doing it again with the Wintu, Redbud and Redwood Region Audubon Chapters joining us. Group Camp Site #4 has been reserved for the nights of Friday, June 27 and Saturday, June 28. This year the park road should be free of snow by late June and it should be ideal for observing nesting birds. Last year we were a month later and nesting season was mostly over. People can either camp at Lost Creek or drive up for either or both Saturday and Sunday. Campers can arrive at the campsite at a time of their choosing on Friday afternoon. We will bird Manzanita Lake and vicinity on Saturday morning. The rest of the itinerary is open and will depend on the interests of the participants. Day trippers for Sunday, June 28, will meet at the camp site at 9 am. Lost Creek has primitive facilities, pit toilets and no electricity, but potable water is available. Group size is limited. If you would like to join us please contact Steve King, 530-566-6136 or

July 11-13, Friday - Sunday

Trip Leaders: Jennifer Patten, David Arsenult, Plumas Audubon

See the Flammulated Owls in their nesting territory, camp at Lake Davis and see the birds of Plumas National Forest during this weekend camping adventure. Friday we arrive, set up camp and bird. Saturday we’ll do some birding in the Plumas National Forest during the day. Then we’ll meet with David Arsenault from the Plumas Audubon Society for an early evening hike to see the Flammulated Owl. Sunday depart for home, with birding along the way. More details will become available at a later date. Participants will
be limited to 15 for the owls sake and pre-registration is required. Please call or email Jennifer Patten, 530-345-9356 or

July 13, Sunday
Trip Leaders: Matthew Forster

We will be scouring Pine Creek and other Units of the Sacramento River Wildlife Units in search of the ever-elusive Yellow-billed Cuckoo. The trip will begin at 7 am and will be meeting at the parking lot out at Pine Creek off of Hwy 32, just east of Hamilton City. We will also be driving over to the Capay Unit in Glenn County to walk the beach and see if we are able to flush up a couple of Lesser Nighthawk. Other notable birds of interest will be Blue Grosbeak, Lazuli Bunting, Caspian Tern and Forster’s Tern. Once we have completed the loop trail at Capay, we will head over to Indian Fisheries, which is located directly across the river from the Capay Unit. There will be an assortment of warblers, Bullock’s Oriole, and flycatchers. Please pack a lunch, as there are picnic tables at the Indian Fisheries and a bathroom. This is one of my favorite local Butte County birding spots so please come and join in the fun. Please contact Matthew Forster: or 619-347-2269 for more information.

July 17 - 20, Thursday - Sunday
Trip Leader: Matthew Forster

We will be driving from Chico to the Ruby Mountains just outside of Elko, NV to try and see the Himalayan Snowcock. If you have seen the movie The Big Year, this is the bird Jack Black and Steve Martin were able to chase down from a helicopter after narrowly crashing in to the side of the Ruby’s. This trip won’t be as dangerous, but will require some serious hiking to get to the area where this bird is most reliable. Depending on the weather, we will be planning on camping at the base of the trail on Friday night, with an early start Saturday morning. The hike will be roughly 3-4 miles in, but we will surely be able to find some local rarities such as the Black-rosy Finch. This will be a four-day trip, so plan on leaving at 8 am, Thursday morning and returning around 5 pm on Sunday afternoon. Please respond within two weeks of the trip so trip leaders can plan transportation and camping availability. Please contact Matthew Forster: or 619-347-2269 for more information.

August ?

This is to gauge interest in a possible Pelagic Trip out of Monterey Bay. The cost will most likely be $160-$200 per person. Depending on how many people we can get together, I will be looking into group rates to try and cut down on the cost. If you have any interest in joining for a Pelagic, please contact Matthew Forster: or 619-347-2269. Please respond by July 1, so we can throw something together! Thanks in advance!

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!

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