Peregrine Audubon Society's chapter meetings and programs are generally held on the third Tuesday of each month, September through May, at 7PM in the City Council Chambers of the Ukiah Civic Center at 300 Seminary Avenue, Ukiah. Exception this year is the December meeting, which is held on the second Tuesday. Refreshments available after the meetings. The public is always welcome.

Board Programs Field Trips
September 5 September 17 Jan Washburn's Introduction to the Beetles the Most Successful Terrestrial Animals on Planet Earth September 21 Mendocino Coast with Napa-Solano Audubon
October 3 October 15 Frank Fogarty on Fire, Grazing and Wintering Bird Communities October 19 Little Lake Valley
November 7 November 19 Roger Lederer on How Struggles for Survival Have Shaped Birds and their Behavior November 23 Covelo and Round Valley
December 5 December 10
2nd Tuesday!
Bob Keiffer says Get to Know Your Local Birds! CBC Review December 14 Ukiah CBC
January 2 January 21 Janet Pauli on the Potter Valley Project January 25 Mendocino South Coast
February 6 February 18 Marisela de Santa Anna Update on Little Lake Valley Mitigation Project February 22 Beginners' Bird Walk and Family Day at UWTP
March 5 March 17 TBA March 21 Willits Wastewater Treatment Plant and Outlet Creek
April 2 April 21 TBA April 25 Magruder Ranch
May 7 May 19 Matthew Matthiessen on Wonderful Birds of Someplace Marvelous May 9 Potter Valley and the Eel River

Board meetings generally take place on the first Thursday of each month, September through June, at 7 PM. Contact a board member for details. Board meetings are open to the membership. You are always welcome and encouraged to participate.

The CBC potluck is held Saturday December 14 at 5PM in the Grace Hudson Meeting Room at 431 South Main Street.

Directions to City Council Chambers in the Ukiah Civic Center from Hwy 101:
Take Perkins St. west to North State St. Turn left and head south. Take the third right (Seminary Ave) and go to the end.

Directions to Grace Hudson Museum from Hwy 101:
Take Perkins Street west to the stop sign at Main Street. Turn left and proceed south for three blocks. After you cross Clay Street, look for a driveway on the left. Drive to the back and park. The Meeting Room is on the west side of the museum.

Directions to Alex Thomas Plaza from Hwy 101:
Take Perkins St. west to North State St. Turn left and head south. The plaza is two blocks down at the corner of Clay and State Streets.

Chapter Meetings and Programs

Jan Washburn on the Natural History of Beetles

Tuesday, September 17, 2019 at 7PM in the Ukiah City Council Chambers

Entomologist Dr. Jan Washburn will be speaking this evening on the important and fascinating natural history of beetles. The beetles (Coleoptera) represent one of the most diverse groups of organisms on the planet. Only a fraction of the world’s beetle fauna has been described, and it is estimated that there are over a million species living today. Beetles make up one fourth of all described animal species, and nearly ten percent of all animals are weevils. These insects are predators, herbivores, pollinators, and even parasites; they are key components of nearly all terrestrial ecosystems and especially the decomposition communities. What accounts for the unparalleled success of beetles in terrestrial ecosystems? One key to their success is a body plan that works in a diversity of terrestrial habitats; they are “dressed for success.” The forewings of beetles are modified into protective coverings that allow the hind wings (which are used for flight) to be folded underneath and out of the way when not in use. While typically poor flyers, beetles are effective at dispersing and colonizing new habitats. The ability to store their wings, combined with powerful chewing mouthparts, has allowed beetles to exploit niches unavailable to other insects (e.g., burrowing into wood and other hard substrates). Over evolutionary time, many beetle species have co-evolved with flowering plants, allowing for specialization and enhancing species diversity. The weevils, for example, are the most specious family of insects, and their success is due in part to exploiting the rich food resources available in the seeds of angiosperms.

Dr. Washburn, who is retired from UC Berkeley, grew up in West Virginia. After earning a B.S. degree in biology and an M.A. in ecology from the University of Delaware, he moved to California 40 years ago to pursue a PhD in entomology from UC Berkeley. After completing his degree, Washburn remained on the research faculty at Cal for 24 years. His research focused on biological control, and specifically the role of parasites and pathogens as regulators of insect populations. For 10 years he conducted field research at the Hopland Research and Extension Center. Now retired, he splits his time between homes in Oakland and Comptche. He is an avid naturalist, devoted kayaker, seasoned bird watcher, and aficionado of most all creatures with more than four legs (ticks excepted). This will be an interesting evening and a great way to start our new season of evening programs. See you there!

