Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 18, 2018

What Should You Do with an Injured Bird?

Yesterday we saw an injured California Scrub-Jay in our yard.  At first we thought it was dead as it wasn’t moving and was laying on its side. After a while it sat up and eventually it flew away. Whether it survived or not we don’t know. Injured birds sometimes recover. Other times they may recover enough to leave but later succumb to their injuries.

We realized weren’t completely sure how to respond to the injured bird so we check on line and found the following guides from the Golden Gate Audubon Society

Window Collisions

Sometimes birds are stunned by window collisions but will recover on their own. Give it an hour. It may revive and fly off.

While it recovers, remove it from potential predators such as cats. Place it in a warm, dark, quiet place such as a shoebox lined with a cloth or paper towel. (Do not use shredded paper, cotton balls or grass clippings.) Be sure to provide holes for ventilation.

Do not attempt to provide food, water or first aid to the bird.

After an hour, take it outside and open the box. If the bird hasn’t recovered, take it at once to a wildlife rescue organization (listed below).

Other Injuries or Distress

Take the bird to a wildlife rescue organization immediately, if possible.

Using a towel or washcloth, grasp the bird around the shoulders so its wings are against its body and cannot flap. Transport it to the rescue organization in a shoebox lined with a cloth or paper towel. (Do not use shredded paper, cotton balls or grass clippings.) Be sure to provide holes for ventilation.

Do not attempt to provide food, water or first aid to the bird.

Continue read at  Injured Birds – Golden Gate Audubon Society

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 17, 2018

What Causes Fall Sunsets to Look Different?

Bay Nature answers the question “What Causes Fall Sunsets to Look Different?”

It is often said that pollution, smog, or haze produce more vivid sunsets but, alas, that is not actually true.

So what does cause the uptick in vivid sunsets during the fall? Changes occurring in both wind patterns and the angle of the sun are the prime culprits.

Read full story at  Bay Nature: What Causes Fall Sunsets to Look Different?

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 16, 2018

East Bay Regional Parks Limit Activities Due Air Quality

from the Regional Parks Foundation

The Bay Area’s Air Quality index is currently at unhealthy levels and your health is important to us.

The East Bay Regional Park District is advising visitors to minimize or refrain from active outdoor recreation due to the unhealthy air quality. Scheduled programs by interpretive or recreation instructors may be canceled. Check our website at for details.

Those with reservations in East Bay Regional Parks should contact our reservations office, Monday-Friday, 8:30-4:00pm at 1-888-EBPARKS (888-327-2757), option 2, should you choose to cancel or change a picnic, camping, program, or indoor facility reservation/registration. Currently no fires of any kind are allowed in any East Bay regional park.

Should air conditions worsen, park or facility restrictions may occur and service levels may be reduced for the safety of the public and our park staff. All restrictions will be posted by 4pm for the following day on, as well as via social media.

Our hearts are with the communities affected by the fires throughout the State, in particular Butte County.

Up-to-date information on air quality and guidance to limit exposure is available at

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 16, 2018

2018/19 Schedule of California Christmas Bird Counts

California Christmas Bird Count calendar with a synopsis and statistics from previous CBCs at 2018/19 Schedule of California Christmas Bird Counts

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 16, 2018

New Preserve at Jenner Headlands 

Bay Nature reports

Beginning in fall 2018, the public can visit Jenner Headlands Preserve, accessed via a state-of-the-art parking area some 1.5 miles north of the tiny town of Jenner. Nearly nine years have gone into creating trails and generating a management plan for the grassland, riparian, and forest ecosystems here. Jenner Headlands represents a conservation triumph: Embracing 5,630 acres, it is one of Sonoma County’s largest protected areas. The Wildlands Conservancy owns and stewards the preserve and was one of many partners contributing to its acquisition, a long effort spearheaded by the nonprofit Sonoma Land Trust.

