General Meetings
The Presidents Message
Birders Buzz
A Face That Only Mama Bird Can Love
After Drinking , A Bird Can’t Sing!
Sanitation Engineering in the Avian World

Other items of interest:
Audubon Guide to North American Birds:
Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Bird Guide:
Phyllis Connell Photography:

National Audubon Website
Audubon Starr Ranch Sanctuary

Cornell Lab Bird Cams

Our 42nd Year

Our mission statement
The mission of the Laguna Hills Audubon Society is to enhance the protection and appreciationof birds, wildlife, and habitat,while promoting a cleaner, healthier environment.
Want to connect with nature in a friendly social setting? Let Laguna Woods Audubon be your link. Established in 1971, Laguna Woods Audubon organizes bird walks, brings in guest speakers, publishes a newsletter, offers trips, and holds special events. This season we will host eight public meetings with refreshments. Each meeting features a guest speaker. In addition, this year we offer bird walks and a season-end picnic.

Our March-April newsletter


Board Meetings
March 3, Tuesday
April 7, Tuessday
10:00 AM, Rec Room 2405

General Meetings
March 5, Thursday
April 2, Thursday
7:00 PM, Clubhouse 3,
Dining Room 1

Bird Walks

See full 2014-15 Schedule

March 7, Saturday ($$)
(Beach Side) Entrance fee per car $15. South on Laguna Canyon Road to PCH. Go right about 5 miles. Turn left at Pelican Point (where Newport Coast Drive meets PCH). Turn right to last parking lot.

March 17 Tuesday ($)
(Trabuco Canyon) Northeast on El Toro Road to Live Oak Canyon Road
(S-19). Right at Cook’s Corner about 3 miles. Look for O’Neill Park on the right. Meet in parking lot.

March 24 ($) Tuesday
(San Juan Capistrano) Take the 5 South. Exit Ortega Hwy. Park entrance is 7½ miles east of the 5 on the left. Meet in parking lot to the left of entrance and behind gate house.

April 4 ($) Saturday
(Orange) North on the 5 to Jamboree Road. Right on Jamboree. At junction with Santiago Canyon Road continue straight ahead to next traffic light. Turn left on Santiago Canyon Rd. to Windes Road. Turn right on Windes to road’s end. Follow signs to the park.

(Trabuco Canyon)Take Oso Parkway to near the end. Park is on the right.

April 21 ($) Tuesday MASON REGIONAL PARK.
(Irvine) North on the 405 to University/Jeffrey exit. Left on University Drive past Culver Drive. Left into park and left again to parking area.

From Clubhouse 3, go south on Moulton
Parkway. Turn right on Alicia Parkway past Aliso Creek Road. Turn right into park.

Meet at Clubhouse 3 parking lot at 7:50 AM. If you ride with someone, please pay the driver $2.00 and share of any park entrance fee. Bring binoculars, field guide, water, sun hat, and personal ID including medical insurance cards.
Carpools leave Clubhouse 3 at 8:00 AM.
If you ride with someone, please pay driver $2.00 and share of entrance fee.
For all walks and field trips, please note that because the Laguna Hills Audubon Society is a non-profit, all-volunteer organization, it assumes no responsibility for any injuries incurred while participating or attending society-sponsored activities and trips, and cannot be held liable for such accidents or injuries.

Call Eva Lydick, 354-0787 or 587-0075.  Please leave a message with your name and phone number.  Also bring a completed form found on (click on the Resident Links tab; Forms; Community Access Flyer Template).

