Funding Needed For SSRS MAPS Internship

In 2016, the Southern Sierra Research Station created 24 acres of new riparian habitat and enhanced 49 acres of existing mature riparian Yellow-billed Cuckoo and Willow Flycatcher habitat on Audubon’s Kern River Preserve. During 2017, SSRS established 3 MAPS (Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survival) stations in our enhancement sites and captured over 1300 adult and juvenile songbirds including several state recognized species of greatest conservation need (SGCN).

MAPS is a great way to evaluate indicators of restoration and conservation success because captured songbirds can be aged to juvenile or adult, and juvenile recruitment is correlated with species declines. MAPS stations also allow determining adult and juvenile within- and between- season survivorship via recaptures. With additional years of data, it will be possible to assess long-term changes in habitat quality using breeding productivity and survivorship rates for SGCN in our enhancements and species trends range-wide.

Our 2017 MAPS stations engaged the local community with visits from local school groups, local newspapers, professional banders, and other interested community members. One of our stations operates right outside of the visitors center at Audubon KRP headquarters, thus, we have a great opportunity to educate the public about songbird conservation.

However, SSRS needs funding for internships for 3 technicians to help run MAPS stations this spring. The technicians will help mist net birds, weigh and measure them and record detailed information on their age and sex, among other details. Extensive training is required for licensing.  In addition, donations to that program will help provide equipment needed for another MAPS station run by volunteers Denise LaBerteaux and Bruce Garlinger.

To donate, go to and click on RESEARCH. Or mail donations to Southern Sierra Research Station, P.O. Box 1316, Weldon, CA 93283.

Pixley and Kern National Wildlife Refuges Field Trip

It’s time again for our Annual foray to the wetlands of the southern San Joaquin Valley to view wintering waterfowl and shorebirds, and to watch the daily Spectacular Show of the Sandhill Crane and White-faced Ibis fly-in at the Pixley National Wildlife Refuge.

Some will take RVs and depart on Friday, February 16. To join those, call Brenda Burnett at 760-382-4935.

Some will come just for Saturday. To join those from Ridgecrest, call Bob Parker at 760-446-2001. Also call Bob if you would like to arrange another meeting place.

Particulars will be provided as folks sign up and express their preferences for meeting places and departure times. Bob will probably lead a group departing Ridgecrest early Saturday morning. Others from different locales may want to arrange meeting places other places, such as California City or Lake Isabella, or the campground at Colonel Allensworth State Park, where the people camping will be. (That is also a fun, historical park to visit.)

Tents are also allowed at that campground, so if that’s all you have, bring it! If you don’t have a camp stove, the Burnetts’ galley is available. There are public restrooms and showers in the park.

The Burnett cell phone above will be available for contact at all times.

(PS: Some stalwart birders may get up Sunday to go to the Pixley NWR for the Crane departure. That is supposed to be even more spectacular than the fly-in, because the birds lift off in bigger groups. Yours truly hasn’t made it yet.)

Piute Ponds Field Trip

John Birsner, expert birder from the Antelope Valley will lead us to Piute Ponds on Edwards Air Force Base on Saturday, January 20th, 2018.  These beautiful, natural wetlands, the sink of the Amargosa Creek, are home to tons of wintering waterfowl.

The wetlands are on the Air Force Base, so unless you already have a Civilian Access Card allowing entrance to all military bases, you must do the following:

***First talk with Misty Hailstone on the base by phone at (661) 275-2435 between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. before Dec 20 to arrange a required annual pass ***. Tell her your personal information •(legal name, •driver’s license number and state issued, •social security number, •date of birth, •email address, and •phone number). Please DO NOT e-mail or leave a message. Access for foreign nationals is trickier but still possible. Cameras O.K

From Ridgecrest or Inyokern, we will meet at the usual 76 station in Inyokern at 8am to form a carpool. For anyone wishing to meet us down the road or at the gate, we have directions to the gate. To sign up, please call Bob Parker at (760) 446-2001 or Brenda Burnett at (760) 382-4935.

Bring a lunch. To do a good job of seeing all these beautiful wetlands takes about 4 hours. And there may be those who want to go on to other sites in the vicinity. Apollo Park? Cal City? Even Ave. I and 110th St East for Ferruginous Hawk and Mountain Plover.

ROOKIES WELCOME! John has said he would like rookies to be in his car.

Wildlife and the Ridgecrest BLM Field Office


What’s Happening Regarding Wildlife at the Ridgecrest BLM Field Office

Caroline Woods, Wildlife Biologist for the BLM Ridgecrest Field Office.  Began her career with BLM as a Natural Resource Specialist in late 2007.  She has a B.S. in Wildlife Ecology and Management from Arkansas State and has done   graduate work on Gopher tortoises at Georgia Southern.

Caroline will be talking to us about current projects at BLM’s Ridgecrest Field Office, probably touching on the Desert Renewable Energy and Conservation Plan, the Erskine Fire related projects, Off-highway Vehicle damage rehab, a native plants program, updates on the status of the Inyo Towhee, and maybe others.

The program will be at 7pm on Thursday, January 18 at the Maturango Museum, 800 E Las Flores Drive in Ridgecrest.

December Meeting Christmas Party

Officially, in December there is only a board meeting, not a general meeting. However, since December’s board meeting is so close to Christmas, on December 20th, it has been decided to make it a Christmas Party, open to all. (Actually, all board meetings are open to all, but we don’t actively seek your participation. This time we do!)

All come to the Burnett’s home at 6pm on Wednesday, December 20th. There will be cookies and eggnog. And if all hang around and get hungry, we’ll send out for pizza.

Do please RSVP to 760-375-8634 and leave a message letting us know you will be attending.

61st China Lake Christmas Bird Count

Don’t forget to call Peter Woodman and let him know if you plan to participate in this year’s Christmas Bird Count.

Continuing with tradition, the count will be the first Sunday of the Count Period, this year on December 17, from 0700 to 1700.

Count week is from December 13 to 20.  Species that are seen during Count Week but not on Count Day also get tallied, so keep an eye out for interesting species you see during that period, and note where you see them.

We will meet at Leroy Jackson Park at 0700 on the 17th.  The compilation and pizza party will be at 5 pm, at the home of Pat Moore, again continuing a long tradition. (At day’s end, the census-takers gather for a traditional pizza dinner, then total up the day’s results – species and individuals.  There is always the excitement of reporting rarities – out-of-season warblers or a single Golden Eagle.  And finally the summation:  did we do better or worse than last year, and what was the effect of a long dry spell or a year of better-than-average rain?)

Bring a picnic for lunch in the park. We convene at noon for a quick survey of species expected but missed, and a plan for an afternoon reconnaissance. (And if you’re not an early riser and want to tag along only for an afternoon of birding, that can probably be arranged.)

Please give Peter a call (760-861-3961) or email at ( and let him know if you plan to participate so he can budget coverage and make assignments, and order pizza.