Read full story at Bay Nature Magazine: Enjoy Soaring Views and Hawks at Jenner Headlands

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 15, 2018

Humpback Whales In San Francisco Bay 

Bay Nature reports

Humpback whales are venturing into the San Francisco Bay and staying through November!

See the spectacular photos and find out what’s changing the usual migration behavior of these gentle giants at Bay Nature: Humpback Whales Staying Longer in the Bay in 2017, 2018

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 15, 2018

Trolling the Monster in the Heart of the Milky Way

The New York Times reports

In a dark, dusty patch of sky in the constellation Sagittarius, a small star, known as S2 or, sometimes, S0-2, cruises on the edge of eternity. Every 16 years, it passes within a cosmic whisker of a mysterious dark object that weighs some 4 million suns, and that occupies the exact center of the Milky Way galaxy.

For the last two decades, two rival teams of astronomers, looking to test some of Albert Einstein’s weirdest predictions about the universe, have aimed their telescopes at the star, which lies 26,000 light-years away. In the process, they hope to confirm the existence of what astronomers strongly suspect lies just beyond: a monstrous black hole, an eater of stars and shaper of galaxies.

For several months this year, the star streaked through its closest approach to the galactic center, producing new insights into the behavior of gravity in extreme environments, and offering clues to the nature of the invisible beast in the Milky Way’s basement.

One of those teams, an international collaboration based in Germany and Chile, and led by Reinhard Genzel, of the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, say they have found the strongest evidence yet that the dark entity is a supermassive black hole, the bottomless grave of 4.14 million suns.

Read full story and see photos at Trolling the Monster in the Heart of the Milky Way – The New York Times

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 14, 2018

2018’s Leonid Meteor Shower Peaks November 17 & 18

EarthSky reports

November’s wonderful Leonid meteor shower happens every year around November 17 or 18, as our world crosses the orbital path of Comet Tempel-Tuttle. Like many comets, Tempel-Tuttle litters its orbit with bits of debris. It’s when this cometary debris enters Earth’s atmosphere and vaporizes that we see the Leonid meteor shower. In 2018, the peak mornings of the shower are expected from midnight to dawn on Saturday, November 17 and Sunday, November 18. Although a bright waxing gibbous moon will be out for some of the night on the peak dates, try watching this shower during the predawn hours, or after the moon has set.

Read full article at  All you need to know: 2018’s Leonid meteor shower | Astronomy Essentials | EarthSky

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 13, 2018

California Fall Color Updates 11/13/18

California Fall Color has new posts. Here are the highlights

  • Urban Forests – Near Peak to Peak (50-100%) GO NOW!Northern Sonoma County – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
  • Julian – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
  • Oak Glen – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
  • San Luis Obispo – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
  • Sebastopol – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
  • Kelseyville – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
  • Camino – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!

See many photos and full detailed reports at California Fall Color

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 13, 2018

Maryland Fall Foliage Peak

MDPatch reports

This is the time for Maryland leaf-peepers to go for a drive to view in fall colors as trees in Anne Arundel, Calvert and Prince George’s counties hit their peak, according to state foresters and rangers. Leaves have changed colors to vibrant oranges at Sandy Point State Park near Annapolis on the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay, one expert says.

Read full repot at Maryland Fall Foliage Peak: Where To Find Best Autumn Color | Annapolis, MD Patch

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 13, 2018

Why Does California Have So Many Wildfires?

The New York Times has a story that answers the question

What is it about California that makes wildfires so catastrophic? There are four key ingredients.

  • The (changing) climate
  • People

  • Fire suppression

  • The Santa Ana winds

Read story at Why Does California Have So Many Wildfires? – The New York Times

NPR has a story on supporters of both cats and birds teaming up to do a D.C. bird count in a cooperative effort to deal with the issue of feral cats killing birds. Read story at  To Decrease Bird Kills, Cat Lovers Team Up With Bird Lovers In D.C. Cat Count : NPR

The California Professional Firefighters respond to President Trump’s false characterization of California’s forest management policies

“The president’s assertion that California’s forest management policies are to blame for catastrophic wildfire is dangerously wrong. Wildfires are sparked and spread not only in forested areas but in populated areas and open fields fueled by parched vegetation, high winds, low humidity and geography. Moreover, nearly 60 percent of California forests are under federal management, and another two-thirds under private control. It is the federal government that has chosen to divert resources away from forest management, not California.