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Frank Fogarty on Fire, Grazing, and Wintering Bird Communities

Tuesday, October 15, 2019 at 7PM in the Ukiah City Council Chambers

This evening we welcome Frank Fogarty, from UC Davis, who will be talking about his research on fire, grazing, and wintering bird communities in California oak woodlands. Many California bird species have been studied extensively on their breeding ranges, but far less is known about their ecology in winter. In particular, little is known about how potential disturbances such as fire and grazing affect resource use and community structure. Audubon California’s Bobcat Ranch, located west of Winters, presented a fascinating natural laboratory to study wintering birds, with its diverse foothills vegetation and both grazed and ungrazed parcels. The reserve also partially burned in both 2016 and 2017, allowing a direct comparison between adjacent burned and unburned areas. This work tested whether diversity and abundances of individual species were correlated with low to medium intensity fire in the previous year, active grazing at the site, and a variety of vegetation characteristics. We surveyed wintering bird communities from Dec-Mar in 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 at 47 sites on Bobcat Ranch. We visited each site three times per season and conducted 8-minute point counts in which we recorded all birds detected within a 100-meter radius of the point center. We also collected a variety of vegetation data at each site. We detected a total of 70 species, 57 of which were detected on point during surveys. Our results showed substantial variation in community composition between sites, even within the same treatment, but that fire, grazing, and vegetation explained significant amounts of this variation. Given projections that the annual area burned in California will continue to increase in coming years, understanding the impact of fire on wildlife habitat is a priority for research. Our findings suggest that fire, while it seems to decrease species richness at the site level, may contribute to higher diversity at the landscape level when it increases the heterogeneity of ground cover and occurs in a matrix with unburned areas.

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Roger Lederer on How Struggles for Survival have Shaped Birds and their Behavior

Tuesday, November 19, 2019 at 7PM in the Ukiah City Council Chambers

Dr Roger Lederer, Professor Emeritus at CSU Chico will be discussing “How the Struggle for Survival Has Shaped Birds and Their Behavior”. When we see a bird flying from branch to branch happily chirping, it is easy to imagine they lead a simple life of freedom, flight, and feathers. What we don’t see is the arduous, life-threatening challenges they face atevery moment. There are myriad, and often almost miraculous, things that birds do every day to merely stay alive. Like the goldfinch, which manages extreme weather changes by doubling the density of its plumage in winter,or the cormo¬rants that survive the arctic winter, diving for fish in the cold ocean. Or urban birds, which navigate traffic through a un-derstanding of posted speed limits. What good is it for a bird to see ultraviolet, how can they find food without seeing it, fly thousands of miles without stopping, change their songs in noisy cities, and navigate by smell? Recent research in ornithology has uncovered the fantastic adaptations of birds that have helped them survive for 200 million years.

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Get to Know Your Local Birds! Christmas Bird Count Review

Tuesday, December 10, 2019 at 7PM in the Ukiah City Council Chambers

Peregrine Falcon by Roger Foote

Peregrine Falcon photo © 2019 Roger Foote.

Winter is here, the holidays are with us, and our local birds are helping themselves at our feeders again. Every year I am determined to identify those little critters, each and every one! Sure I make some progress, but what of those tough ones that look so similar, those little brown jobs hopping around under the feeder? Yes, I know most are sparrows and surely those feeding above are finches, but which species is each? I definitely need an expert!

Peregrine Audubon's Christmas Bird Count (CBC) has those experts who can help bring us a step closer to our goal. Join us on Tuesday, December 10 at 7:00 p.m. in the Ukiah City Council Chambers when Bob Keiffer will point out distinguishing field marks of our Ukiah area birds. He will discuss and illustrate the sparrows and finches, jays and blackbirds, ducks and waders, as well as the raptors, the hawks and owls, all in living color.

Bring your tough questions for the experts. What birds can I expect in my back yard this winter? How do sparrows and finches differ? Is it really possible to see eagles in the Ukiah Valley? What are the ducks and gulls at Lake Mendocino? Anyone interested in birdcalls? Our speaker can help with that too.

Peregrine Audubon also offers help in the field. Beginners and experienced birders can come to the December 11 meeting at 7PM and sign up for the Count, which takes place on Saturday, December 14. We will explain how the Christmas Bird Count works, introduce team leaders, and match you with a group that can best help take you that next step toward better bird biology. Bob will also give a presentation that he and Matthew Matthiessen have put together over the last few years.

