San Diego Natural History Museum--Your Nature Connection[San Diego County Bird Atlas Project]

Bird Atlas News and Updates
Fall 2001

In Memoriam
Thank You, Port of San Diego
Mammals in San Diego County
WingDing Things
Coming Up at the Museum

In Memoriam: Kenneth E. Hill

It is with sadness that I must inform you of the recent death of a long-time supporter, Ken Hill. A passionate devotee of bird books, Ken donated the critical mass of funds enabling the publication of my 1984 Birds of San Diego County. Many times he spoke to me with pride about his role in the Nature Conservancy's acquiring Santa Cruz Island. He initiated an endowment for the museum's department of birds and mammals, and he sent me to the American Ornithologists' Union meeting in 1999, enabling me to present my research on the Willow and Alder Flycatchers. Few of us may be able to replicate Ken's means as a philanthropist, but his spirit of community responsibility can be a model for us at any level.

Thank You, Port of San Diego

We are delighted to announce a major grant in support of the San Diego Bird Atlas' publication. The San Diego Unified Port District, through its Environmental Services Department, has provided the museum with $25,000 earmarked for publication expenses–a very significant fraction of what we will need to get the atlas into print. Along with the generous gifts from individuals received so far, we have more than half of what will be needed to print 4000 copies in two colors. Thanks very much to environmental services director David Merk, assistant director Eileen Maher, port commissioner Frank Urtasun, and port staff Melissa Mailander, Allison Gutiérrez, Rita Vandergaw, and Bruce Hollingsworth for their support in making the port's grant a reality. And thanks to the museum's grant writer Elizabeth Castillo for leading us to this result.

Mammals of San Diego County

No reference to the mammals of San Diego County has come out since Suzanne Bond published her annotated list in 1977. Before the birds get too far ahead of the mammals, Jay Diffendorfer, Wayne Spencer, and I, with the sponsorship of the San Diego Zoo and collaboration of other local experts, are initiating a new review. We will use both the diversity of existing but scattered information and focused surveys of our own to help fill gaps. Though we aren't using a grid system like the bird atlas, the atlas' database, forms, and procedures are models we are drawing on. Our ultimate product, we hope on both electronic media and paper, will include identification information, range maps, ecological data, and conservation recommendations. For more information please contact me at Your observations will help us!

--Scott Tremor

WingDing Things

Cactus Wren sketch for button by Nicole Perretta

Our Fall WingDing is upon us! The bird atlas project is rapidly coming to an end, so don't miss one of the final opportunities to get together with all your fellow participants at a legendary WingDing!

Mark your calendars for the afternoon and evening of Saturday October 6th. We'll be heading down to the Chula Vista Nature Center, thanks to the generosity of Barbara Moore. As you undoubtedly know, the nature center is a great place for socializing and birding. Arrive early and enjoy fall shoreline birding at Sweetwater Marsh National Wildlife Refuge, then take some time to explore the center's expanded aviaries. The center is home to a variety of raptors, including Swainson's Hawk, Prairie Falcon, Red-tailed and Red-shouldered Hawks, Osprey, Short-eared Owl, and Turkey Vulture. In addition to the successful Burrowing Owl captive-breeding enclosure, the center now has a shorebird aviary populated with some very interesting residents.

Part of the shorebird aviary is devoted to the first-ever Light-footed Clapper Rail recovery program. In 1998, the program was established in conjunction with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, led by Richard Zembal. In May 2001, two pairs of rails nested and produced eggs while on exhibit, the first Clapper Rail chicks ever bred and hatched in captivity. We will be treated to an informative talk about this program by Richard Zembal, now the natural resources director of the Orange County Water District, and by Charles Gailband, the center's curator of birds.

Following the program, we will acknowledge the incredible results of our final breeding season with a gift for everyone who has contributed data to the project through the years. And there will be special awards for those folks who made a phenomenal effort this past spring to put us over the threshold in 465 of the 479 squares. We will also take some time to strategize for our final winter season, the last 3 months of birding for the atlas!

And, what is a WingDing without food! We will have a delicious buffet at the end of the program, provided by El Torito, and more time to socialize with friends on the deck of the nature center.

So, mark your calendars now for the afternoon and evening of Saturday October 6th! Watch for your invitation in the mail! We'll see you there!

Coming Up at the Museum

Birds of Baja California with Kimball Garrett and Baja Discovery Staff. Overland expedition down the Baja California peninsula in search of over 150 species of familiar and exotic birds. Saturday, October 20 to Saturday, October 27. Price includes air and van transportation between San Diego and San Jose del Cabo, hotel accommodations, ground transportation and transfers, and 12 meals. Museum members $1795, nonmembers $1895; deposit $300.

Birding in Costa Rica with Phil Unitt and Leonardo Chaves. Expedition to one of the most biologically rich and diverse countries in the world. Wednesday, November 14 to Sunday, November 25. Museum members only, $2695; deposit $500.

Baja California Bird Trail Adventure, with Claude Edwards, Maria Mitrani, and Maria Angoa Roman. Field trip to follow the birds south to some of their favorite wintering areas along the peninsula of Baja California. Thursday, January 31, 2002 to Sunday, February 3, 2002. Price includes all meals, transportation, and hotel accommodations. Museum members $465; nonmembers $485.

To become a museum member, please see membership information.
To register for a class, see how to register.

Fall 2001 Wrenderings | Wrenderings Archive | Bird Atlas Introduction