Read full response at  California Professional Firefighters – CPF President Brian Rice Responds to President Attack on CA Fire Response

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 11, 2018

Court Orders Moratorium on Offshore Fracking Off California

Center for Biological Diversity New Release

State, Conservation Groups Win Lawsuit Against Trump Administration

LOS ANGELES— A federal court today ordered the Trump administration to stop issuing permits for offshore fracking in federal waters off the California coast. U.S. District Judge Philip S. Gutierrez concluded that the federal government violated the Endangered Species Act and the Coastal Zone Management Act when it allowed fracking in offshore oil and gas wells in all leased federal waters off California.

“Stopping offshore fracking is a big victory for California’s coast and marine life,” said Kristen Monsell, oceans program legal director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “We’re glad the Trump administration lost this round in its push to expand dangerous oil operations off California. This decision protects marine life and coastal communities from fracking’s toxic chemicals.”

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 10, 2018

Birds Got Their Colorful, Speckled Eggs From Dinosaurs

NPR reports

The rainbow of hues seen in modern bird eggs probably evolved in birds’ dinosaur ancestors, which had eggs with colorful and speckled shells.

That’s according to a new study of fossil eggs in the journal Nature. Researchers found that birds’ close dinosaur relatives had eggs with traces of two pigments—a red-brown one and a blue-green one. This same pair of pigments mixes and matches in today’s bird eggs to produce colors ranging from robin’s egg blue to red to yellow to green.

Read full story at Birds Got Their Colorful, Speckled Eggs From Dinosaurs : NPR

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 9, 2018

Eastern National Forest Fall Colors 11/9/18

Eastern Regional National Forests have the following fall color reports


Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie

A few pops of color can still be seen on the prairie, including the crimson-colored rosehips of the Pasture Rose, or blue and purple from the last of the blooming asters. The grasses have all turned their autumn shades of brown.

The 2018 public tour season at Midewin ended with a “Prairie Farmer Tour” led by Midewin Archaeologist Joe Wheeler. The 2019 Winter Lecture Series will be announced soon, check our Programs and Events page on our website for any updates.


Hoosier National Forest

We are still at the peak of our fall colors. A visitor would see oaks, maples, hickories, sycamores, poplars all shades of yellow, red, orange, brown, purple, and green. This week is predicted to be clear and cool, perfect weather for hike through the amazing colors.


Mark Twain National Forest

On the Mark Twain, peak fall colors have coincided with rainy weather, so the leaves are quickly falling off many of the trees.  This has left some individual trees with leaves remaining looking very striking in the open backdrop.  One great way to see the open vistas and fall colors is to explore our scenic byways, listed on our website here:


Wayne National Forest

Tecumseh Lake, all dressed up in gold. A new trail encircles the lake, beckoning visitors to enjoy the fall colors. The Tecumseh Lake Loop is ADA-accessible, so strollers and wheelchairs are no problem! Photo courtesy of our partners at the Buckeye Trail Association, who collaborated with the Wayne National Forest to build the new trail.


Allegheny National Forest

The leaves are falling off trees in the forest from the high winds and lots of rain. The Allegheny National Forest reached its peak color last week and now trees are bare. Forecast is showing snow this weekend, so long Fall Season until next year.

As always when visiting your national forests, safety first and know before you go!


Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 9, 2018

Backyard Birds Decline Linked Nonnative Garden Plants

Smithsonian’s National Zoo reports

Study Links Declines in Suburban Backyard Birds to Presence of Nonnative Plants

Findings Give Landowners a Simple Road Map to Provide Essential Habitat for Breeding Birds

Insect-eating birds that depend on the availability of high-calorie, high-protein cuisine — namely caterpillars and spiders — during the breeding season to feed their young are finding the menu severely lacking in backyards landscaped with even a small proportion of nonnative plants, according to a new study from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute. This reduction of food availability has led to a decline in the breeding success and population growth of the Carolina chickadee, the study found.

“Landowners are using nonnative plants in their yards because they’re pretty and exotic, they’re easy to maintain, and they tend to have fewer pests on them,” said Desirée Narango, a graduate student researcher at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and first author of the study published Oct. 22 in PNAS. “But it turns out that a lot of those insects they see as pests are actually critical food resources for our breeding birds. For landowners who want to make a difference, our study shows that a simple change they make in their yards can be profoundly helpful for bird conservation.

”The study is the first to directly link the decline of a common resident bird species to the lack of insect prey that results from the use of nonnative plants in landscaping. Narango and colleagues placed nest boxes in more than 160 yards in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area and collected data from homeowners monitoring the nest boxes weekly for Carolina chickadee nests, eggs and nestlings. In those same yards, they also studied adult and juvenile survival by gathering data from the homeowners on individually marked birds they had resighted.

Read more at: New Smithsonian Study Links Declines in Suburban Backyard Birds to Presence of Nonnative Plants | Smithsonian’s National Zoo

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 8, 2018

Court Blocks Keystone Pipeline

Center for Biological Diversity News Release

In Blow to Pipeline Project, Court Invalidates Trump Administration’s Keystone XL Environmental Review, Blocks Construction

GREAT FALLS, Mont.— A federal judge ruled today that the Trump administration violated bedrock U.S. environmental laws when approving a federal permit for TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline project. The judge blocked any construction on the pipeline and ordered the government to revise its environmental review.

The decision is a significant setback for a pipeline that investors are already seriously questioning. TransCanada has not yet announced a Final Investment Decision on whether to move forward and build Keystone XL should it receive all the necessary permits.

U.S. District Court Judge Brian Morris found that the Trump administration’s reliance on a stale environmental review from 2014 violated the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act and the Administrative Procedure Act. This ruling follows the court’s previous decision on August 15 to require additional analysis of the new route through Nebraska.

Read More…

Berkeleyside reports

From Oct. 31 through March 31, South Park Drive will be closed to all automotive traffic, and cyclists are asked to proceed slowly and keep an eye out for the little beady-eyed creatures, which usually run five to six inches long. Dogs, while still allowed off-leash, must be under voice control. Drivers can use the alternative routes of Grizzly Peak Boulevard, Wildcat Canyon Road and Central Park Drive during the five-month closure.

Read more at  South Park Drive in Tilden Park closed for 5 months to protect newts — Berkeleyside

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 8, 2018

Mono County Fall Color 11/8/18

Fall Colors in Mono County – Mono County Tourism   reports below. See photos at: Fall Colors in Mono County – Mono County Tourism and Film Commission

November 8, 2018: Fall colors are officially past peak in Mono County! Missed the colors this season? Plan your trip for next year for late September through the end of October.

The LA Times reported

It’s an “amazing plant” that produces “hypnotic effects,” according to online testimonials. Some people who have ingested it or inhaled its smoke say it gave them a mild, marijuana-like high.

Now scientists have weighed in. In experiments with more than 100 mice, they found that chemicals in the liverwort plant produced four of the same key effects as THC, the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.

Read full story at  A chemical found in liverwort has surprising similarities to the THC in marijuana – Los Angeles Times

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 7, 2018

New York Fall Color 11/7/18

New York Fall Foliage reports Week of November  – November 6, 2018

Vibrant Peak Foliage Reaching Final Destinations in New York State

Peak foliage arriving on Long Island and in New York City, and making final stops in Finger Lakes and Hudson Valley

This is the ninth and final 2018 Fall Foliage Report for New York State. Reports are obtained from field observers and reflect expected color conditions for the coming weekend.