The really avid begin before daybreak and in all kinds of weather. The rest of us can participate for parts of the day or even count at home if we live within the 15-mile diameter count circle (which includes Ukiah). There will be a beginners' count starting at 10AM and meeting at the gate to Mendocino College on Hensley Creek Road. By all means, contact Ryan Keiffer (707-671-5834) or Bob Keiffer (707-744-1160) for details.

We meet after the CBC for a potluck dinner in the Grace Hudson Museum Public Room on South Main Street. Bring a dish, something to drink, and your eating utensils and join us at 6:00 p.m.

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Janet Pauli on the Potter Valley Project

Tuesday, January 21, 2020 at 7PM in the Ukiah City Council Chambers

Join us this evening as Janet Pauli explains the components, history, and current challenges of The Potter Valley Project, a diversion of water from the Eel River to the Russian River through a tunnel in the mountains at the northern end of Potter Valley. Owned and operated by P.G.&E. for almost 100 years, this hydro¬electric project supplies water for wildlife and people from Mendocino County through Marin County. The project also has an impact on salmon habitat in the Eel River. In January of 2019, P.G.&E announced that it would not be seeking to relicense the project, essentially abandoning a project that affects over 600,000 people. Congressman Jared Huffman has spearheaded an Ad Hoc Committee composed of stakeholders in both the Eel River and Russian River watersheds to come up with a “two basin solution” that will improve fish passage and habitat on the Eel River AND minimize or avoid adverse impacts to water supply reliability, fisheries, water quality, and recreation in both watersheds. Janet, chair of the Mendocino County Inland Water and Power Commission, is involved in this complicated planning process and she will bring us up to date. More information about Huffman’s ad hoc committee can be found at

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Marisela de Santa Anna's Update on the Little Lake Valley Mitigation Project

Tuesday, February 18, 2020 at 7PM in the Ukiah City Council Chambers

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Tuesday, March 17, 2020 at 7PM in the Ukiah City Council Chambers

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020 at 7PM in the Ukiah City Council Chambers

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Matthew Matthiessen on Wonderful Birds of Someplace Marvelous

Tuesday, May 19, 2020 at 7PM in the Ukiah City Council Chambers

The incomparable Matthew Matthiessen will be this evening's speaker.

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Field Trips

Field Trip Guidelines: Everyone is welcome! These guidelines apply to all Peregrine Field Trips. Please take a moment to read them if you are new, or use them to refresh your memory if you have birded with us before. The times listed are the departure times - not the assembly times. Please arrive early! Many of the trips are out of the area and require an hour or more of driving, so promptness is necessary.

Due to insurance requirements, Peregrine Audubon leaders are not allowed to organize carpools. Participants are, however, encouraged to voluntarily share rides. Any carpool arrangements are private arrangements between the driver and the passengers. Drivers must carry adequate insurance coverage. Please be courteous and share gas expenses with the driver

Most trips are all day affairs, but at times various people need to get back sooner. By arriving 15-20 minutes early such necessary travel arrangements can be made. You will probably want to take a pack with lunch, water, hat and appropriate clothing - coats, rain gear, etc. - , binoculars*, camera, and perhaps notepad and field guides.

*Binoculars are important, but loaner pairs may be available for newcomers. If you have some to loan, please bring them along.

Mendocino Coast

Saturday, September 21, 2019

“Birding and Net¬working” with Napa-Solano Audubon. Join us as we bird the Mendocino North Coast in a joint venture with the Napa-Solano Audubon Society! This field trip will be a first of its kind as we join forces with NSAS to bird the hotspots around Fort Bragg and Mendocino in search of all kinds of migrating birds! This will be a great chance to meet fellow birders and show them everything our beautiful coast has to offer! We will meet NSAS at 9am at Laguna Point parking lot at MacKerricher State Park and scope the ocean for seabirds and shorebirds! Other locations will include Ward Avenue, Virgin Creek Beach, Rose Memo¬rial Park, Mendocino Headlands and more. We will leave the Ukiah CVS parking lot at 7:30am or meet at Laguna Point parking lot at 9am. Bring your lunch, snacks, water, bin¬oculars, spotting scopes, field guides, and layers of clothes in case of inclement weather! Expect this to be a full day of bird watching. NSAS invited any interested parties to join them for dinner on Saturday evening, so if you want to stay on the coast longer feel free! For more information about Napa-Solano Audubon Society, please visit their website!

See Field Trip Guidelines.

