Southern California environment news and trends

Audubon's word for bird of the year is...conservation

wolfpix via Flickr (Creative Commons)

I am not endorsing the Black Oystercatcher for Audubon's Bird of the Year contest, but I do also like oysters and pretty much all shellfish.

On the occasion of a short spot I did for weekend broadcast, announcing Audubon California's BOTY contest (Bird of the Year), I wanted to call out some things I didn't have time to put in the story. 

If you don't know about the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's website, you really should. They've got pages for all kinds of birds, not just the BOTY candidates, but for birds of the world. And they have sounds for hundreds of birds! Including the ones we heard on KPCC air. 

Next, I wanted to look a little closer at Cal Audubon's previous winners. What's it take to run a successful campaign? 

The first year, the answer was, get threatened by climate change. 2009's winner, the yellow-billed Magpie, has seen a lot of the usual threats. They've included, according to Audubon's website, "habitat loss, pesticide use, and West Nile Virus – the Yellow-billed Magpie population has found itself at risk in recent years, and it is now an Audubon Watchlist species." But in 2009, there was evidence it was rebounding. Why do I suspect the Magpie got the nod? Audubon identified it as particularly vulnerable to a warming planet.