Colorful peak foliage will reach its final destinations in New York State this weekend, according to volunteer observers for Empire State Development’s I LOVE NY program. This weekend, travelers can expect to find leaves at peak throughout New York City and western Long Island, and in parts of the Finger Lakes and Hudson Valley regions. I LOVE NY defines ‘peak’ as the overall best appearance the foliage will have during the season.

On Long Island, there has been a dramatic change in the fall colors over the last week and much of the western part of the island is now at peak. A few areas are past-peak, with brown leaves on some trees and a few trees already bare. Spotters reporting from Nassau County along Meadowbrook Parkway and Southern State Parkway predict more than 95 percent color change this weekend with a wide assortment of bright, beautiful colors, including yellow, gold, fuchsia, rust, and cranberry. Other major roadways are also at peak color, including the rural stretches of Route 25A on Long Island’s north shore. Spotters reporting from East Meadow expect 90 percent to nearly complete color change this weekend with yellow, orange, red, purple and brown leaves of average brilliance.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 7, 2018

Join FeederWatch

Project FeederWatch is a joint project of the CornellLab of Orthology and Bird Studies Canada.  Please join the project for the country in which you reside.

Join now for the 2018–19 season, which begins November 10 and runs through April 5. ID numbers needed for data entry are printed on the letter that comes in the instructional kit mailed to all first-time participants. It takes about 3 weeks for a kit to arrive and for an ID number to be activated online, even for renewing participants. You can start getting ready for the coming season by reading our online instructions, and you can enter the Your Data portion of our website after your kit arrives and your ID number is activated.

Get more information and to sign up go to Join, Renew, or Donate – FeederWatch

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 6, 2018

California Fall Color Updates 11/6/18

California Fall Color has new posts including the northern coastal redwood parks, Yosemite and Shasta area. Highlights include:

  • Del Norte County – Peak to Past Peak, YOU ALMOST MISSED IT.
  • Redwood National Park, Orick – Peak to Past Peak, YOU ALMOST MISSED IT.
  • Avenue of the Giants – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
  • Humboldt Redwoods State Park – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
  • Southwest Entrance, Yosemite National Park – Peak to Past Peak, YOU ALMOST MISSED IT. –Spots of color are all that remain between Fish Camp and Tunnel View.
  • Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – Black oak and cottonwood are at peak, bigleaf maple and dogwood are Past Peak.
  • Merced River Canyon, CA-140 – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
  • California Wild Grape, Cameron Park – Near Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
  • Mt. Shasta – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
  • Los Altos (157′) – Patchy to Near Peak (10-75%) GO NOW!
  • Burney Falls, McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park (2,783′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!

See many photos and full detailed reports at California Fall Color

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 6, 2018

It’s Polar Bear Week 

It is Polar Bear week November 4 to 10

Polar Bears International announces for Polar Bear Week

It coincides with the fall polar bear migration to Churchill, Manitoba, where polar bears gather to wait for freeze-up on Hudson Bay so they can return to hunting seals. During Polar Bear Week, we focus on the importance of sea ice to polar bears—and why we must take action on climate change to ensure their survival.

In honor of Polar Bear Week, we’ve planned the busiest schedule of events yet and hope you’ll join us. Here’s what’s on the radar:

  • This year’s theme is to leverage our power as citizens to effect change, including voting with the climate in mind. Learn more here.
  • Our live Polar Bear Cams will continue, with more bears arriving daily.
  • We’ve teamed up with Discovery Education on two Tundra Connections webcasts: Back to Polar Bear Basics, Gr K-3, on Wed., Nov. 7th, 12 pm Central Time and Back to Polar Bear Basics, Gr 4+, on Thurs., Nov. 8th, 11:30 am Central Time. To join us, register and watch here.
  • In honor of election day in the U.S., we’ve scheduled a live chat on Tues., Nov. 6th, at 2 pm Central Time: What We Like About You – Polar Bear Citizens. You can watch it here.
  • Our website features a big hurrah for Canada’s new carbon pricing planand a post by scientist Andrew Derocher on the current status of the Western Hudson Bay population, which includes Churchill’s polar bears. One surprise? A boost from the polar vortex.
  • Finally, we’ve posted a new video, Live from the Tundra!, about our Tundra Connections webcasts and live chats. It gives you a peek into what they’re all about.

