Friday, March 04, 2011

Earth Day Birding Challenge

On April 23rd the 2nd Annual Earth Day Birding Challenge will benefit the Friends of the Desert Mountains. The Birdathon is more fun and friendly than competitive. At 10:00 there will be kids activities at The Coachella Valley Wild Bird Center, the Whitewater Visitor Center and at the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Visitor’s Center.

Date: Saturday, April 23, 2011, Midnight to Midnight
What is it? A friendly 24-hour birding competition/fundraiser to support Friends of the Desert Mountains to provide habitat for birds in the Coachella Valley.
What happens? Individuals or Teams compete to identify as many bird species as they can in a 24-hour period by sight or by sound in the four counties included in the Palms to Pines Birding and Nature Trail: Riverside, San Bernardino, Imperial, and San Diego.  ABA “Big Day” rules apply.
Awards Presentation: The winning trophy will be presented at 10: 00 a.m. on Sunday, April 24, at the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Visitor Center.
National Monument Visitor Center
51-500 Hwy 74, Palm Desert, CA 92260
(4 miles south of Hwy. 111)
Fun for all ages!  Novice or experienced bird watchers are encouraged to participate.  There will be children’s activities going on at various locations.  
Registration forms:
Friends of the Desert Mountains
P.O. Box 1281, Palm Desert, CA 92261
Fax: 760-568-9908

More details? Contact Tammy Martin at the Friends of the Desert Mountains office at (760) 568-9918 or email at

A literary note

The second annual Earth Day Birding Challenge is April 23rd! April 23 is also the birthday of William Shakespeare.  Mr. Shakespeare was pretty well acquainted with - among one or two other things - birds.  From Blackbird to Wren more than forty strut, twitter, shriek, sing and soar throughout his works!

Stylish new Desert Cities Bird Club caps available!

The new bird club caps are very high quality and really cool. Each features a very detailed embroidered bird on the front of the cap and the club name in small letters at the back.

Many species are available including the Barn Owl, Bals Eagle, Greater Roadrunner, California Condor, Ivory-billed Woodpecker, Peregrine Falcon, Anna’s Hummingbird, Wood Duck, Gambel’s Quail and more. There is even a collared lizard! 

Be the first on your block to sport a DCBC cap, now available for only $15 each.

Contact Kurt to order by emailing


If you love hummingbirds, and who doesn't, don't miss Hummingbirds of the Southwest on March 18, Friday, 7-8 p.m. It is a free lecture by Kurt Leuschner on at Blackrock Campground in Joshua Tree National Park.  
For more information and for driving directions see
Sponsored by the Desert Institute.  

News and notes - Spring 2011

The Western Field Ornithologist meeting in Palm Desert was a big hit. The next meeting will be in Sierra Vista, Arizona August 17-21. Kurt will be coordinating field trips.

 ABA book sales are now at It is a great place to order bird books of all kinds. 

Field Glasses Anyone? there is a super place in Irvine called Optics for Birders 

Betty Zeller would like us to let everyone know that the Big Morongo bird walks change from 8am to 7am starting in April

Don’t miss the Morongo Valley Spring Festival March, 26, Saturday, 9-3,  All kinds of nature activities and bird walks.  Call the Big Morongo Canyon Preserve for more information  760-363-7190

An American Dipper has been spotted in Tahquitz Canyon Kurt went out to see it and he says it is “The first one I have seen south of the Sierra!”

Inca Doves have been residing in Heather Hurley’s yard in Indio for the second year in a row.

If you liked the recently released Guide to Golf Course Wildlife, you are going to love the new S. Cal Coastal guide as well as the Guide to Wildlife at the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument. They are all available now at Barnes and Noble as well as various visitor’s centers in the area.

If you have used field guides, wildlife magazines or other bird related things to donate, call (760) 349-3515 and we will arrange pick up.

Check our blog for the latest birding updates.

The Coachella Valley Preserve is home to the 2nd largest California Fan Palm oasis. Guided bird walks are ongoing through late Spring. Days vary, so call Mark Leggett at 760 699-5717 or CVP at 760 343-2733 for schedules and more.

The San Diego Bird Festival March 3-6 features desert, mountain, seashore and pelagic adventures.
Info: 619-682-7200  or

The Living Desert University has several classes that offer good birding this Spring:
Bird Walk at Smoke Tree Ranch offers a kaleidoscope of wildflowers a wonderful opportunity to observe many of our special desert bird species as they go about
their daily activities. Saturday, March 12, 2011 at 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. FEE$$
  The Big Morongo Canyon & Yucca Ridge Trek is a moderate 6 mile hike that promises numerous bird and reptile species as well as the native perennial wildflower shows. Tuesday, April 12, 2011 9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. FEE$$ For Info and to sign up for either event call (760) 346-5694 

San Bernardino Valley Audubon is sponsoring a visit to the Mojave National Preserve in early spring with the goal of seeing the sought after specialty breeding birds of the area. These include Gilded Flicker, Juniper Titmouse, and Bendire's, Crissal, and Le Conte's Thrashers. Saturday-Sunday, April 2-3, 2011 call John Green (951) 686-2956
  Other Audubon Society trips include Whitewater
Canyon, Big Morongo and the Salton Sea.
Information is listed at

Thursday, March 03, 2011

March 2011 Calendar

March 2,9,16.23.30 Wednesday
8:00 a.m. Big Morongo Canyon Preserve Bird Walk

March 5 Saturday
8:00 a.m. Coachella Valley Wild Bird Center Walk

March 3-6 Thursday-Sunday
All Day San Diego Bird Festival

March 10 Thursday
7:30 -9:30 a.m Living Desert Members Only Bird Walk

March 12,19,26 Saturday
8:00 a.m Big Morongo Canyon Preserve Bird Walk

March 18 Friday
7-8 p.m. Hummingbirds of the Southwest at JTNP

March 26 Saturday
9:00-3:00 Morongo Valley Spring Festival

Birding opportunities abound!

Big Morongo Canyon Preserve has bird and nature
walks on Wednesdays and Saturdays except the first
Saturday of the month 8:00 a.m. (7:00 beginning in

Coachella Valley Wild Bird Center has a bird walk the
first Sat. each month at 8-10:00 a.m

The Living Desert members only bird walks on the
second Thursday of each month. October- May.
Joshua Tree National Park usually has bird walks at
Cottonwood Springs from Nov-May. For information call
JTNP (760) 367-5500

The Coachella Valley Preserve has weekly bird walks.
The days vary, so call (760) 343-2733 for information 

Birdlife of the Eastern Mojave - Spring Migration

Birdlife of the Eastern Mojave - Spring Migration is weekend birding course at the Zzyzx Desert Studies Center.
The weekend course begins with a Friday evening discussion on the diversity and natural history of birds in arid environments. On Saturday, participants visit oases at Baker, Salt Creek, Saratoga Springs (located in Death Valley National Park), and Tecopa Marsh. Casual hikes around the Desert Studies Center afford further opportunities to observe birds during early morning hours and at dusk. Beginners learn field observation and identification techniques. Experienced birders can expand their life lists. 

This Spring it is  offered April 15-17. Kurt Leuschner is the instructor. The course fee includes 2 nights
dormitory style lodging and 5 meals. It’s a great way to learn general desert natural history. All birding abilities are welcome.

Call UCR Extension at (800) 442-4990
or contact Kurt for non-credit enrollment at (760) 776-7285

Monday, February 21, 2011

San Diego Bird Festival

The San Diego Bird Festival March 3-6 features desert,
mountain, seashore and pelagic adventures.
Info: 619-682-7200 or