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

Bird Atlas News and Updates
Winter 2001

In Memoriam
Thanks To Our Supporters
WingDing Things
New Sibley Guide in Museum Store
Coming Up at the Museum

In Memoriam: Margaret McIntosh

Photo of Margaret McIntosh

The death of Margaret McIntosh from pancreatic cancer on 28 August was a terrible blow to our bird atlas effort, to our department of birds and mammals, where she had volunteered for 10 years, and to all of us who knew her as a friend. Brilliant, passionate, adventurous, and disciplined, Margaret was an inspiration and an ideal to many. When we initiated the bird atlas in 1997 Margaret and Bert became enthusiastic participants, spending over 700 hours in the field. Especially in her last few weeks, Margaret told me many times how proud she was of our amazing accomplishments. In recognition of her steadfast support, unwavering loyalty, and tireless effort on our behalf, right up to the very end, I am dedicating the atlas to her.

Contributing generously themselves, Bert and Margaret specified that donations in Margaret's honor be made to our department of birds and mammals at the San Diego Natural History Museum. With Bert's approval, I have earmarked these donations toward publication of the bird atlas. With the $25,000 from the San Diego Unified Port District, $8000 in individual contributions over the past four years, and over $2500 given so far in honor of Margaret, we are well on our way to ensuring that we have the resources to publish an atlas that will set a new standard and get it out fast. That is just what Margaret would want.

Thanks to our Supporters

We're delighted to be able to announce a new supporting partner for the San Diego County Bird Atlas, the California Department of Fish and Game. In the form of a local assistance grant under California's Natural Communities Conservation Plan, CDFG awarded the museum $50,000 to ensure the completion of our field work and the year of map generation, analysis, and writing that follows. Thanks very much to Caitlin Bean, Lyann Comrack, and Dave Lawhead of CDFG and museum grant writer Elizabeth Castillo for helping make this award possible.

Sketch of Common Snipe

We must also recognize again the support of the California Department of Transportation. Funding from CalTrans, which has been critical to us almost since the project's inception, was renewed for another year, thanks to Sue Scatolini, Darlene Alcorn, Chris White of CalTrans, Janet Holmberg of San Diego State University Foundation, and Barbara Kus of the USGS Biological Resources Division. The faith that our supporters have kept in us is quite an honor.

Another key group of supporters we must recognize is our atlas advisory group: Mike Evans, Paul Jorgensen, Karen Messer, Ken Weaver, and Kirsten Winter, who have guided and helped us in many diverse ways through the project. We thank Conrad Sankpill, whose wisdom and enthusiasm were so important to us while he was part of the advisory group. We are sorry to see him leave San Diego County, but wish him well in retirement in Florida. Barbara Kus graciously agreed to represent San Diego Audubon on the advisory group in Conrad's stead. Barbara's role behind the scenes has been critical to our success already, and her expertise as one of San Diego's leading professional ornithologists will be especially valuable to us as we enter the atlas project's final phases.

WingDing Things

Cactus Wren sketch for button by Nicole Perretta

It's hard to believe, but there is only one WingDing left! Mark your calendars NOW for Saturday, April 6, 2002 because this is an event you will not want to miss! We will be gathering all our bird atlas participants, friends and supporters together for a celebration of our many accomplishments.

The San Diego Natural History Museum will be the setting for the festivities in the late afternoon and evening. Dr. Phil Pryde long ago agreed to give our final program, "The Art of Hummingbirds: Martin Johnson Heade and the Gems of Brazil." We'll review the past five years of the project, look at some of our results, and recognize individual accomplishments. There will be music, plenty of delicious food and a no-host bar in the museum's spacious new atrium, with "T. Rex on Trial" in the exhibition hall. So mark your calendars now and watch for more details in the next issue of Wrenderings.

On October 6, the Chula Vista Nature Center once again proved to be an ideal setting as we gathered for our Fall WingDing. Many arrived early with binoculars for some birding around the refuge, and we all enjoyed the perfect weather and the nature center's bookstore and exhibits.

It is exciting to feature the work of our bird atlas friends and participants, and Richard Zembal and Charles Gailband treated us all to a slide show and lecture about their work with the endangered Light-footed Clapper Rail. The first-ever captive breeding program is located in the new shorebird aviary on the grounds of the nature center itself. Thank you, Dick and Charles, for a most informative program and for the recovery measures you have established for this very special bird.

We reviewed the spectacular results of the final breeding season, and acknowledged threshold clearers and members of the attack squad for the phenomenal effort that put us over the threshold in 465 of 479 squares. Thanks to Janet Chenier of the museum's store for the gift certificates, to La Mesa Camera for the binocular straps, and to CalTrans for their support. Thanks to El Torito Restaurant for the delicious buffet, to the staff and volunteers of the nature center, and to Pat Wagner for keeping the bookstore open.

Special thanks must go to Barbara Moore, not only for graciously inviting us back to the nature center for a second WingDing, but also for making many of the arrangements and ensuring that we all had a great day in the Sweetwater Marsh National Wildlife Refuge. Of course, the rest of the Road Crew was on hand to distribute name tags and awards, so thanks as well to Kathy Estey, Dorothy Green, Cheryl Mann, and Joan Roberts.

All participants who had turned in data over the course of the project went home with the beautiful 2002 David Allen Sibley 2002 wall calendar. If you were unable to attend the event, please call Ann. We have a calendar reserved for everyone!

New Sibley guide in museum bookstore

The Sibley Guide to Bird Life and Behavior is the new landmark book from David Allen Sibley, now available in the museum bookstore. Designed to enhance the birding experience and to enrich the popular study of North American birds, the book combines Sibley's full-color illustrations with text by 48 expert birders and biologists, taking us beyond identification to show us how birds live. The book is the perfect companion volume to his earlier work, The Sibley Guide to Birds.

Coming Up at the Museum

Bolsa Chica Bird Photography Workshop, with Clifford Oliver. In the classroom session learn about equipment, film, locations, and artistic principles for capturing great bird photographs; then travel to Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve for a full day of photography that will put your classroom knowledge to use. Classes Tuesday, January 29 and Tuesday, February 12, 2002; 7-9 p.m. Field trip Saturday, February 2, 2002; 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. Museum members $79; nonmembers $89.

Baja California Bird Trail Adventure, with Claude Edwards, Maria Mitrani and Maria Angoa Roman. Field trip follows 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.

For more information, to register, or to become a museum member, please call 619-232-3821 ext. 203, or check out the museum's website at

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

Winter 2001 Wrenderings | Wrenderings Archive | Bird Atlas Introduction