Read more about Polar Bear Week at It’s Polar Bear Week – Polar Bears International

The LA Times reports

Scientists have discovered an octopus nursery of sorts in Monterey Bay.

More than 1,000 of the cephalopods were seen last week clustered in a previously unexplored, federally protected area off California’s coast, their bodies tucked upside down into nooks with their tentacles inverted and covering clusters of white eggs.

Read article at  What brought more than 1,000 octopuses to nurse their eggs in Monterey Bay? – Los Angeles Times

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 5, 2018

Free eBird Class

CornellLab of Ornithology is offer a free class on how to use eBird. If you are not familiar with eBird or don’t feel you have mastered all of its features it is worth a look.

Your How-To Guide

Explore how eBird can help spark new birding adventures.

  • Discover tools that help you find birds wherever you go
  • Gain confidence submitting your sightings
  • Get expert tips for using eBird and joining the community

What is eBird?

eBird is the largest biological citizen-science program in the world. The eBird community gathers more than 100 million bird sightings each year from people like you. Providing a powerful tool for motivated bird enthusiasts everywhere, eBird helps you find more birds and keep track of your sightings. Collectively, these sightings are now empowering a global scientific community and helping answer pressing conservation questions.

Course Overview

Lesson 1: What is eBird?

Discover how eBird can help jump-start your birding and how your sightings contribute to science and conservation on a global level.

Lesson 2: Find Birds Near You

Learn how to use eBird to find birds and birding locations.

Lesson 3: Share Your Sightings

Use this step-by-step guide to contribute your sightings to eBird.

Lesson 4: My eBird

Explore your own birding story: your lists, photos, custom alerts for target species, and much more.

Lesson 5: Ready to eBird

Take the Ready to eBird quiz and get inspired to spot more birds.


You need to be signed in to take this course. Sign Up / Log In
Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 4, 2018

California Fall Color Updates 11/3/18

California Fall Color has new posts. Highlights include:

  • Roaring Camp Railroads, Felton – Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW!
  • Patchen Pass at Summit Road (CA-17) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
  • Big Basin Redwoods State Park, Boulder Creek – Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW!
  • Big Pine (3,989′) – Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW

See many photos and full detailed reports at California Fall Color

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 4, 2018

Ancient Sea Cow Fossil – Channel Island Talk 11/8/18

Channel Islands National Park News Release

Research on an Ancient Sea Cow Discovered on the Channel Islands

Ventura, CA — During a lecture on Thursday, November 8, 2018, Dr. Jonathan Hoffman with the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History (SBNMH) will discuss the research plans for a significant sea cow fossil discovered on Santa Rosa Island in 2017.

The sea cow fossil is one of the oldest of its kind found on the west coast of North America, with an estimated age of 20-25 million years old. It is the first sea cow fossil discovered on the Channel Islands and it may represent a new species.

Hoffman will provide an understanding of how the sea cow specimen was deposited on Santa Rosa Island, its discovery, and the efforts to protect the specimen from scouring winds and winter rains, as well as the requisite need for excavation to prevent its loss due to erosion.

The many challenges encountered during the excavation process will be highlighted, along with the scientific studies planned by various researchers and institutions and what they hope to learn about the environment in which sea cows lived.

Read More…


A group of young people can sue the federal government over its climate change policies, the Supreme Court said Friday. Since it was first filed in 2015, the government has requested several times that Juliana v. United States be dismissed.

Read story at Young Activists Can Sue Government Over Climate Change, Supreme Court Says : NPR

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