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Little Lake Valley

Saturday October 19, 2019

We will be exploring parts of the CalTrans Mitigation Property in Little Lake Valley with Marisela de Santa Anna. The Mitigation land occupies approximately 2,086 acres and is managed by the Mendocino County Resource Conservation District. This is an extensive wetland and riparian corridor and part of the Pacific Flyway. October is a time of raptor migration all over Mendocino County and this area is a good place to see migrating hawks, falcons, kites, Northern harriers, etc. Join Peregrine Audubon for this opportunity to go out on these lands that are not open to the public. We will visit a couple of valley areas and will walk short distances on flat ground. Ukiah participants will meet at the CVS parking lot prior to our 8 am departure. We will all meet at 8:30 at the Resource Conservation District Office in Willits, located across from the north end of the Safeway parking lot (which is a good place to park) on 80 South Street, and car-pool from there. Bring lunch, water, hat, and comfortable shoes and we should be done at 1:30.

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Covelo and Round Valley

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Join us for a fall visit to the Round Valley area, one of our favorite destinations. This beautiful valley with its open grasslands and large Valley Oaks is home to a number of winter visitors not commonly seen in the Ukiah area. In past years birds of note here have included Bald Eagles, Ferruginous and Rough-legged Hawks, Peregrine and Prairie Falcons, Lewis’s Woodpeckers, and Canyon Wrens. Time and weather permitting we will continue east to the Black Butte/Eel River campground for a picnic and more birding. Meet before our 7:30 am departure from the CVS parking lot, or at 8 at the parking lot in front of Willits High School. We should reach Covelo and Keith’s Market around 10:30.

See Field Trip Guidelines.

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Ukiah Christmas Bird Count and Compilation Potluck Dinner

Saturday, December 14, 2019

If you wish to participate in the CBC, please attend the December 11 meeting for details. Our traditional Compilation Potluck dinner will be held at the Grace Hudson Museum Community Room at 6:00PM. Bring your own place settings and beverages as well as a main course, salad, or dessert to share. Assistance in setting up at 5:00 to 5:30PM and cleaning up after dinner would be appreciated.

See Field Trip Guidelines.

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Mendocino South Coast

Saturday, January 25, 2020

We will be making a birding trip to the south coast of Mendocino County, focusing on the Point Arena and Manchester areas. This is an excellent area for raptors including Ferruginous and Rough-legged Hawks. The Garcia River area is also the winter home for Tundra Swans and other waterfowl. We will be car-pooling from the CVS parking lot along Orchard Avenue. It is a long drive, and we will be leaving at 7:30. Dress in layers and pack a lunch. This is pretty much a full-day trip so if you need to leave early please plan to drive your own vehicle.

See Field Trip Guidelines.

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Beginners' Bird Walk and Family Day at UWTP

Saturday, February 22, 202019

Beginner’s Bird Walk at the Ukiah Wastewater Treatment Plant. At the Ukiah Wastewater Treatment Plant, or UWTP, you can probably see more species of birds in less time than anywhere else in the Ukiah valley. Its habitat range is outstanding: riparian areas adjacent to the Russian River, settling ponds, beautiful stands of mature valley oaks, blackberry thickets, and adjacent open grasslands. Meet at the UWTP office area at 8:30. The walk around the oxidation ponds is about one mile, all on level ground.

See Field Trip Guidelines.

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Willits Wastewater Treatment Plant and Outlet Creek

Saturday, March 21, 2020

See Field Trip Guidelines.

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Magruder Ranch

Saturday, April 25, 2020

We will be visiting the Magruder Ranch in Potter Valley with our leader, Helen Magruder Menasian. The Magruder family has owned this property for 100 years. The 2,400 acres of fertile bottom land, rolling oak savannah hills and rugged chaparral rangeland provide an array of habitats for wildlife, and habitat conservation is an important component of the Magruder Ranch management. We will leave from the CVS parking lot in Ukiah at 8 am, or you can meet us at the old Potter Valley bridge site along the Russian River (1/4 mile north of Hwy 20 on Potter Valley Road) at 8:30. Bring your lunch, water, binoculars, and favorite field guides.

See Field Trip Guidelines.

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Potter Valley and the Eel River

Saturday, May 9, 2020

This trip will be led by George Chaniot. The primary birding is done along the scenic main stem of the Eel River with stops at the Pioneer Bridge, Trout Creek, and possibly Burris Lane. Both MacGillivray's and Hermit Warblers are usually seen on this trip, and they can be difficult to find elsewhere in the county. Other possible birds include Bald Eagle and American Dipper. We will leave from the Ukiah CVS parking lot at 8:00 am, or you can meet us at the old Potter Valley bridge site along the Russian River (1/4 mile north of Hwy 20 on Potter Valley Road) at 8:30. Bring your lunch, water, binoculars, and favorite field guides.

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Last revised September 8, 2019.