President: John Andes 206-9659
Vice President: Dave Krieg 243-5721
Recording Secretary: Edna Reid 768-7288
Treasurer: Margaret Marflitt 462-0810
Directors: Jean Lustig,Lynn Jeffries, Eva Lydick
Email: Laguna Woods Audubon

Bird Walk Leaders: Ellen Lamb 458-0334, Paul Klahr 837-2177
Newsletter Editor: Jenni Neff 525-7441
Webmaster: Bob Hansen, 586-4928
Conservation: Phil Glaser
Historian: Judy Rizzo
Hospitality:  Jean Lustig and Anne Kiehl
Membership: Dave Krieg, 243-5721
Programs: Paul Klahr 837-2177
Eva Lydick 354-0787
Telephone, e-mail: Barbara and Jay Rubin, 380-8811

Bird photos provided by Phyllis Connell Photography

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General Meeting

Thursday, March 12, 2015
Birding in the National and State Parks of Texas

Tom Getz – Wildlife Photographer

We welcome back world travelers and avid birders Carol and Tom Getz who recently visited many of the parks in Texas including Big Bend National Park and others along the lower Rio Grande River.  As many of you know, Tom and Carol’s programs include amazing photographs and entertaining narration as they talk about the highlights of their trip.  Join us for this unforgettable program
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Thursday, April 9, 2015
The Audubon Society:  History, Mission and Future Directions

Dr. Victor Leipzig

Dr. Leipzig is a retired professor of Ecology, former Mayor of Huntington Beach, and a driving force behind preservation of open space in Orange County. Some of you may have taken Dr. Leipzig’s classes at Saddleback College Emeritus (Birds of the World and Natural History of Southern California).  Dr. Leipzig has just been elected to the Board of Audubon California as the Southern California representative.  Tonight we will learn about the history of the National Audubon Society and its many accomplishments over its 100+ years of its existence.  He will also discuss some of the current initiatives supported by Audubon California.  Join us for this engaging presentation on how Audubon has evolved and the differences this powerful entity has made and continues to make.
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President’s Message

Dear Fellow Members and Friends:
It’s with a heavy heart that I’m resigning as President of our Audubon Chapter.  I was in the hospital for about a week at the end of January because of health issues and, although I’m home now, I require 24-hour care.
It’s been a wonderful experience being a part of Audubon, and it’s been my pleasure and privilege serving as President since September 2002.  Here we are, thirteen years later, and although I’m stepping down, my passion and commitment to Audubon’s mission remains as strong as ever.
I thank you all for your dedication and support of our club.  Make sure you pause for a moment each day to look around you, I mean really look around you, and appreciate the beauty our precious planet offers.
Very truly yours,
John Andes
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Birder’s Buzz

Birdcams are back in action on Cornell Lab’s website:  Peek in on Laysan  Albatrosses, Great Horned Owls, Great Blue Herons, Red-tailed Hawks, and Barn Owls.  v Seed-filled, lightweight, recyclable bird feeders are delivered right to your home.  Monthly subscription of $30 eliminates all the guesswork, cleaning, and heavy lifting. Go to for information and/or ordering.  This years Great Backyard Bird Count just came to a close (February 13-16, 2015).  Last year’s tallies were impressive: As many as 142,000 birders in 135 countries recorded 4,296 species.  California ranked #1 for number of checklists and number of species recorded.  The Red-winged Blackbird was the most numerous bird, followed by the Snow Goose, then Canada Goose.
A portrait of Ruddy Ducks painted by Jennifer Miller of Olean, New York, won the 2014 Federal Duck Stamp Contest. The image will be on the 2015-16 Federal Duck Stamp, which goes on sale in late June 2015.
President Obama signs into law both the Federal Duck Stamp Act of 2014 and the Permanent Electronic Duck Stamp Act. The Duck Stamp law increases the price of the stamp from $15 to $25.  The $10 increase will be dedicated to conservation easements where ownership remains in private hands, generating an estimated additional $16 million per year.
The American Bird Conservancy (ABC) has been working on a new device designed to reduce bycatch in Ecuadorian fisheries of seabirds such as the critically endangered Waved Albatross and the vulnerable Black Petrel.  It’s called the NISURI device, and it reduces the time that baited fishing lines are cast in the water with bait visible to birds which attract the birds which then can become entangled in the line and hooks when trying to snatch the bait. The way it works is baited hooks are inserted into a 1.8-m long PVC plastic tube (the NISURI tube) which holds the lines while protecting the bait from birds. The tube acts like a chute to deploy the lines without the possibility of hooks being caught in a fisherman’s hand or a bird’s bill while the boat is underway.
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A Face That Only Mama Bird Can Love

Watching a chick hatch is extraordinary.  What emerges might look far from perfect, but depending on the species, it’s likely quite perfect.  The chick may be well developed or not, or somewhere in between.  Waterfowl, grouse, and shorebirds are covered with downy feathers, their eyes are open, and they are able to feed themselves.  They are referred to as precocial.  Because their nests are often vulnerable to predation, a brief hatching period is vital in minimizing this very vulnerable time. All the eggs in the clutch hatch at about the same time, coordinated by communications from chick to chick prior to and during hatching.  They respond to each other’s peeps and then speed up or slow down their hatching movements accordingly.
Songbirds, woodpeckers, and hummingbirds are not well developed at hatching.  They are naked, their eyes are closed, and they are completely helpless.  They are referred to as altricial.  They look like “preemies” that need an incubator, and in a sense, they do.  After hatching, they continue to develop for an extended time in the nest.  This additional development time is crucial for the brain.  When the chicks are ready to fledge, their brains are actually neurologically more advanced than those of precocials.
Gull and tern hatchlings are classified as precocial, in that they are covered with feathers and their eyes are open, yet they depend on the parents for food.  Owls and hawks are in the “in-between” category, what ornithologists call semi-altricial.  They are covered with down and their eyes are open, but they depend on the parents for food.
These differences have evolved for each particular species’ survival, and is another reminder of how amazing birds are!
Source: Amazing Birds, by Eldon Greij, Birdwatching magazine, June 2013.
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After a Couple of Drinks, A Bird Can’t Sing!

Actually it can still sing, just a little off key.  Scientists conducted a study on zebra finches, feeding a group of the birds white grape juice spiked with alcohol.  The results were quite surprising – and entertaining.  The birds weren’t able to sing as loudly, and they couldn’t keep their song’s normal structure stable.  Yet unlike humans where our motor skills are affected, the birds’ general behaviors such as the ability to perch, feed, maintain normal posture, and fly inside the cage appeared unaffected.  Neither did the birds exhibit drooped wings, closed eyes, or sluggishness.
The findings could help scientists study the neural processes underlying birdsong and shed light on human speech.   Scientists who investigate the origins of human language often study zebra finches, because the two species seem to share a number of similarities.  For example, both learn how to make complex sequences of sound by learning from those around them.  For us, it’s usually from our parents.  In the case of zebra finches, it’s usually the birds’ fathers (since only males actually sing).
Source:  When drunk, birds can’t sing either, by Amina Khan, LA Times article
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Sanitation Engineering in the Avian World

If you’ve ever looked inside a bird’s nest after the chicks have fledged, you may have been surprised at how clean it was.  With a bunch of nestlings confined to the nest from hatching to fledging that seem to eat constantly, you would expect the nest to be covered with feces, which could lead to disease, parasites, and odors that would attract predators.  But this doesn’t happen because of an organ called the cloaca, a compartment at the end of the large intestine that opens directly to the anal opening.
In newly hatched songbirds and other birds, the cells lining the cloaca secrete a gelatinous material that surrounds incoming waste.  This fecal sac neatly encapsulates the excrement, and the parent bird either swallows it or flies off with it to discard it away from the nest.  Nestling hawks, eagles, falcons, kingfishers, and swallows are species that do not produce fecal sacs.  The nestlings instinctively go to the edge of their nests, be it in a tree, on a bank, or on a cliff, turn around, and eject a stream of whitewash over the side.
The evolution of birds is fascinating, right down to the poop!
Source:  Waste management, by Eldon Greij, Birdwatching, August 2014
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